SHAKE IT UP IN ALBUQUERQUE!: WHY WHEEL BALANCING

Our vehicles are not massage chairs. While we may enjoy a good vibration in an overstuffed recliner, us Albuquerque motorists generally want as smooth a ride as possible in our vehicles. One way to achieve this is to keep a vehicle’s wheels in balance.

When a tire is mounted onto a wheel, it is usually out of balance. This means that as the wheel spins, there is a slight wobble to the path of the tire. For best handling performance and safety on the road, Albuquerque car owners want to minimize this wobble as much as possible. So we balance our tires. To balance a tire, your knowledgeable Jim’s Automotive service advisor spins it on a machine or drum to determine where it is off-balance. He then attaches weights that counter-balance the uneven weight. Most Albuquerque drivers are surprised at how much balancing improves the smoothness of their ride.

High-quality tires generally hold their balance well. But over time, wear and tear take their toll and tires can become unbalanced. Albuquerque car owners can tell when a front tire is unbalanced if they feel a vibration in the steering wheel. If a back tire is unbalanced, you’ll feel a vibration in your seat. You may not notice these vibrations until they get fairly serious — or until someone else drives your sedan — because they usually develop slowly. If a vibration starts abruptly, it usually means you’ve lost a balancing weight.

The average tire rotates at about 850 revolutions per minute at 60 mph. When a tire is out of balance, it actually hops down the freeway, rather than rolling. So at 60 mph it is slamming into the pavement 14 times a second. That’s what creates the detrimental vibration. When Albuquerque drivers’ tires are out of balance, they wear out more quickly. The lack of balance also causes extra wear on shocks, struts, steering components and vital suspension parts.

Getting a balance job at Jim’s Automotive in Albuquerque can prevent pricey repair bills and even an accident. It will improve the safety of your sedan as well as its handling performance, and it will improve your gas mileage. When you change your rims or get a flat repaired at Jim’s Automotive, you’ll need to get your tires balanced as well. When you rotate your tires, you may want to have them balanced as well.

Some Albuquerque vehicle owners, however, only balance their wheels every other rotation. You can check your owner’s manual to see what the recommends for your sedan. Balancing your tires is part of critical preventive maintenance. It keeps your vehicle in good repair and prevents damage to many of its components, including some expensive ones. So practice good car care and make it a point to keep your tires balanced. It’s quality auto advice from Jim’s Automotive. Massages chairs may vibrate away our worries, but unbalanced tires will just rattle Albuquerque drivers’ nerves.

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