ELIMINATING WHEEL BALANCING SET-UP ERRORS

With the right wheel balancer, Stocks Automotive Australia says service facilities can easily diagnose and solve wheel-related vibrations and return that ‘new car ride’ to vehicle owners

Wheel balancing is extremely important for eliminating wheel and tyre related vibration. Modern vehicles including cars, light trucks and SUVs are highly tuned and can easily be affected by the slightest wheel imbalance.
Vehicle performance, driver comfort and tyre life can all be negatively impacted by unbalanced wheels. Proper balancing cancels out the uncomfortable vibration that can be felt when an unbalanced wheel is traveling at speed and also ensures proper tyre wear, says Stocks Automotive Australia.
With the right wheel balancer, service facilities can easily diagnose and solve wheel-related vibrations and return that ‘new car ride’ to vehicle owners.
However, many common setup errors can negate even the best wheel balancing equipment, warns Stocks Automotive Australia, and these errors can cause improper balancing and customer comebacks; costing your shop valuable time and money.
Common errors include miscentering, wheel weight placement errors, selecting the wrong collet or adaptor, incorrect wheel dimensions and many more.
Miscentering during wheel balancing procedures is the number one cause of improper balancing and customer comebacks, says Stocks Automotive Australia.
The best diagnostic wheel balancers on the market automatically monitor centering and notify the Technician of setup errors to improve Technician performance and reduce or eliminate comebacks.
Proper adaptors, flange plates, collet kits and a wheel lift ensure precise centering on all wheel assemblies. Flange plates help protect chrome and plastic clad wheels by only contacting the wheel in the same location as the wheel lugs.
Dual tapered collets (meaning that they are tapered in opposite directions from the center of the collet) can only drop half as far into the wheel bore to ensure proper centering and prevent damage to wheels, as well. These adaptors and collets make it safer and easier to service specialty wheels and tires and to avoid costly mistakes.
Advanced wheel balancers also use vision technology to scan the wheel, automatically determining wheel dimensions, spoke location, rim profile and weight mode.
This automatic wheel scan can determine where the technician placed the wheel weights and scores the accuracy of placement. An easy-to-understand display can illustrate placement errors to the technician and provide a report to enhance accuracy and improve balance results.
A traditional balance measures the distribution of mass of the assembly and applies wheel weights to correct any imbalances. Sometimes, this is not enough and a vehicle may have four perfectly balanced wheels and still experience wheel-related vibration, says Stocks Automotive Australia.
Vibration can also be caused by a bent rim, an improperly seated bead or by construction characteristics of the tyre. These factors contribute to road force, which is the change in force acting on a wheel assembly as it rolls.
A road force measurement allows the balancer to test a tyre’s performance under load. This makes it possible to fix non-balance related vibration. The diagnostic road force balancer suggests corrections to minimise or eliminate the road force vibrations. A traditional balance and road force measurement work together to completely eliminate wheel-related vibrations and improve ride performance.
A road force measurement simulates the way a tyre performs as it rolls down the road by applying a diagnostic load roller to the tyre as it spins.
The diagnostic load roller simulates the weight of the vehicle by applying up to 566 kilograms of force to the tyre. The balancer then identifies the lowest spot of the rim and the stiffest part of the tyre.
The assembly can then be match-mounted, using a tyre changer, to match the low spot on the rim with the stiffest part of the tyre, reducing road force vibrations in the assembly and allowing your customers to leave with a new car ride, on the same tyres and wheels.
Traditional wheel balancers can’t fix these non-balance issues, says Stocks Automotive Australia. Balancing is always required to eliminate vibrations but eliminating all tyre and wheel induced vibrations requires measuring and correcting road force as well.
Proper tyre mounting methods are also essential for eliminating wheel-related vibrations. Often, the tyre bead can be sealed but not completely seated, causing unpleasant vehicle vibrations.
The most state-of-the-art tyre changers include the capability to perform a bead massage. Bead massage helps to ensure a properly seated bead. During bead massage, rollers apply force to the tyre walls to assist with bead seating. This force applied properly to the tyre walls reduces vibration concerns.
Half of all tyre sets are significantly improved using bead massage. For some tyre changers this is even an automatic feature. The combination of a road force measurement, match mounting and bead massage allows your Service Department to virtually eliminate wheel-related vehicle vibration.
Wheel balancers that include intuitive touch screen interfaces can simplify and ease training and allow your entire shop to diagnose and solve the most difficult Service requests.
It can be as simple as one touch to display rim dimensions or live navigation through selection and placement of wheel weights.
With high-definition, on-board training videos and troubleshooting guides on a variety of balancing topics, you can elevate every technician in your shop to be an expert, says Stocks Automotive Australia.
These on-screen video instructions provide instant access and easy navigation to videos covering basic techniques to more advanced procedures, providing easy, on-site training for your Technicians. High-tech, intuitive operation also helps bridge experience and language gaps.
Even the best equipment needs service support to keep it in top working order, to ensure that worn out parts are replaced in a timely manner and that the machine remains properly calibrated.
Manufacturers that include on-site, in-person training and service support can become a partner to your business and help your shop succeed. The best manufacturers provide same or next day service to ensure that your shop is up and running in as little time as possible, allowing you to gain higher profits and provide excellent service to customers.
Traditional balancing, road force measurement, match mounting and bead massage only work to eliminate wheel and tyre related vibrations if proper balancer setup procedures are observed.
As such, Stocks Automotive Australia recommends you invest in diagnostic wheel balancing equipment that improves technician performance by watching for common setup mistakes including miscentering, wheel weight placement errors, incorrect collet or adaptor usage and inaccurate wheel dimension entry.
A high-tech wheel balancer will allow your dealership to provide superior balancing service and ensure that all customers drive away happy on perfectly-centered, properly-balanced and road force-tested wheels, it says.

For more from Stocks Automotive Australia, visit www.stocksauto.com.au
This article was supplied by Phil Goodwin, General Manager of Stocks Automotive Australia and was written by Greg Meyer, Product Manager of Wheel Balancers and Brake Lathes at Hunter Engineering Company.