There are car owners who still don’t know that having wheel weights is crucial. Some are even unsure what the weights on wheels look like. If you are one of those drivers, don’t fret.
Here’s a simple explanation: Weights are tiny objects attached near the edges of your tire.
Have you ever asked yourself what purpose those weights serve? Or why do new cars still have weights on their wheels?
Our article answers those questions and highlights some benefits of having weights on your wheels:
What is the Purpose of Wheel Weights?
The primary purpose of wheel weights is to give your wheel and tire assembly an outstanding balance. By clipping weights onto the circumference of the hub, you will prevent the wheel’s vibration. This ensures a smooth and stable performance of the car.
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Remember, the wheel is not perfect, nor is the new tire.
There are likely to be slight deviations in rubber thickness.
If you leave the variations on all wheels, they will cause vibration. When you put a counterweight, you will balance the wheels out.
If your tire is out of balance, a couple of things can go wrong.
First, your tire will have terrible ride quality, making it nearly impossible to enjoy driving your car. Even worse, a bad ride quality may make it challenging for many drivers to control their vehicles, especially when roads are slippery.
Apart from that, when your wheels and tires are out of balance, the lifespan of your tires and suspension components like shocks and bearings will be relatively short.
Tire technicians unanimously agree that when you apply the weights to the wheel, the mass of the wheel and tire will be distributed evenly around the axis.
This way, your wheel will rotate without wobbling.
When your wheels and tires have a proper balance, your tires won’t wear fast, and your car will have more fuel mileage. On the other hand, when your wheels don’t have weights, they may have a vibration due to out-of-balance tires.
How Important are Wheel Weights?
You can’t underestimate the use of wheel weights for any car.
It doesn’t matter if your car is an entry-level SUV or a sports car. As long as it has wheels, they need balancing, and balancing is impossible without weights.
Your tires are in constant contact with the road surface.
Therefore, your rims and tires need a proper balance that only weights can provide. Apart from continuous rotation, weights will improve your tire’s brake and help you navigate rugged terrain.
So a car that has wheel weights won’t only have adequately balanced wheels and tires, but it will have great control on the road.
Important For Wet Roads
For instance, when the roads are wet, you will find it relatively easy to control that car, thanks to the weights on the wheels.
All wheels, regardless of brand, have a slight imbalance to them.
The imbalance is due to the angular speed—the mass of the wheels and the distance from the axis. To counter the imbalance, you should add weights to the wheels.
Every installation of new wheels requires balancing. When your car begins to vibrate after installing a new set of wheels, it’s possible that the technician didn’t balance the wheels properly.
If your vehicle vibrates immediately after putting on new tires, take it back to the installer. Ask them to check the weights on the wheels.
Should All Cars Have Wheel Weights?
The wheel weights topic is still one of the most controversial. And car enthusiasts have divided opinions regarding putting weights on their wheels. Some insist that wheel weights are no longer necessary.
But wheel weights still matter—even today.
This study has found that wheel weights are indispensable for all cars, regardless of the car’s model or make. So, as long as the vehicle has wheels and tires, it should have wheel weights.
If you replace your old tires, you will need wheel weights to protect them from wearing out fast.
A car that doesn’t have a wheel weight is likely to shudder and vibrate when you accelerate. But once you put weights, they will have a dramatic impact on the performance of your car. The best wheel weights should improve your car’s ride quality.
Wheel weight also impacts what wheel technicians call ‘rotational mass,’ which is the mass that affects the wheel’s rotation.
So when your wheel is lightweight, it will potentially reduce the rotational mass and allow the engine to pull that weight quickly.
Do New Wheels Also Need Weights?
If you want to improve your car’s ride quality, you should add weights to your new wheels. New wheels and tires don’t come with the weights in most cases.
So, once your car gets new tires, balancing your wheels and tires should be your top priority.
Start with that.
Most car manufacturing companies also ensure that all the new wheels and tires balance properly before releasing the car. Hence, most modern vehicles, especially those with alloy wheels, will have some self-adhesive balancing weights placed on the inner side of the rim.
Rims and tires are not perfect on their own. But you can make rims and tires uniform in density.
It would help if you balanced the tires and rims.
Otherwise, they will oscillate or wobble around the axis at some point. If you place weights correctly, you will bring balance to your rims and tires.
Can you Balance Wheels Without Weights?
Here is why almost all tires would need a weight to balance. It’s nearly impossible to balance wheels and tires without weights.
That said, you might not be able to visibly spot the weights as they can be placed on the inside.
So in short, wheels cannot be balanced without adding weights.
You will have people claiming their wheels don’t have weights, only to find them placed somewhere where they can’t see them.
Even modern tires will have small weights on them.
If you look correctly, you will see the weights near the edges of the wheels.
When you take your tire for balancing, the tire technician will adjust the weights to ensure each tire is balanced correctly. This is also to ensure that your car has a smooth ride.
Balancing your wheels is different from wheel alignment, which doesn’t do with weights. If your wheels don’t have weights, you can’t balance them. On the other hand, when you balance a wheel, you will be adjusting the weights.
Here are some notable benefits of balancing your wheels:
- Balancing your wheels with weights protects your car’s suspension
When your wheels don’t have weights, that may impact your suspension. Why? Because the more vibrations your vehicle has, the more damaged your suspension gets.
- Balancing your wheels gives your car a smooth ride
One of the most significant benefits of adding weights on your wheels is that you will enjoy a smooth ride. You won’t experience problems such as a rattling steering wheel.
- You will get the best gas mileage
When you take weights off your wheel, your wheels lose their balance. Once this happens, there will be a noticeable drop in fuel economy. But when your wheels are properly balanced, your car will have a great gas mileage.
- Your tires will last longer
Just as balancing wheels help improve fuel efficiency, balancing wheels and tires also help reduce quick wear on your tires. When your wheels have weights, they are not likely to wear and tear fast.
Lastly, sometimes the balanced wheel can still shake.
This may be due to a wheel runout which usually occurs on a wheel or a tire. When your wheels have excessive runouts, your car is likely to vibrate.
The vibration will usually happen as your wheels turn.
Different things may cause a runout—for instance, an improper seating ring, an old rim, tire mounting, etc. Simply adding wheel weights will help adjust the wheel’s static balance and fix the wheel runout problem.
Besides, you will also reduce vibration to your wheel and balance all your four wheels.
Wheel weights are the most inexpensive item that saves you money. Don’t try to put wheel weights yourself if you want to ensure that the wheel weights balance your wheels accurately.
Instead, go to a wheel technician to help you out. They will know how to install the correct type of wheel weights.