To balance or not to balance ??

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rbTN

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Southern Middle TN
me - I'd like the tires balanced...
retailer - you dont need them balanced
me - its my money, balance them or lose the sale
retailer - ok

wheres the problem, you want them balanced, end of discussion
 

TheBar

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Why is that? The tires are balanced to the wheel so if you move the wheel and tire together why rebalance them?
It is always best to rebalance for several reasons. Because tires never wear consistently. One emergency stop that left a skid mark is rubber that came off the tire. Missing rubber means the tire is lighter where the rubber came off. Tar off a newly resurfaced road can collect in the tread making a heavy spot. Etc.
 

TheBar

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I just found this online about symptoms of unbalanced tires:

  • 1. Unusual Vibrations. Definitely, the most observable symptom of unbalanced tires is unusual vibration from your steering wheel.
  • 2. Difficulty in Steering Properly.
  • 3. Unequal Wearing of Tires.
  • 4. Consumption of More Fuel.
  • 5. Problems With Bearing and Bad Shocks.
Only on front or rear independent suspensions. The meaning of independent suspension is each wheel moves independently of the other which produces a much smoother ride. On a solid axle both wheels, springs, shocks, and axle are solidly bolted together. One wheel cannot move up or down without moving the entire axle, springs and shocks on both sides, and opposite wheel with it. All that is much heavier than one tire and wheel. Physics dictates it takes a very badly made tire with a very heavy spot to setup any bounce or vibration on that entire assembly. I have run across a couple of tires that bad in my 50 years of driving. But tires are much better quality these days. Tires now require much less or even no balancing. Tire shops that don't recommend balancing are the honest people turning down an easy profit from the uninformed. I should mention that bounce or vibrations can also come from other sources like a bent or damaged wheel like from hitting a curb or pothole. Bad u-joints or a bent or unbalanced driveshaft can also setup bad vibrations.

Let me throw another related log on the fire. If an alignment shop charges more for a 4 wheel alignment on your car, truck, or RV and you have a solid axle in the rear you are getting ripped off. They get away with it because most people have never looked underneath or would even know what they are looking at it. Rear wheel misalignment can be real and will cause "dog tracking". But there is no adjustment. You have to replace parts if your solid rear axle is out of alignment.
 
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Babe2201

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me - I'd like the tires balanced...
retailer - you dont need them balanced
me - its my money, balance them or lose the sale
retailer - ok

wheres the problem, you want them balanced, end of discussion
Without trying to sound like a smart aleck you need to add to the last line where the retailer says I just added profit to my day with very little if any benefit to the customer.
 

Babe2201

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Suggest using nitrogen in the tires to keep them at a stable temp. My 2 year old tires on my 5th wheel look almost new with this stuff after 2 years. Regular air expands and retracts allot. its worth the investment.
Just curious if you know the difference in nitrogen level of tires filled with "nitrogen" compared to regular compressed air.
 

phil-t

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LOL - the air we breath is 78% nitrogen - good enough for me. What part of the other 22% is bad? I'd say way less improtant than balancing. Maybe both are miniscule problems in trailer tires, given the big picture. I still like balanced ;)
 

TheBar

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Everyone is entitled to their opinions. I believe in science and my personal experience. A tire loses pressure 40% slower and is less affected by temperature swings. It isn't just the nitrogen level it is also the oxygen and moisture displacement. It may not financially be worth paying for. But when tire shops and even some Costco stores offer it free there is no reason to refuse it. Some nitrogen machines fail to get the 93% level and others get close to 100%. And not all tire shops are the same. A new tire should be purged and refilled several times to get close to the proper 93% or better levels.
 

Babe2201

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Everyone is entitled to their opinions. I believe in science and my personal experience. A tire loses pressure 40% slower and is less affected by temperature swings. It isn't just the nitrogen level it is also the oxygen and moisture displacement. It may not financially be worth paying for. But when tire shops and even some Costco stores offer it free there is no reason to refuse it. Some nitrogen machines fail to get the 93% level and others get close to 100%. And not all tire shops are the same. A new tire should be purged and refilled several times to get close to the proper 93% or better levels.
Being in the business nobody offers them for free. They have added it to the price already and you pay for it even if you don't need it. If someone does not mind that then shop there if you want. I have had a few companies try to sell me the equipment to put nitrogen in tires. They all have the same thing in common and that is they said it is a money maker. Not one said anything about benefits to the consumer. I choose not to get the equipment because I don't think I could sell it to customers and sleep well at night. You are right everybody has their opinion but sometimes it matters what they are basing their opinion on.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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With the amount of weight on your travel trailer the little bit of vibration will not transfer to your tow vehicle.
It's not about tow vehicle ride - it's bouncing the furnishings and contents of the travel trailer. Granted, most modern tires are "close enough" to balanced that this won't be a big deal, but if the tire is out of balance, the effect on the trailer is major. Remember, most trailer suspensions are loaded to the max and few of them are equipped with shocks either, so the vibration or bounce is transferred directly to the "house" and its contents. You may find furniture moved or even overturned and the contents of cupboards, closets and fridge in disarray (or worse). Prolonged travel that way can literally shake seams loose.
 

