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Wheel balancing: what is it and why is it important?

Car owners often confuse wheel balancing with wheel alignment. While both are important so you can enjoy a smooth and safe driving experience, they fix entirely different issues with your wheels and steering.

In this article, we answer all your questions, including what wheel balancing is, why it’s necessary, how it differs from wheel alignment, and when to do it.

What is wheel balancing?

During wheel balancing, balancing weights are added to the rims of your wheel to fix any uneven distribution of weight around the tyre and wheel assembly of your car.

It helps to stop wobbling and vibrations when you drive, prevents your tyres from wearing out unevenly, and helps to limit mechanical problems in the future.

Is it wheel balancing or wheel alignment?

Wheel balancing fixes weight imbalances that cause shaky driving. In contrast, wheel alignment straightens your wheels and ensures optimal road contact for better steering. For example, an off-centre steering wheel while driving straight points to an alignment problem.

What happens during a tyre balancing service?

When you take your car for a tyre balancing service, the existing wheel weights are removed from the rims, whereafter the wheels are placed on a special machine. A technician spins the tyres to identify points causing imbalance and adds weights to counteract these spots.

What causes tyres to become unbalanced?

Factors that result in wheel imbalances include driving into potholes or curbs, poor road conditions, and general wear and tear. Even new tyres have minor imperfections because of the manufacturing process and need wheel balancing to fix.

How can you tell if your car needs wheel balancing?

Uneven tyre wear is a clear sign your tyres need to be balanced. You can also spot symptoms of imbalance while driving. For example, you might notice steering wheel vibrations, uneven tread wear, squealing tyres, strange noises that get louder with speed, or a wobbly ride.

What are the benefits and importance of wheel balancing?

Wheel balancing is critical for safe driving and an extended tyre life. It reduces the risk of accidents caused by skidding, lets you enjoy a smoother ride, prevents wheel damage, improves fuel economy, and results in longer-lasting tyres.

How often should wheels be balanced?

Wheel rotation and balancing should be done at every 15,000-kilometre interval or when fitting new tyres, after hitting potholes or curbs, when repairing a flat tyre, when you notice uneven tyre wear, and when you feel vibrations while steering.

Many car insurance claims are often due to accidents caused by unroadworthy cars, so always make sure your car is properly taken care of to ensure you, your passengers, and fellow drivers stay safe on the road.

Getting your wheels balanced

If you notice any symptoms of imbalance or misalignment, don’t hesitate to schedule a service with a professional technician. Having your wheels properly balanced will not only save you money in the long run but also ensure your safety on the road.

Stay safe on the road

It’s important to regularly service your car and do routine maintenance checks. Safe driving starts with a safe car!

Having car insurance can also help protect you financially in case of damage to your wheels. Take a look at Prime South Africa’s different insurance plans and how they can meet your specific needs. You have the option to add Tyre and Rim Protection*, where we’ll cover the repair or replacement of tyres or rims damaged by road hazards, such as potholes.

Although there are many car insurance service providers out there, we pride ourselves in offering unique benefits found nowhere else in South Africa.

*T&Cs apply.


This article provides general information on wheel balancing. However, do your own research before getting your wheels balanced to ensure the best service for your car’s needs.

And, as always, remember to buy car insurance with much thought and only through a certified financial services provider. Get a quick, easy online quote today.

Contact us today to learn more about getting affordable, comprehensive car insurance with fixed premiums* and a reduce-to-zero excess*. *T&Cs apply.

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