Automotive

need to balance wheel ASAP or wait it out?

  • Last Updated:
  • Dec 21st, 2018 8:49 pm
[OP]
Member
Jun 14, 2009
457 posts
32 upvotes
Toronto

need to balance wheel ASAP or wait it out?

today, as i was driving on the 403 from Square one, felt the steering wheel vibrate for a few seconds (all highway traffic today as I was on the HOV lanes most of the time)... when I reached the 403 at Ford Drive Area and on to QEW Burlington area, no problemo... Not sure if road related or vehicle related... First time it happened on this vehicle... Note that I've been driving on the QEW (Oakville to Hamilton) but have never felt this at all the past few years so not sure how to go about it...

Addendum: didnt hit any thing and per inspection, all wheel weights are still in the rim... tires are all inflated the same levels...

Net: what could be the cause of it? I guess for now just observe again? What are the symptoms needed for a wheel balance? (constant shaking of steering wheel all time at higher speeds or situations like what I got into today?)

Thanks in advance
15 replies
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Jul 30, 2007
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If off balanced, then you will have vibration at all time when you hit 80kph+ and get worse as you go faster
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Sep 9, 2012
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eilrach wrote:
Dec 20th, 2018 6:02 pm
today, as i was driving on the 403 from Square one, felt the steering wheel vibrate for a few seconds (all highway traffic today as I was on the HOV lanes most of the time)... when I reached the 403 at Ford Drive Area and on to QEW Burlington area, no problemo... Not sure if road related or vehicle related... First time it happened on this vehicle... Note that I've been driving on the QEW (Oakville to Hamilton) but have never felt this at all the past few years so not sure how to go about it...

Addendum: didnt hit any thing and per inspection, all wheel weights are still in the rim... tires are all inflated the same levels...

Net: what could be the cause of it? I guess for now just observe again? What are the symptoms needed for a wheel balance? (constant shaking of steering wheel all time at higher speeds or situations like what I got into today?)

Thanks in advance
Might be loose lugs from a recent winter wheel swap? If so, go back and get the torque checked and corrected if it’s below spec.
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May 4, 2014
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Could be just a bad patch of pavement. I get this from time to time as well in unfamiliar roads and panic for no reason thinking I have a flat or something.

I would take the opportunity to check all 4 tires have normal pressure.
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Dec 23, 2003
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Generally, balance issues happen when the vehicle is around 88 km/h to 100 km/h and at about 118 km/h upwards. Sometimes the roads can be grooved or something could have been caught in the tire grooves that may be freed up after a little driving.

If the steering is shaking, chances are the front wheels need balancing. If you feel it in the seat, it could be the rear. Depending on the tires/age/condition, sometimes slightly cupped tires can also give you vibrations.

A few things to check:

- make sure all the wheel bolts are tight.

- check that all the tires are set to the SAME air pressure

- make sure that the wheel covers (if you have them) are on tight. I have used some aftermarket wheel covers on my snow tires and some of them seem to stick out like a dome. This I find causes air to suck in the tire and can cause shakes.

- Make sure that valve stem covers you are using are just the regular and not replaced by metal or anything else. Those can cause an imbalance in the tires. Years ago, I got a pack of valve stem covers from Canadian Tire that tells you if your tires are correctly inflated or not. They threw the balancing off and I felt vibrations. Replacing them with the basic caps solved the problem.

If you do get the tires balanced, find a place that uses the Hunter GSP9700 balancer. These places can do the traditional high speed balancing or a Road Force balance. In my experience, even the regular balancing on this machine seems to be better than a typical mechanic balancer. A Good tire shop and most dealerships use this machine. I paid $60 to balance 4 tires at the dealership using this machine and it made a world of difference. I am sure I could have found places that charge $30 or $40 but I just wanted a good machine to do it right.
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Deal Guru
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Feb 11, 2007
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OP, what year/model is the car and how many KM?

- check lugs
- check tire pressure
- check inside wheels for any foreign debris (ie, mud/ice/snow)
- if high mileage, struts could be blown.

If you only felt it for a few seconds and never again then it was probably the road. Happens to me as well where I first think there's something wrong but turns out to be the road.
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Mar 20, 2004
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eilrach wrote:
Dec 20th, 2018 6:02 pm
today, as i was driving on the 403 from Square one, felt the steering wheel vibrate for a few seconds (all highway traffic today as I was on the HOV lanes most of the time)... when I reached the 403 at Ford Drive Area and on to QEW Burlington area, no problemo... Not sure if road related or vehicle related... First time it happened on this vehicle... Note that I've been driving on the QEW (Oakville to Hamilton) but have never felt this at all the past few years so not sure how to go about it...

Addendum: didnt hit any thing and per inspection, all wheel weights are still in the rim... tires are all inflated the same levels...

Net: what could be the cause of it? I guess for now just observe again? What are the symptoms needed for a wheel balance? (constant shaking of steering wheel all time at higher speeds or situations like what I got into today?)

Thanks in advance
403 around that section has pavement issues and causes vibration as if tires are out of balance.
It's not an issue with your car if you don't feel it elsewhere.

I feel the same issue whenever I drive by that area and it happens to more than one car in the family.
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Sep 8, 2017
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If it was only for a moment, probably just a bad section of road.

