If you own a car, you’ve heard of wheel balancing at least once. This service simply adds weight to the rims to evenly distribute the wheel mass around the circumference.
You can expect a lot of benefits afterward, such as more stable rides, longer tire life, less suspension wear, increased controllability, etc. The question is: how much does tire balancing cost? Scroll down for the detailed answer.
In this article:
How Much Does It Cost To Get Your Tires Balanced?
The average cost of tire balancing ranges from $30 to $100 for a full service on all four wheels. However, the actual payout depends on the model and service provider.
Car dealerships often charge you more than tire shops or independent auto centers. For example, you can find deals as low as $10 per wheel at tuning stores, while the price will double that amount at dealers.
You may receive additional tire mounting and rotation services for optimal results during maintenance. These offers can raise the charge per tire by $3 – $12. Anyway, it depends on your will to perform these extra upkeeps or not.
Tire Balancing Cost At Famous Auto Centers
|Service Center||Cost Per Tire|
|Town Fair Tire||$27|
|Les Schwab||$12 – $16|
If you want a cost-effective investment, stop by Walmart or Costco. The first provider offers a lifetime package that balances and rotates the tires every 7,500 miles for a single payment.
However, we prefer Cotsco’s deal despite the higher price. We have experienced balancing, mounting, pressure testing, flat repair, and rubber valve stem replacements for each visit. Of course, the charge of $18.99 is also for lifetime service.
Some of the remaining centers often offer individual maintenance. The good news is that Discount Tire, Les Schwab, and Midas fill your needs for free if you shop for tires there.
The service at Town Fair Tire turns us down. It offers computerized tire balancing for $109 for all four tires. However, our experience was unfavorable considering the huge amount of money spent.
When Do You Need Tire Balancing?
The average time between two tire balancing is about 6 months. Still, the determination time for each vehicle should be based on driving frequency, terrain, tire quality, etc. You may also consider this service under the following conditions.
After New Tire Installation
It is no coincidence that auto centers offer free tire balancing with every new tire purchase. Experts often recommend balancing new tires after installing them in the car.
This ensures safety and comfort for upcoming trips. Hence, drivers can get the most out of their newly installed set in terms of performance and longevity.
During Period Maintenance
Tire balancing is a useful maintenance routine to detect potential damage and prolong its life. Tires still need regular care to prevent damage, even if you do not drive your vehicle regularly.
If you don’t know the best time, consult the vehicle or tire manufacturer’s recommendations. Some recommend you take your automobile to a mechanic every 5,000 – 6,000 miles.
Lack Of Ride Comfort
You may need balancing service sooner than planned if you notice some abnormality from the tire or related parts. Pay close attention to the red flags as follows:
Vibrating steering wheel
An unbalanced tire vibrates the steering wheel while driving at high speeds. The cause comes from the vibrations transmitted through the wheel assembly. They then move through the axle and the steering rack and finally end at the steering wheel.
Uneven tire wear
If the tread on the side of the axle wears out faster than the one on the opposite side, the tire may be out of balance. Another root could be the misaligned wheel. It would help to turn to an expert for diagnosis and treatment.
Poor fuel economy
A flat tire prevents the vehicle from operating optimally. As a result, it requires more force to move, thus consuming more energy.
How Long Does It Take To Balance Tires?
Each technician usually needs 10-15 minutes to work on each wheel. Estimated time includes removal of old weight, new replacement, and cleaning. Usually, the three-step process (check-in – service on all four tires – checkout) takes 30-45 minutes.
Unfortunately, the list of exceptions (with a 1/10 rate based on our experience) takes insanely long.
- You lost your alloy wheel nut key: This is also our case; we misplaced it, and we had to pay more for replacement. Things get easier if the store has specialized kits available. Unfortunately, we had to wait for another professional at that time.
- Simple operations suddenly become complicated: No one could understand why the wheels are so hard to balance. The problem may come from an old weight getting stuck or a new one not fitting properly.
- The mechanic discovered a problem with the tires: Many things could interfere with the main job, such as illegal wear, cracked brake pads, etc. The tire expert will consult with you to make the necessary repairs. Of course, it costs more money and time.
The only good prospect is that your vehicle receives support from a large crew. The more mechanics work on your car, the sooner it gets out of the center.
How Can I Save Money On Balancing Charges?
Tire balancing isn’t very expensive, but who could refuse a few money-saving tips? Here are a few ways we’ve cut down our bill.
- If you intend to invest in a new tire, stick with companies that offer free balancing services.
- When you rotate the tire or any service that requires temporary tire removal, ask the mechanic for the balancing simultaneously. You might get discounts somehow because the workflow cuts down a few steps in common when you combine both tasks compared to two separate ones.
- Maintain a long-term commitment to certain products and service providers. Some stores provide free maintenance to previous visitors. Others may reduce labor costs or offer coupons to loyal customers.
- Subscribe to the official websites of major brands to collect coupons and seasonal deals.
- Check and maintain your vehicle periodically to avoid unnecessary damage to the tires.
Can I Balance My Tires At Home?
Yes, but it is not a good idea. You can perform this task yourself if you own a professional kit, such as a specialized tire balancer or a bubble balancer.
However, this only makes sense when you accumulate a wealth of mechanic experience to avoid damaging the wheel or sidewall. Do not watch a random tutorial on Youtube and rush to follow it. Chances are you do more harm than good.
Furthermore, some people consider the simplicity of visiting a nearby auto center outweighs the financial savings of DIY. It is effortless to find lifetime tire balancing at reasonable prices – so why not have it done by an expert?
What Causes Your Tire Out Of Balance?
Unfortunately, it is often your fault. For instance, aggressive driving behaviors or daily commutes on rough terrain are silent killers.
Occasionally, manufacturer defects also affect tire performance. Some units that passed quality control with a slight error in weight lead to a quick decline in quality.
Do I Need To Balance All 4 Tires?
YES. Determining which tire causes abnormalities in your driving experience is very difficult. Hence, mechanics often recommend complete service for all four parts simultaneously for the best.
What Happens If You Don’t Balance Tires?
Imbalance, whether it is a quarter or an ounce, puts excessive pressure on the tread. Over time, this part experiences uneven wear and tear, which shortens its lifespan. Plus, this symptom takes a toll on the bearings and suspension system.
Wheel balancing cost is not expensive to you out of business, but is an essential part of the maintenance cycle. Hence, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations whenever you notice the listed warning signs. Take immediate action to limit more serious damage to tires and other components.