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23571 Pebble Run Place #150
Sterling, VA 20166

Tire Balancing

Have you ever wondered why a new car rides so smooth? Automobile manufacturers use a piece of equipment that can match the tire to the rim for a perfect smooth new car feel. This equipment is now being used by Drake Auto in Sterling Virginia.

Drake Auto is proud to be using the Hunter 9700 Road Force tire balancing system. We are serving Sterling, Ashburn, Leesburg, Herndon, Reston and all surrounding towns in Loudoun and Fairfax counties.

With laser guided wheel weight placement and Road Force balancing you are assured a perfect tire balance every time with the minimal amount of wheel weight.

Road Force balancing is a technology where the computer controlled balancer has the ability to tell the tire installer exactly where to orient the tire on the rim. The Hunter Road Force balancer uses a drum roller that presses on the tire with 1500 pounds of force while the tire is spinning on the machine to simulate actual road conditions while the tire is still on the balancer. No need to road test to see if there will be a vibration at higher speed with the weight of the vehicle on the tire and wheel assembly. With older technology the tire installer just puts the tire on the rim and adds whatever weight the machine says to add to get the assembly balanced. This can lead to excessive wheel weights being added to the rim causing more rotating mass and leaving more room for error. This also does not take into account any tire manufacturer variation inside the tire.

With the Hunter Road Force balancer we use the drum system to show variation of the inner tire cords as well as the overall balance. Using this technology gives us the ability to mark the tire and wheel in different spots and then dismount the tire from the rim and align the marks to make the smoothest balance and least necessary wheel weights in the industry.

We also have the ability to use a system called Straight Track developed by Hunter equipment that gives us the ability to show lateral pull on all tires. With this we know exactly where to place each tire on the car to get the best balance between smooth ride and least lateral tire pull.

Improper tire balance can lead to other problems with your vehicle as well as excessive tire wear. Suspension shock absorbers and struts as well as ball joints, tie rods, control arms, motor mounts and bushing can all suffer from the excess vibration of an improper tire balance. Manufactures recommend tire balance check as often as every 5000 miles to help protect the investment you have in your vehicle.

Wheel weights are also a concern during tire balancing. The Hunter Road Force Balancer has hide behind the spoke technology as well. No more unsightly stick on wheel weights being visible between the spokes. We can split the weights up so they are installed behind the spokes. Here at Drake Auto we also use True Zinc coated wheel weights. Many tire shops use steel weights which can cause galvanic corrosion leading to rust between the weight and the rim due to the different types of metal reacting between the wheel weight and the metal rim. Some shops use coated steel weights which coats the weight with paint to insulate it from the metal wheel. The over time the steel inside the coated weight starts to corrode and eats through this paint coating leading to the same corrosion and rust problem as uncoated weights. This is why we use zinc. It will not corrode inside the coating so the next time you have your tires balanced you won’t have a corroded rust mark under the wheel weight. It is also important to install the wheel weight with a plastic tip hammer, not metal. A metal hammer can chip the wheel weight causing an open spot in the coating.

The next time you get your tires installed or balanced and the shop has a very low or free price for installation or balance you may want to remember the info above so you can ask the right questions.

Tire rotation is one of the most simple but neglected things to do to protect your tire investment. Many manufacturers recommend a tire rotation at each oil change or every 5,000 miles.

There are mainly 4 tire rotation patterns.

The modified X rotation pattern is where the rear wheels are crossed to the front and the front stay on the same side and move to the back for front wheel drive vehicles. For rear wheel drive vehicles the front tires are crossed to the rear and the rear stay on the same side and move to the front. Exceptions to this would be on SUV’s the tires get crossed and switched front to rear. Directional tires stay on the same side and go front to rear. Some vehicles have different size directional tires which can not be rotated. This makes proper alignment and balance even more critical.

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Phone: (571) 244-6963
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Address: 23571 Pebble Run Place #150
Sterling, VA 20166
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