What is a Road Force Tire Balancer?
A road force tire balancer is a specialized piece of equipment used to balance tires more accurately compared to traditional methods. At Mount Zion Offroad, we use a Hunter Road Force GSP9700 Diagnostic Balancer. It employs advanced technology to identify and correct imbalances that can lead to vibrations and uneven tire wear. To understand how a road force tire balancer works, let’s compare it to other methods of tire balancing.
Traditional methods of tire balancing involve using a bubble balancer or a spin balancer. These methods focus primarily on the static balance of a tire, which means they address imbalances caused by uneven weight distribution around the tire’s circumference. The technician would mount the wheel and tire on a balancer, and the machine would detect any heavy or light spots by spinning the tire and measuring its vibration. Small weights are then added to the rim to counterbalance the tire’s uneven distribution of weight.
While these traditional methods are effective for most tires, especially smaller car tires, they may not address another crucial factor: the dynamic balance. Dynamic balance refers to imbalances that occur when the tire rolls on the road due to variations in tire stiffness, tread irregularities, or sidewall variations. These imbalances can cause vibrations that cannot be eliminated solely by addressing the static balance.
Why is Road Force Balancing Superior?
This is where a road force tire balancer such as our Hunter unit comes into play. It incorporates an additional measurement called road force. This measurement simulates the force exerted on the tire when it rolls on the road by applying a controlled load (up to 1250 lbs) against the tire’s tread. The machine uses a roller that applies pressure to the spinning tire, measuring both the vertical and lateral forces exerted by the tire.
By measuring the road force, the balancer can detect and quantify any deviations in tire stiffness, sidewall bulges, or tread inconsistencies. Road force is measured in a number, and any value 40 or below is considered acceptable. Of course lower is better, and we prefer to sell tires with the lowest road force values because we know they will remain trouble free for the life of the tire. When the road force value is high, the machine will indicate where the problem areas are located. Based on this information, the technician can make adjustments to minimize the imbalance either by adjusting balance weights, or mounting the tire in a different orientation on the wheel.
Compared to traditional methods, a road force tire balancer provides a more comprehensive and accurate solution for balancing tires. It takes into account not only the static balance but also the dynamic balance, which ensures a smoother, quieter, and more comfortable ride. This is especially important with the oversized off road and aggressive mud tires we see here at Mount Zion Offroad every day. By addressing the factors that cause vibrations during actual driving conditions, it helps prevent premature tire wear, reduces stress on suspension components, and enhances comfort and performance.
Do Some Tires Balance Better Than Others?
Our years of road force balancing experience has taught us a lot about which brands and styles of tires to recommend. While acceptable balance can be achieved on nearly every new tire, consistently low road force numbers are what we look to as a measure of premium tire manufacturing quality. There are a number of tires we prefer not to sell, and even more that we highly recommend. Of course there can be bad batches or single units of anything, and our top of the line equipment helps us to catch these issues before they present a problem for you! If you’re interested in purchasing tires, or a wheel and tire package, hop over to our contact page and we would be happy to discuss what would be best for your vehicle.
Conclusion – You Need Road Force Balancing!
In conclusion, a road force tire balancer goes beyond the basic static balance provided by traditional methods. By measuring and correcting both the static and dynamic imbalances, it ensures a higher level of precision and improves the overall quality of tire balancing. This advanced technology contributes to a safer, more comfortable driving experience and prolongs the life of tires and other vehicle components.
by Jon Tirrell
Mount Zion Offroad Staff Writer