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Do Tires Need To Be Balanced When Rotated?

Tire rotation and tire balancing are important to ensuring a vibration free ride and even tread wear. Keeping your tires in balance and rotating them regularly is important to getting the most out of them.

Let’s dive into the details of what tire rotation and balancing are all about and how they affect your tires.

Do Tires Need To Be Balanced When Rotated?

No, it’s not necessary to balance your tires when you have them rotated. It is a good idea however to have them balanced every other tire rotation service however, although this isn’t required.

Tire Rotation vs Balancing

Tire balancing and tire rotation are unrelated and independent of each other, but are often suggested to be performed at the same time.

Tire rotation is the process of moving a wheel and tire assembly from one corner of your vehicle to another on a regular basis to ensure even tread wear.

Tire balancing is the process of adding wheel weights at certain locations around the circumference of your wheel assembly to ensure the wheel and tire spin vibration free.

Uneven Tire Wear – Cupping

Uneven tire wear called “Cupping” is a result of out of balance tires. This type of uneven wear appears as diagonal excessive wear patterns across the tread of the tire.

What happens if you don’t rotate and balance tires?

If you do not regularly rotate and balance tires you can experience several potential problems.

Tire Noise

Out of balance tires are a common source of tire noise. When tires are unbalanced, the faster you drive the more they will vibrate and bounce up and down. This will cause the tires to wear more quickly on the tread and less so on the opposite side of the tire.

If you do not rotate your tires regularly you will cause your tires to wear out more quickly and tread wear that has slowly become uneven as the tread wears down will begin making noise as well as shortening tire life.

Keeping tires rotated and balanced will ensure that noise from tires is as low as possible.

Tire Vibration

Tire vibration happens when tires are out of balance or there is uneven tread wear across the tread of the tire. When you balance and rotate your tires you help ensure that these vibrations aren’t felt through the chassis of your car or truck and have a more comfortable ride.

When you rotate your tires, you will help the tire tread to even back out and increase tread life in addition to giving you a smoother ride.

When you balance tires, the wheel assemblies will not begin to vibrate more as you are driving faster. When wheels and tires spin, small imbalances become more exaggerated as you drive faster and you they spin faster.

Unbalanced tires will cause uneven wear and cause the tires to make noise and wear out more quickly.

Steering Wheel Vibration

Poor tire balance can cause significant steering wheel vibration. When wheel assemblies are not properly balanced, they can bounce slightly as they spin faster and faster.

This bouncing can cause the steering wheel to vibrate as the vibrations cause the suspension and steering mechanisms to move rapidly. This vibration is typically minor and slightly annoying. But in some cases it can be more violent and damaging to your vehicle.

Uneven Tread Wear

Even tread wear is important to ensure maximum traction and your safety. The less tread you have left on your tires the less safe they become.

If one edge of your tire has plenty of tread and the other edge has none, the tire will be extremely dangerous to drive on even though a portion still has some good tread left.

Keeping your tires rotated regularly and making sure the tire and wheel assembly is properly balanced will ensure that the tread wear is as evenly distributed across the tread pattern as possible.

Shortened Tire Life

Tires that are not properly maintained by regularly rotating and balancing will not last as long as they are capable of lasting.

It’s possible to cut the usable tread life in half if you don’t rotate your tires as suggested by the tire manufacturer.

For instance, if you don’t rotate your tires and they are wearing significantly on the inside shoulder of the tread, the inside shoulder tread will become bald and become extremely dangerous to drive on even though there is still nearly new tread on the outside shoulder of the tire tread.

Voiding Of Tire Warranty

The warranty the tire manufacturer provides that guarantees your tires will last a certain amount of time requires that you rotate tires on a certain schedule. You must have proof that you had your tires rotated according to this schedule to claim the warranty if your tires don’t last as long as the manufacturers warranty guarantees.

Tire Warranty

You must have proof your tires have been rotated according to the tire warranty requirements to make a mileage warranty claim.

What is tire rotation?

Tire rotation is the process of moving a wheel and tire assembly from one corner of your vehicle to another on a regular rotation to ensure the tread of the tires wear evenly.

There are different tire rotation patterns that should be followed depending on several variables. For instance, front wheel drive vehicles should use the forward cross or x-pattern tire rotation patterns for best results. Rear wheel drive vehicles should use the rearward cross or x-pattern tire rotation patterns to ensure more even tread wear.

What Is The Purpose Of Tire Rotation?

Tire rotation helps to shift the portion of the tread the car or truck puts the most weight on to a lesser used portion of the tire tread.

It’s not usually possible to ensure that the tread is always used to its fullest potential, but tire rotation is the most practical method of changing the point of the contact patch on the tire tread.

