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Balancing RV tires

RV Tire Balancing
by Tom Jones

There is some debate over the best method of balancing RV tires, although different methods have been used successfully for many years. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages.

Tire balance can change over time
Several things can change the road balance of a tire. The primary one is striking a pothole, curb or object in the road. These can bend the rim slightly or throw off the alignment a bit, thus changing the balance. Tire wear can also change the balance slightly, especially if uneven, e.g. a flat spot, or cupping. Tire damage, a cut or a bruise can also do it. These factors combine to continually change the balance of a tire, suggesting that the lead weight method of balancing is inadequate.

Methods of balancing tires
Lead weights, essentially the same way that the tires on most passenger cars are balanced. Tires using lead weights have to be rebalanced periodically; How often depends on how and where the vehicle is driven, but most gurus recommend annually for average uses.

Adding Equal, a special balancing powder, inside the tire is considered by many to be the best way of balancing a tire. The powder re-distributes itself dynamically to maintain balance in the tire. There are, however, some precautions that need to be taken when using this method of tire balancing. Excessive moisture inside the tire can cause the Equal to "float" and become less effective. Special valves also have to be used to prevent the valve cores from becoming clogged with the powder.

It has been reported that one motorhome manufacturer uses a liquid to dynamically balance tires. I have no information on the properties or effectiveness of this method, but it is reported to work in a similar way to powder to maintain balance in the tire.

This synopsis of tire balancing was created from a thread in the RV Forum. Contributors included Steve Pally, Ron Ruward, Gary Brinck, Ned Reiter, Terry Brewer, and Marsha Lassen.