Are Wheel Weights Really Necessary? (Explained)

Some car enthusiasts feel wheel weights are no longer necessary. But it’s actually impossible to balance tires without attaching wheel weights.
Are you wondering why wheel weights are crucial?
Perhaps you are unsure if it’s possible to drive your car without wheel weights?

This guide answers some of those questions and more.

How vital are WHEEL WEIGHTS?

Wheel weights are one of the essential components of your car wheels. Every car manufacturer uses them to balance the wheels of every car, regardless of what model it is. Wheel technicians still use wheel weights on both cars, trucks, and other motorized vehicles when replacing old tires.

wheel weights

The wheel weights play a significant role to counteract the wheels’ imbalance.

Once your wheels are balanced, your car will be fuel-efficient, safe to drive, and smooth on the road. Some car owners think modern rims and tires don’t need weights.

But rims and tires are not uniform.

So you’d need to balance them. If you try to use rims and tires without balancing them, they will wobble around the center axis. However, once you attach wheel weights on rims and tires, they will bring them into perfect balance.

Common signs that your wheels are out of balance:

  • Vibration

If your car doesn’t have weight wheels, it will likely be out of balance. And when you try to accelerate, it will begin to vibrate.

Sometimes even when you go at 50 mph speed!

  • Uneven tread wear

Another symptom of unbalanced tires is uneven tread wear of your tires. This unevenness will make your tires wear on one side.

Because the distribution of force from your tire to the road is unequal.

  • High fuel consumption

If you don’t balance your wheels with weight wheels, your car might have a considerably higher fuel consumption. This is due to a strain your engine takes from pulling tires out of balance.

Balanced wheels just run smoother and require less energy to run.

  • Damage to suspension

When your car doesn’t have wheel weights, the vibrations will eventually damage some components of your suspension. For instance, your absorbers and bearings will wear fast.

  • The difficulty of controlling your car

Another common sign that your car needs wheel weights is when you notice that it becomes difficult to control it on the road. For instance, when it is raining, you may find it extremely hard to keep your car in control.

Same thing.

What happens if you don’t BALANCE your wheels?

Many things can go wrong if you don’t balance wheels.

  1. First, your tires are likely to wobble and make your car vibrate.
    If your front tires are not balanced, you will feel the vibration on your steering wheel. Similarly, if your back wheels are not balanced, you will feel a vibration in your seat.
  2. Furthermore, if you don’t balance your wheels, your vehicle will bounce.
    A bouncing ride will create an uncomfortable driving experience for you. You may even find it quite challenging to turn your steering wheel quickly, which will make it difficult for you to avoid accidents.

Besides, when you don’t balance your wheels, one part of those wheels will be heavier than the other, making it difficult for you to steer your car swiftly.

For instance, when the road surfaces are slippery, you won’t be able to avoid crashing into another vehicle. The same applies when you try to swerve your car.

Do regular cars need WHEEL WEIGHTS?

Most definitely!

All regular cars should have balanced wheels.

You can’t balance wheels without attaching wheel weights. It would be best if you balance your wheels every 5000 to 7500 miles, regardless your car is regular or not.

Car manufacturers make a point of balancing wheels before releasing regular cars. Usually, they will use standard clip-on weights that can accommodate the contours of various rim flanges.

They will also have features like the hole in the wheel rim for the valve stem or seams in the rubber.

You may attach weights on the inside and outside of each tire.

The number of weights you should use on each wheel will depend on the size of a tire, though. For instance, you may need only one weight for smaller tires.

In contrast, you will need at least two wheel weights for larger tires.

Remember, you should balance your wheels at least every two years if you drive on smooth road surfaces. And once a year, if you primarily drive your car on rough terrains.

You will also balance a wheel when one of your tires is flat.

Wheel technicians use two kinds of wheel weights:

  1. stick-on and
  2. clip-on wheel weights.

Any of the two will balance your wheel perfectly.

It doesn’t matter which type of wheel weight you use between the two. You can find wheel weights made from lead, steel, or zinc.

Are there any CONS to using wheel weights?

Like anything else in life, there are cons to using wheel weights. First, your wheel weights can damage your alloy rims. The attaching wheel weights may also cause significant gouging in the surrounding wheel weights.

Secondly, a lazy wheel technician may decide not to remove the old tape wheel. Or let alone clean the area where there was an old wheel weight.

Instead, the wheel technician may re-balance the wheel with the old weights or add the new ones on a dirty surface.

That said, when you are rebalancing a wheel, it’s a big no-no to use old wheel weights.

Because if you use old wheel weights, your tires and rims won’t get a proper balance.

There are times when you don’t want to see a wheel weight outside your rim. In this case, a clip-on weight will be suitable for your rims. But the adhesive weight will work much better than a clip-on weight.

You can ask a wheel technician to place it on the inside of the rim and tire.

Do wheel weights typically FALL OFF?

Your wheel weights may fall off for a couple of reasons.

First, wheel weights may come off because of how you drive your car. If you constantly navigate rugged terrains, that may cause severe wear to your tires, including causing some of the wheel’s weight to come off. Potholes and curbs are some significant causes of imbalance in your tires.

The impact of potholes is enough to throw your tires out of balance and even make wheel weights come off.

Sometimes when you stick wheel weight on a new rim, it may fall off after a few days. The fall-off usually happens when you stick wheel weights when the paint on the rims is still drying, which makes wheel weights not adhere properly.

Although, it is certainly hard to know if your wheel weights have come off.

There are signs you should look out for. One of the telling signs that the wheel weights have fallen off is when your tire tread begins to wear fast. Or when you feel strange vibrations on your steering wheel.

Final Thoughts

Lastly, while it is possible to drive a car without wheel weights, it is unlikely you won’t have any problems.

  • First, your vehicle won’t have any smooth driving.
  • Secondly, it won’t be safe to drive your car as it won’t be stable on the road.

It is always advisable to use only quality wheel weights on your wheels.

A wheel technician should ensure that they use only high-quality wheels. And that they attach the weights correctly. Otherwise, the wheel weights will fail to balance the rims and tires.

Furthermore, ensure that a highly experienced wheel technician installs the wheel weights for you.

Remember, your wheel weights are also there to balance your steering wheel. Hence, you need to rotate and balance your wheels every seven thousand miles. If you are unsure when to spin wheels, you can check your vehicle’s owner’s manual.

You will also find out what kind of wheel weights are perfect for your car.

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