Just like they have to be correctly inflated and rotated regularly, your tires also need to be balanced correctly for optimal handling. Every time you buy new tires, they're balanced at the shop before they are placed on your car. Unfortunately, sometimes the small weights attached to the rim to balance it can fall off. Knowing how to recognize the signs of an unbalanced tire is important, because it can help you avoid uneven tread wear and poor handling.

Are You Feeling Vibration In The Steering Wheel?

When a tire is out of balance, it will cause some vibration as it rotates. That vibration will travel through the chassis, transmitting even into the steering wheel. If you're feeling sudden or worsening vibration in your car, it's time to have it evaluated by your local tire shop.

In most cases, the severity of the vibration can indicate how far off balance the tire is. The more the car vibrates, the more significant the problem. Narrow down the problem to the front or rear tires by considering what you feel. When the problem is in the front tires, the vibration will be most noticeable in the steering wheel. If it's in the rear tires, you'll probably feel more of it in your seat than the wheel.

Has Your Fuel Mileage Declined?

If your car's fuel efficiency seems to be declining or you're making more frequent stops at the pump, it's often an indication that there's a problem. If that shift in the fuel economy is paired with any other symptom of an unbalanced tire, it's in your best interest to visit the tire shop right away. The technician can put the tires on a balancing machine to adjust them in minutes.

Is There A Tire Suffering Marked Wear?

The wear pattern on the tire will also tell you if it is properly balanced. When it's not balanced, there's more stress being placed on one section of the tire than the other. This leads to uneven tire wear, with more wear on the inside or outside tread than the rest of the tire. Make sure you address the problem immediately if you're noticing wear pattern issues, because that can lead to a blowout.

The sooner you deal with the signs of an unbalanced tire, the more miles you'll get from your tires. Don't put yourself at risk of a blowout when you can recognize these signs and symptoms with ease. Talk with a local tire technician for more guidance about tire balancing and the signs to watch out for. Contact a company like Lee Tire to get started.