Babe2201

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It's not about tow vehicle ride - it's bouncing the furnishings and contents of the travel trailer. Granted, most modern tires are "close enough" to balanced that this won't be a big deal, but if the tire is out of balance, the effect on the trailer is major. Remember, most trailer suspensions are loaded to the max and few of them are equipped with shocks either, so the vibration or bounce is transferred directly to the "house" and its contents. You may find furniture moved or even overturned and the contents of cupboards, closets and fridge in disarray (or worse). Prolonged travel that way can literally shake seams loose.
Ok then the small amount of weight needed to balance tires will not transfer enough to your trailer to harm anything. If you did not balance the tires on your vehicle it would not vibrate enough to cause any damage it would just make for an uncomfortable ride. It would not do anything to any suspension parts or any other parts. As a matter of fact the opposite will happen. Worn out vehicle parts will damage the tires and not the other way around. If you think a trailer that weighs on average 2-3 tons and sometimes lots more is going to be damaged and have seams come apart because of unbalanced tire I would have to disagree with you.
 

Babe2201

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I have seen a lot of different opinions and reasonings so far. I am fairly new to RVing and I came here for some info on things that I might not be sure about. I have sold tires for over 20 years and owned my own shop for almost 18 years and have sold hundreds of and maybe even into the thousands of trailer tires. I have maybe at the most balanced about 20 of them and I do not have a nitrogen system.

I have yet have one customer come back and say they need their trailer tires balanced because of vibration. I have very rarely seen any uneven wear on trailer tires that I have sold and ones I have was more than likely from something mechanically wrong with the trailer. I could have talked most of my customers into balancing the tires and made quite a bit more money but I like to sleep at night. I have sold almost as many trailer tires the last 5 years than I sold in the first 12 and I might be wrong but I attribute some of that because I am not upselling things customers do not need and have very little if any benefit to them or that I don't say it is included and adjust the price accordingly like some shops do.

As far as nitrogen goes regular compressed air is about 78% nitrogen and most systems bring it up to about 88%. That is not really enough of a difference for me to comfortably charge $5 per tire or whatever the rate it is now to my customers. It has been a while so the percentage might have gone up since. Like I said in an earlier post I have had 3 or 4 salesman try to sell me the nitrogen system and every one told me it was a money maker and not one mentioned anything about any benefits to my customer. The company I started out with fired a manager that came after I left because he was not selling enough nitrogen. My guess is that was not because he was not helping the customers but because he was not helping the bottom line.

Anybody can have an opinion but sometimes it makes a difference how they come up with that opinion.
 

phil-t

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Well, it's backwards, in my mind, I guess. I feel that whatever it is that is causing the shaking (tire imbalance) is responsible for suspension parts and vehicle parts failing; not the other way. AND it is not about "need" it's about want and how someone feels about the balance issue. If I get my tires/wheels balanced and it makes me feel good about it and gives me confidence, then so be it - worth every peny. It's same with nitrogen - just how someone feels/believes. I'm pleased with trailer tire setup and that's what matters. I even carry a spare and the tools to do a tire change with minimum work.
 

Babe2201

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Well, it's backwards, in my mind, I guess. I feel that whatever it is that is causing the shaking (tire imbalance) is responsible for suspension parts and vehicle parts failing; not the other way. AND it is not about "need" it's about want and how someone feels about the balance issue. If I get my tires/wheels balanced and it makes me feel good about it and gives me confidence, then so be it - worth every peny. It's same with nitrogen - just how someone feels/believes. I'm pleased with trailer tire setup and that's what matters. I even carry a spare and the tools to do a tire change with minimum work.
I can follow you on most of your post but almost every drive vehicle on the road has balanced tires and parts have to be replaced. If what you say is true there would be a lot of parts stores going out of business.
 
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SpencerPJ

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Midwest
I ask for mine to be balanced. I feel it would show a blatant defect in the tire, were as mount and go is all on the customer down the road. My last tire purchase of Firestone Destination tires took 9 brand new tires to get 4 to pass road force balancing. One was an obvious defect that might not have been caught without balancing. I know this is on the extreme end, but same logic applies. If it's factory defective been stored like crap and can't balance properly, I don't want the tire on my rim.
 

MtnGoat

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Dec 16, 2018
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There is not a chance I'd mount any tire and not balance it. Just like getting the axles aligned. Yes its not cheap. But then neither are tires.
 

rbTN

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Southern Middle TN
Without trying to sound like a smart aleck you need to add to the last line where the retailer says I just added profit to my day with very little if any benefit to the customer.
agreed, but I did say I wanted it done, my reasons are my own, and yes it will be additional revenue for the retailer but again, it was my choice so not really a valid concern
 

steveblonde

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calgary alberta
My old trailer tires were balanced my new trailer tires are not. My new trailer just had all 3 axles aligned brakes adjusted and bearings packed properly its 4 months old. I havent balanced the wheels YET i will when i replace these tires. Probably next year as im leaving Aug 12 for a 6000mile road trip
 
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