Beware of the Balancer

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The accessories on a balancer are wearing parts that must be replaced regularly. PHOTO Shutterstock

Consumers will always return if they feel a vibration after a tire installation.

In an April 22 webinar hosted by SEMA’s Wheel and Tire Council, experts discussed the importance of proper balancer maintenance to avoid negative customer feedback.

Moderated by Mike Lusso of Hennessy, this panel focused on issues arising directly from the balancer. Lusso pointed out that the accessories linked to the balancer could be the source of vibrations, even if everything indicates that the wheel is well-balanced.

“Don’t blame the balancer if it’s the accessories that need replacing,” Hennessy explained.

“For example, as soon as a technician feels play in the centring cone, he should make sure to replace it. Otherwise, that variation in wheel positioning will throw off the assembly.”

Sometimes dirt or rust transferred from the rims can also affect the accuracy of the operation. Tire mounting equipment should always be cleaned. These experts add that the tire must also be secured to the rim and that good lubrication is necessary.

Replacing accessories

With the increasing number of rim types and tire sizes, the garage must ensure that the cones and adapters are in perfect condition.

The speakers recommended replacing the centre spring every year (or 10,000 cycles) and the cones and threaded pin every three years (or 30,000 cycles).

The entire clamping device must therefore contribute to the perfect positioning of the assembly before the installation of balancing weights.

The other speakers, Keith Buckley of Goodyear, Kent Hobson of Sams Club and Kevin Keefe, Hennessy Industries, note that one of the factors that reduce vibration risk is inspecting the vehicle as soon as the wheels are removed.

“Is the rim damaged, or the suspension at the end of its life? Or, if a bearing is defective the vibration could have nothing to do with the wheel balance.”

Certainly, this checklist proved to be important for the participants, as vibration can also be a safety issue for the customers of the tire centres.

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