Symptoms of Unbalanced Tires: Causes and Fixes

One of the issues you may encounter in the garage or in your driving experience is unbalanced tires. It is a situation where your tires are not level with each other. Unbalanced tires can bring up secondary issues with the car, resulting in a bad driving experience. It would be a great asset to understand the symptoms of unbalanced tires as it will help you deal with the problem before it goes out of hand.

Knowing the symptoms needs a keen eye lest you miss them. The good thing is we will share with you all we know about unbalanced tire symptoms for prompt attention.

What Causes Unbalanced Tires?

Before looking at the signs, you should know what causes unbalanced tires to give you a better understanding of the problem. Highlighted are some of the causes of unbalanced tires.

check tire pressure

Improper Tire Pressure

You have to inflate all the tires, following manufacturers’ specifications. If one tire has a lower pressure than the other, for instance, the car loses equilibrium and will lean towards the affected wheel. The same applies if you over-inflate some of the tires. Check on the manufacturer’s recommendations to get the proper tire pressure limits to abide with.

The Weather

Weather is one of the causes of unbalanced tires, especially in cold conditions. In such a case, there is the contraction of air particles, which in excess can cause deflation of the tires. The deflation rate might be irregular, leading to some tires being more affected than others, leading to imbalance.

Wheel And Axle Damage

At times, you may have a suspension problem in your hands. It may be due to damage on the wheel or axle, for instance, a broken or bent axle. In this case, the tire won’t be at the same level as the others, and the car may be hard to steer or produce noises when in operation.

Worn Out Tires

Tires come in contact with the tarmac and other road surfaces, which may cause them to wear fast. Worn-out tires have an irregular shape, and it may bring about a state of imbalance. In the case of worn-out tires, it is advisable to opt for tire rotating. This maintenance practice will not only help regain tire balance but also boost tire life. You should also check on the tires’ inflation, ensuring that it is at the right level.

Loss of Tire Weight

Loss of tire weight is another cause of unbalanced tires. Tire weight is essential in balancing and stability. You can lose tire weight in situations like hitting speed bumps at high speed or getting into a pothole. The affected tire may deflate or deform; thus, affecting wheel balance.

Improper Alignment

Another cause of the problem in question can lie in wheel alignment. It is the tweaking of the car’s suspension system, focusing on the tire angles as they touch the road. If you do not correctly perform this process, you may have issues with the wheel balance.

Symptoms of Unbalanced Tires

After looking at the probable causes of unbalanced tires, here are some symptoms of the issue you should know.

how to fix unbalanced tires

A Rough Driving Experience

When the wheels are not in equilibrium, you will notice one of the signs is a rough driving experience. You may feel some vibrations when on the road, especially at high speeds.  This issue comes by as the wheels touch the road at different angles. If not rectified, the unbalanced wheels on a car may cause accidents due to the instability.

Poor Fuel Economy

You will experience a sudden dip in fuel economy if you have tires that are out of balance. The excessive fuel consumption comes from the engine trying to use more power to move. The tires out of equilibrium make movement hard.

Unusual noise coming

Engine noises indicate many issues with the car, including poorly balanced wheels. The unbalanced tire noise may range from hums to buzzes or whizzing sounds, and most of the time, they depend on the car part affected. The sounds increase with an increase in speed, and they may become a nuisance.

Leaning Vehicle

Another sign of this tire issue is a leaning vehicle. You may notice this when you park on a level surface. This is one of the ideal ways on how to tell which tire is out of balance. If the car slants, inspect the tires and see which one is out of balance and attend to it.

Irregular Tire Wear Patterns

Most renowned tire brands design their products in a way that they wear evenly for durability. However, at times, you will notice that the tire wears irregularly and may start eating away at the edges.  Mostly it is the tire that is out of symmetry or the one opposite to it that will have the issue. Other times, all the tires will have unusual wear patterns as they try to maintain the vehicle’s balance. Should you notice such an occurrence, you have to act fast.

The vibration of the Steering Wheel

The steering wheel needs to be stable to give you total control of the car. In the case of compromised tire balance and alignment, you will notice that it vibrates when driving. The vibrations may be more pronounced if the problem lies in the frontal wheels. The different angles in which the wheels touch the road make the steering wheel unstable. When in motion, it will start shaking, particularly if driving at fast speeds. There are instances where the unbalance wheel problem gets out of hand, and the vibration spreads to other parts, mostly the frontal chamber. When you accelerate, you may notice that it will extend to the seats. The moment on the road may be quite uncomfortable.

