Why Tire Rotation & Tire Balancing Are Important

auto mechanic balancing tire with wheel balancing machinery in workshop

Austin residents need to keep their vehicles in good condition, and at Lamb’s Tire & Automotive, we offer a full range of services. That said, some services are easier to ignore than others. For example, many drivers neglect tire balancing and tire rotation when taking care of vehicle maintenance. This is unfortunate, since these tire services are crucial for people trying to get the most out of their cars.

If you haven’t visited a tire shop for these services before, or you’ve been putting off tire balancing/rotation work for a while, don’t panic. Just read this article to learn about why you should take care of tire rotation and balancing ASAP, and where you can schedule an appointment for this work.

Reasons to Take Tire Care Seriously

Whether you drive a brand-new vehicle or an older, rusted car, one thing doesn’t change: the importance of safety. Since safety is a universally high priority for drivers, auto manufacturers are quick to boast about the safety features included in their vehicles. Although most people don’t think of their tires as a safety feature, they play an irreplaceable role in getting you from one place to another without incident.

It’s not hard to see why tires don’t usually get much attention—when they do their job correctly, you won’t notice a thing. However, their lack of pizazz can obscure the truth of the matter: tires are responsible for connecting your car with the roads you drive, and they can help your vehicle continue to serve you for years to come. However, tires that get pushed beyond their limits could quickly go flat or fail completely, potentially causing significant problems for you and your car.

Because of these risks, you’ll need to make sure that your tires are ready to perform their essential function, and that means giving them the regular care that they need to stay in full working order. Two of the most critical tire maintenance tasks you should know about are tire rotation and tire balancing. 

What Tire Rotation Does for Your Car

It’s common knowledge that a vehicle’s tires wear down over time. What you might not know is that tires don’t always wear out at the same rate—because your car’s driven wheels have to work harder, they’ll also wear down faster. The wear rate depends on whether your vehicle uses front-wheel, rear-wheel or all-wheel drive, but the basic phenomenon is the same across the board.

Luckily, there’s a simple and affordable way to ensure your tire treads don’t fall victim to uneven wear. Taking your car in for regular tire rotation service will extend the lifespan of your tires while helping you avoid the expense of premature tire replacement. At the same time, your tire shop of choice will have the opportunity to inspect your tires and provide tire repair services, if needed.

Based on which wheels your car drives, you’ll need to rotate your tires in one of three patterns. Qualified tire service professionals, like those working at Lamb’s Tire, will be able to identify the right rotation pattern for your tires.

All About Tire Rotation Scheduling

If you’re unfamiliar with tire maintenance, figuring out when to rotate your tires may seem intimidating. The good news is that scheduling tire rotation can be as simple as taking a look at your odometer.

In most cases, you should aim to set up an appointment for tire rotation every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. In a pinch, you can also request tire rotation service as part of your oil change service to simplify things even further. For additional advice, check your car’s user manual or ask a trusted tire expert.

These guidelines should work well for most drivers, but a few situations can make things more complicated. Some vehicles use multiple tire sizes or have unidirectional (one-way) wheels, both of which can cause issues with tire rotation. Again, if you have questions, your manual or a tire professional should be able to help.

What is Tire Balancing?

Have you recently taken your car in for a wheel alignment? If so, you may have assumed that tire balancing is just another name for the same service, and it’s not hard to see why. However, that is not the case. While tire balancing is related to uneven tread wear, this service is entirely separate from tire rotation.

When you’re trying to understand tire balancing, you’ll first want to know a bit about how tires work. Attached to each of your vehicle’s tires are several weights located either on the tire’s rim or in the inner wheel. These weights help keep your car balanced, but tread wear can affect the tires’ ability to do their job. If your tires start wearing unevenly, they can throw off your vehicle’s balance.

Technicians will start the tire balancing process by taking all four wheels off your car. Then, they’ll check each tire’s weight distribution by putting the tire on a tire balancing machine, which spins the wheel around at 10–15 mph. If they notice any irregularities, tire professionals will correct them by adding quarter-ounce weights to the out-of-balance wheel. By the end of this process, your car’s wheels will be perfectly balanced again!

Know When Your Vehicle Needs Tire Balancing

It’s not too difficult to determine when you need a tire balancing service, and it’s easy to set up a tire rotation schedule. Plan on having your tires balanced once every 5,000 or 6,000 miles.

As you may have already noticed, this timeline overlaps with our recommendations for tire rotation schedules. That means you can save time and money by getting both of these services taken care of in the same appointment!

Of course, you may need one or both of these services ahead of schedule. If you notice any of these signs, let us know right away:

  • “Scalloped” or “cupped” wear on tires
  • Steering wheel vibrations when driving fast
  • Vibrating car seats at high speeds

How to Find a Great Tire Shop

As is the case for any auto maintenance service, the shop you choose for tire balancing and rotation matters. These tasks are routine, but you’ll need to ensure that they are being taken care of by people who know what they’re doing. If you don’t do this, you might find yourself paying too much for services that aren’t effective.

If you don’t already have an Austin-area auto or tire shop you can trust, it’s time to look at what’s available in the area. Finding a tire shop in this part of Texas isn’t difficult, but narrowing down the possibilities is another story. The best way to find an auto shop that can balance and rotate your tires is to focus on a few crucial factors. Ideally, your tire shop should be able to provide:

  • An excellent reputation among local residents
  • Highly qualified employees
  • A wide range of services, not just tire rotation and balancing
  • Reasonable prices and free quotes
  • Opportunities to save money, including coupons

The team at Lamb’s Tire & Automotive is proud to fulfill each of these needs. We’ve worked in the automotive industry since 1987, and we’re still Austin’s top choice for tire and auto service today. Whether you’re catching up on tire maintenance for the first time in a while, or you’re looking for a new tire shop, you can count on us. Get started by setting up your appointment today!

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