A balanced tire gives drivers a smooth ride. If you’re feeling vibrations and wobbles, your vehicle tires might be out of balance.
If you desire a smooth ride, tire balancing is essential. Tire wheel balancing extends tire life and prevents uneven tire wear.
Mechanics use two popular methods to achieve proper car wheel balancing. So balance beads or weights; which are the best options for your vehicle?
What Are Tire Balance Beads?
Balance beads are tiny beads used to balance your tires internally. They come as ceramic, steel, glass, or a combination of ceramic and glass.
These wheel beads are inserted into the tires during the mounting procedure, particularly where the tires and wheel meet.
Once tire beads are deposited into your tires, they distribute inside the tire as speed and vibration increase.
This upward and downward movement of the beads keeps the tires planted on the road, giving you a balanced ride.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Wheel Balancing Beads
While motorcycle balance beads help to balance your wheels properly, they have some highs and lows.
Advantages of balance beads
- Using balance beads is an inexpensive and efficient way to ensure your vehicle is balanced.
- They are straightforward to install
- Installation is faster than traditional balancing methods. It takes only 5 minutes to install it in each wheel since you do not have to dismount the tire. You can inject the beads through the air valve.
- It can absorb vibration better at high speeds than balancing wheel weights
- They can adjust your tires to any driving condition and still keeps your vehicle balanced
- One-time installation can last the entire lifetime of the tire
- Minimizes premature and uneven tire wear compared to tire weights
Disadvantages Of Beads
- Does not balance well at low speeds. Since the bead works with only movement, the initial acceleration may cause an imbalance.
- Beads can get stuck in the valve if the installer fails to use the correct beads. A jam in the stem can cause the stem to open and leak slowly. However, you can use a filtered Schrader valve, so the beads don’t get stuck in the valve stem.
- While tire beads are reusable, removing them from the old tires is difficult without causing damage. So you have no option but to buy a new set of wheel beads if you need to fix them on a new tire.
- Since most of the beads are far from the rotation point, your car will need extra force to speed up. This action invariably results in less fuel economy, especially for oversized tires.
- If you regularly inflate and deflate your tires, moisture may build up inside, causing the bead to stick together and not work well.
- At every stop, wheel beads settle at the bottom of the tire, taking the tires out of balance. So unless you drive, the beads will not redistribute themselves to balance the tires.
What Is Tire Balancing Weights?
Just like beads, tire Weights can come in different forms. But one of the most popular options is the adhesive wheel weights.
They come in different sizes depending on each of their weights. In addition, they have a strong adhesive backing that helps them bond properly to your wheels.
Professionals use a computerized balancer to determine the tire weights your vehicle tires need.
These adhesive weights are applied with heat to ensure the bond is permanent. Adhesive weights are popular because they are affordable and very reliable.
Another high of tire balancing weights is that they are also easy to remove should you need to apply new weights to your wheels.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Wheels Weights
Here are some pros and cons of wheel balancing weights.
Advantages Of Weights
- Easy to remove
Disadvantages Of Weights
- Weights take longer to fix since you need to take the tire off to fix it; generally, it takes about 25-60 minutes for each wheel.
- Car wheel balancing Weights break down over time, so you might need to remove and reinstall new weights during every rotation.
- Leads weight can fall off your tires
- Not reusable
Balance Beads Vs. Weights: Which Is Best For Your Vehicle?
Many drivers and experts will prefer weights. However, balance beads may be handy sometimes, depending on your choice.
For example, vehicles with large wheels 35″ and more may go with balanced beads, especially if the tires have aggressive treads.
They prefer balance beads because big tires need room to disperse. Beads last longer than weights, so anytime these big wheels are rotated, you will have to rebalance them if they have adhesive weights.
But with beads, you don’t need to rebalance during rotation. Adhesive weights can be knocked out on rocky terrains, whereas balanced beads can take the abuse.
Vehicles with larger brake calipers may cause adhesive weights to knock off due to inadequate room between the caliper and wheels.
So, balance beads will be a better option for cars with oversized calipers. Balance beads can also be great if you want a clean wheel look.
For example, you may not want tire weights showing behind your wheels.
Beads stabilize not only your tires but the whole axle. Beads are easier and faster to install. For vehicles with larger wheels, beads are a good option.
Frequently Asked Questions
Beads vs. weight: which should I use?
Which to use depends on your vehicle and what you aim to achieve. While both provide balance, beads are better for bigger wheels, and cars are driven on challenging terrains.
How many beads or weights do I need per wheel?
The amount of beads or weights you need depends on your tire. Generally, weights have a computerized balancer that tells the number of tire weights needed. For beads, a general rule is to use one ounce of beads per 13 pounds of a tire.
Can I install beads or weights myself?
Unless you have DIY knowledge and the right equipment, please don’t do it. Any mistake from your end could damage your tire leading to more repairs. You should leave it to professionals.
So balance beads & weights, which motorcycle tire balancer is better? Both have highs and lows, but beads are a better option for vehicles with large wheels and cars that drive on challenging terrain. Plus, beads last longer than weights.
On the other side, beads can cause a decrease in fuel efficiency and are almost useless at low speeds. But whichever you choose, ensure it meets your vehicle’s needs.