An Issue with the Shocks

As earlier mentioned, you may have a rough driving experience with tires that are out of balance. This may stem from the shocks malfunctioning as they try their best to keep the wheels in proper shape. The excessive stress may lead to them developing problems, extending to other car suspension system parts.

How to Fix Unbalanced Tires

A look at the signs of the unstable tires shows you that your car is at the risk of more damage or, in severe cases, accidents on the road. This calls for immediate attention when you discover the problem.

Follow these highlighted steps to aid you in fixing unbalanced tires.

Step 1: Inspection

After noticing that there is an issue hinting at poorly balanced wheels, you have to inspect the vehicle to get to the problem’s root. You should place the vehicle on a flat surface to see where it leans to; this will lead you to the affected tires. For better results during the inspection, you can use a car lift. A 4-post car lift is a suitable choice, as it allows you to perform other duties like wheel alignment.

When you get to the problem, you now start dealing with it.

what causes unbalanced tires

Step 2: Making the Necessary Repairs

Once you know the root of the problem, you now focus on the repairs. Some repairs are easy to pull, for example, if it is the case of tire deflation. Here, you have to fill the tires to the recommended limit. It is prudent to have tires from the same company. Also, do not rely too much on the donut tire to the point of using it as a replacement for your regular tire.

If it is an issue with the alignment, you can let a professional handle it for you as it may be quite complex, more so if you have no experience. You should also check on the weights on the rims. They may accidentally come off due to impact leading to imbalance. In such a case, you can have qualified personnel reattach it. You can also replace the rims as a viable option. Finally, you should look for tire balancing services near me, which will direct you to an auto shop that will perform automated tire balancing.

There are many moves to look at in how to fix unbalanced tires. The essential move is to point out the main cause of the problem.

Symptoms of unbalanced tires YouTube

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What Happens If You Drive On Unbalanced Tires?

Driving on unbalanced tires is quite rough as you may notice noises from the engine or the suspension system. It may replicate on the steering system where the steering wheel will be unstable and start to vibrate. Among the secondary factors that might come from the problem include damage to other car parts, mostly the suspension system. In serious cases, particularly when driving at high speeds, it may lead to a loss of control and cause accidents.

Q: Do Unbalanced Tires Affect Alignment?

While unbalanced tires do not directly affect alignment, they can come in the way of wheel angling. If you drive the car for long on unbalanced tires, it may appear unaligned and cause problems with the suspension and steering system.

Q: Do All Four Tires Need To Be Balanced?

Yes, for the perfect equilibrium, you should balance all the tires. After balancing, perform wheel alignment of the occasional tire rotation for a smooth session when on the road.

Q: How Much Should Tire Balancing Cost?

Tire balancing costs will vary depending on various factors like the type of car and where you are getting the services. The cost ranges from $6 to $20 per tire, bringing the total cost of balancing to around $24 to $80. The price may go up to $100 to $150 if you get more services like checking and maintaining the suspension.

Q: How Do I Know If I Need Alignment Or Balance?

Alignment vs. balance is one area that confuses many people, and they may wrongly use the words interchangeably. Alignment refers to adjusting the wheels’ angles according to manufacturer specifications, and you can perform it less regularly than tire balancing. On the other hand, tire balance seeks to make the individual tires level for them to gain the ideal equilibrium. You should perform alignment regularly to extend the life of the tires.

Final Word

What are unbalanced tire symptoms? A good question to have as a driver is to be ahead of such a hitch as it can be quite a headache. This article is a guide showing you the causes and signs of unbalanced wheels. Use it to your advantage to prevent dealing with such a problem. Be aware of signs like rough driving, the uneven wearing of tires, and noises. Additionally, ensure you go for tire balancing regularly.


Hi there, I am R. Hasan Tito, a mechanic, and owner of this website. My friend and I created this website to share our knowledge, expertise, and experience with our fellow mechanics' community and car users. I am a specialist and certified automotive mechanic (Both Heavy Commercial and Private Cars). I worked as a Mechanic and Mechanic Supervisor for over fifteen years at Global Rebound Automotive companies - Toyota, TATA, BMW, Nissan, TVs, and Others. Now, I enjoy my new role of leading a team of automotive experts (in their respective fields) and publish new content on a regular basis on my website and social media.

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