When To Rotate Tires

Tires should be rotated according to the tire manufacturer’s recommended tire rotation schedule. Their rotation schedule is the best and most effective because they are most aware of how quickly the rubber will wear down and how frequently the tires should be rotated to get the most tread life as possible from them.

Any time you notice tire noise or vibrations you should have your local tire installer check your vehicle and tires for issues that would cause these problems. Tire rotation or balancing may solve these problems, but there may be other problems they can identify that need to be fixed.

Rotating your tires according to the tire manufacturer’s recommended schedule will also ensure that your tires can be warrantied if they don’t last as long as the manufacturer warranty guarantees that they will last.

You must provide proof that the tires have been rotated according to the required schedule to meet the warranty qualifications. This means providing dated receipts for each tire rotation. This is the primary reason you shouldn’t rotate your tires yourself.

How Often Should You Rotate Your Tires?

Generally speaking, tires should be rotated every 5,000 miles. To ensure that the tire manufacturer’s warranty is not voided, you should rotate your tires as often as they recommend.

Some tires with softer rubber compounds will benefit from more frequent tire rotation, while others with harder rubber compounds can be rotated less frequently.

You may also want to rotate your tires more frequently if your car or truck suspension geometry causes the contact patch to be unusually off center on the tread of the tire.

For instance, it’s common for sports cars to have negative camber on the rear tires. This means the top of the tires are tilted slightly inward when looking at the vehicle from the rear. Negative camber causes premature wear on the inner shoulder of the tire tread.

Is Tire Rotation Necessary?

Tire rotation is not necessary, however it can have some serious drawbacks if not performed regularly.

The tire manufacturer’s warranty requires proof of tire rotations being performed according to the required schedule to make a warranty claim if the tires don’t last the duration of the manufacturer’s warranty guarantee.

What is tire balancing?

Tire balancing is the process of placing wheel weights at strategic points around the rim of the wheels to reduce vibrations at high speed.

Small inconsistencies in the weight of the tire and wheel as it spins around will cause slight vibrations. These vibrations can become magnified the faster you go.

Tire balancing

What Is The Purpose Of Tire Balancing?

The purpose of tire balancing is to eliminate tire vibrations by ensuring the tire and wheel assembly is the same weight all the way around the assembly.

Very small inconsistencies in the weight difference around the tire and rim can cause severe vibrations if not corrected with small weights.

When To Balance Tires

All tires should be balanced when originally mounted. Tires should be rebalanced every 5,000 – 10,000 miles or so.

If you feel tire vibrations coming through the chassis of your car or through the steering wheel, especially as you drive faster, you should consider having your tires balanced again. This is also true if you begin to hear tire noise that wasn’t present before.

Also, if you notice unusual tread wear you should ask your local tire installer to rebalance your tires and inspect for other problems that could cause unusual tread wear.

It’s common to have tires rebalanced when tires are rotated out of convenience and due to the recommended interval to have tires rebalanced being similar to the amount of time recommended for rotating tires.

Tires can become slightly out of balance as the rubber tread wears down over time. Small inconsistencies can begin to show up and cause vibrations that can be felt through the car chases or steering wheel.

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Adhesive Wheel Weights

How Often Should You Balance Your Tires?

Many people find it convenient to have tires balanced when rotated. This isn’t necessary but they should likely be rebalanced every other tire rotation cycle.

Regularly rebalancing your tires is convenient to do at the same time as other services where the wheels are removed from the car or truck.

Uneven wear will go uncorrected until the tires fail prematurely. Often, uneven wear can be compensated dramatically by regular tire rotation.

Is Tire Balancing Necessary?

Tire balancing is necessary when tires are originally mounted to your vehicle rims or there will be significant vibration, especially at high speeds.

Tire balancing after the initial balance is performed usually isn’t necessary but recommended to ensure there isn’t poor tire wear, noise, or vibrations.

To maximize ride comfort and tire life, tire balancing should be performed regularly.

Final Thoughts

Tire rotation and balancing don’t need to be done at the same time. It is often convenient to do them together to save a trip to your tire installer.

Be sure to know what the manufacturer’s recommended tire rotation schedule is so that you ensure your tire warranty is kept in good standing in case you need to make a warranty claim.

Also pay attention to tire noise, vibrations, and unusual tire wear so that you can make a visit to your tire installer to help you correct any of these problems before they become more severe.

Resources

Below are some links you may find helpful when learning about tires

About The Author
Will Creech
Will has been an automotive enthusiast since he was old enough to make engine sounds. Formerly a member of the contract training team at Discount Tire, he is unusually knowledgeable on all things related to tires. He is now the owner of and main contributor to TireGrades.com.
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