Perfecting the performance tire balancing act

May 12, 2015

Today, more people are driving “regular” cars with performance tires. Modern Tire Dealer contributor Kevin Rohlwing discusses in the 2015 Performance Handbook how to satisfy customers who expect their replacement tire to perform at the same level as the OE fitment.

The tire can’t do it alone, says Rohlwing.

It starts with the mounting process. “The first step is to thoroughly clean the bead seat areas of the rim with a wire brush. Dirt, corrosion and foreign material trapped between the beads and the rim will not allow the tire to concentrically seat on the rim.

"Non-concentrically seated beads are an automatic source of imbalance that cannot be overcome by even the most technologically advanced balancing machines. I’m a big fan of paste-type bead lubricants because they seem to do the best job of allowing the beads to seat evenly while providing the best anti-corrosive properties down the road.”

The next step is technology and training. Modern tire balancing machines have advanced diagnostic and runout measurement capabilities.

“But all the advanced balancing technology on the planet is worthless in the hands of a technician who is not trained to utilize the features on the machine. Too many retailers go out and spend tens of thousands of dollars on the latest and greatest balancers only to watch technicians set the machine to static because they don’t know how to use tape weights.

"And while the technology is there to make sure the larger SUV and light truck tires are as balanced as they can be, poorly trained and unmotivated employees continue to take the easy route resulting in costly comebacks and potentially bad reviews on the dreaded Internet.”

Is there a solution? To find out, read: “Balancing performance tires: There is little room for error when it comes to customer satisfaction” online or in the 2015 Performance Handbook, a supplement to the April 2015 issue of Modern Tire Dealer.