If the wheels weren't balanced it would vibrate all the time.
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Mar 22, 2004
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hightech wrote:
Dec 20th, 2018 7:05 pm
Generally, balance issues happen when the vehicle is around 88 km/h to 100 km/h and at about 118 km/h upwards. Sometimes the roads can be grooved or something could have been caught in the tire grooves that may be freed up after a little driving.

If the steering is shaking, chances are the front wheels need balancing. If you feel it in the seat, it could be the rear. Depending on the tires/age/condition, sometimes slightly cupped tires can also give you vibrations.

A few things to check:

- make sure all the wheel bolts are tight.

- check that all the tires are set to the SAME air pressure

- make sure that the wheel covers (if you have them) are on tight. I have used some aftermarket wheel covers on my snow tires and some of them seem to stick out like a dome. This I find causes air to suck in the tire and can cause shakes.

- Make sure that valve stem covers you are using are just the regular and not replaced by metal or anything else. Those can cause an imbalance in the tires. Years ago, I got a pack of valve stem covers from Canadian Tire that tells you if your tires are correctly inflated or not. They threw the balancing off and I felt vibrations. Replacing them with the basic caps solved the problem.

If you do get the tires balanced, find a place that uses the Hunter GSP9700 balancer. These places can do the traditional high speed balancing or a Road Force balance. In my experience, even the regular balancing on this machine seems to be better than a typical mechanic balancer. A Good tire shop and most dealerships use this machine. I paid $60 to balance 4 tires at the dealership using this machine and it made a world of difference. I am sure I could have found places that charge $30 or $40 but I just wanted a good machine to do it right.
What happens if there are vibrations at specific speeds like 41 kmh, 51 kmh, 61 kmh? Already balanced but still feeling vibrations at the lower speeds, can be felt via steering wheel and chassis in general. Would this be an out of round tire and or high spot on one of them? New tires but 3 years old dot tire date code.
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radeonboy wrote:
Dec 21st, 2018 2:59 am
What happens if there are vibrations at specific speeds like 41 kmh, 51 kmh, 61 kmh? Already balanced but still feeling vibrations at the lower speeds, can be felt via steering wheel and chassis in general. Would this be an out of round tire and or high spot on one of them? New tires but 3 years old dot tire date code.
It could be a bad tire. Do you hear any hum or excessive noise? That could be a bad wheel bearing
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hightech wrote:
Dec 21st, 2018 7:59 am
It could be a bad tire. Do you hear any hum or excessive noise? That could be a bad wheel bearing
I hear some uneven rumbling/vibration noise but I think it's coming from one of the tires. The noise gets more noisy the faster you go. The vehicle is 6 months old, can't be anything like that with the wheel bearings. Stock michelin tires had zero issue. Just when I switched it to winters (Hankook ipike rs W419 ) this started happening. So I can feel vibrations at those speeds and when braking coming down past those speeds. You can feel it most and clearly at these specific speeds, starting from 41,51,61,71
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radeonboy wrote:
Dec 21st, 2018 9:08 am
I hear some uneven rumbling/vibration noise but I think it's coming from one of the tires. The noise gets more noisy the faster you go. The vehicle is 6 months old, can't be anything like that with the wheel bearings. Stock michelin tires had zero issue. Just when I switched it to winters (Hankook ipike rs W419 ) this started happening. So I can feel vibrations at those speeds and when braking coming down past those speeds. You can feel it most and clearly at these specific speeds, starting from 41,51,61,71
It is probably tread harmonics. I had a 2009 Civic years ago (bought brand new) that I had vibrations with the ipike winter tires. Took it to the dealership and they swapped the tires with all seasons and the noise/vibration went away. I find these Hankook tires are cheap and with low quality control. Switched over to Michelins xi3 and never had any issues.
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[OP]
Member
Jun 14, 2009
457 posts
32 upvotes
Toronto
Thank you very much for all your responses guys. Very helpful for me since even if the suggestions were not the solution, it helps me in the future.

I drove again today from Oakville to Brant and found zero vibrations to and from QEW both ways at highway speeds. I double checked my TPMS and it showed 226-228-240-230 (FL/FR/RL/RR) prior to driving away this morning and it was 240-242-250-242 by the trip end. It does seem like the 403 has some imperfection on one to two parts of the highway on one side... thank you for some of your inputs on the 403 "imperfection" -- I wasnt sure if that happens since I take QEW mostly, if not always/everyday...

I also had my tired retorqued actually after changing it a few months ago and rechecked tires for bulges etc this morning just to be sure... (my aunt had a bulge which she didnt notice on her continental stock tires in her a4 in the past ) so i made sure of tire safety just prior to leaving this morning as i had a few passengers in the vehicle today (plus a child in the rear)...

Thanks again
[OP]
Member
Jun 14, 2009
457 posts
32 upvotes
Toronto
Thanks wing0 as well... I'm kinda surprised that 403 is like that -- vibrations due to road since it's a highway -- at first i thought it was my vehicle...

i do notice that dundas in mississauga area has a lot of patches that seem like the road "accordioned" too -- if you know what i mean... i think somewhere on the way to costco in mississauga from terra along dundas there's a section of road that is wavy (i think near california sandwiches too)... eg one can see it in your bare eyes

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