All wheel balance machines are basically very similar
Some balance machines have more and some less features available. Features may be convenient but almost any working tire balance machine can get the job done, with a trained technician using it. Machines do NOT balance tires, anymore than word processors create great literary works. William Shakespeare created timeless treasures with a quill pen. A skilled technician can similarly get great results with any working wheel balance machine. An unskilled worker will get poor results, REGARDLESS OF THE MACHINE.
Selecting the right tire
A great tire that last and does not cause other problems starts with selection. There are a multitude of tire designs, each with a specific function. For example, a load rated LT tire will give great results on a light truck. The same tire may not be best for an SUV. A speed rated, performance tire allows a sport car to handle like a dream, but will not give good result on a family sedan.
Selecting the proper tire is much easier with the advise of someone that understands tires. Simply buying a quality brand is not enough, the right tire for the application is equally important. Once the proper tire is chosen, it must be mounted and balanced. This is where a major difference lies. Not everyone that sells tires can properly mount or balance them. In fact, finding quality mounting and balancing can be difficult.
A brand new high-quality tire can quickly be ruined by improper mounting. Dry mounting a tire can twist the carcass and cause out of round. Many times we are asked, "How did they balance an out of round tire?"
Balance and out of round are entirely different things
An egg can be balanced, and so can an out of round tire; Neither will roll smoothly down the road. The resulting bouncing, vibration and shimmy can quickly damage suspension components that absorb it. To keep vibration from the driver, suspension components attempt to absorb it. This can very rapidly cause parts to fail. Tie rods and ball joints are particularly susceptible.
Static and dynamic balance
When tires were very narrow and vehicles drove slowly, static balance was adequate. With static balance, a counter weight is placed opposite the imbalance and in the same plane.
Static balance can be recognized because weights will only be on one side of the wheel. With wider tires and at greater speeds, dynamic balance is needed. This is the case with any modern vehicle.
With dynamic balance both sides of the wheel, or planes, are balanced and matched. This will involve a balance weight on the inside and outside of the wheel. There should normally be one weight on either side of the wheel in proper balance. Occasionally, one side may not require any weight. Multiple weights on either side of the wheel is a dead give-away of improper balance.
Wheel balancing is NOT maintenance and should not have to be regularly re-done
A proper balance on a wheel and tire will last the life of the tire. Rotating tires is totally separate from balance. Rotation helps even tire wear, balance remains the same when tires are rotated. Balance will only change if a weight comes off or if the tire is moved on the wheel.
Cheap tires, improperly mounted and balanced are just too expensive and no, a caveman cannot mount and balance them. Let AGCO show you how a set of quality Michelin tires, properly mounted and balanced can lower your overall cost of driving.