Wheel Balancing Tips

1. Inspect your machines. Inspect your mounting and balancing machines on a regular basis “and make sure you’re performing all the maintenance that’s required, “You should be looking for any obvious air leaks and that all the operating parts are working correctly, from the bead loosening system to the tool arms.” The goal is to prevent surprises during operation. “We tell our customers to keep all the instructions with the unit. Make sure all the decals, labels and notices are clean and visible to the operator, especially around potential pinch points.” Operators should never attempt to over-ride a machine’s built-in safety features.

2. Use protective equipment. Make sure operators wear safety glasses, durable clothing, steel-toed shoes and other safety gear. “Anything hanging or loose-fitting should be avoided. You don’t want to get caught up in the moving parts of the equipment.” Keefe recommends wearing mechanics’ gloves, “especially if you’re handling worn tires or wheels.” Ear protection is important, as well. Getting into the habit of using protective equipment “is a function of the shop owner’s policies.”

3. Match tires to rims correctly. “Make it part of your standard operating procedure on every tire you service to look at the size of the new tire before mounting it. Make sure it’s the proper size for the wheel.” Mismatching tires and wheels can lead to injury during inflation. “With enough oomph, you can get a 16-inch tire on a 16.5-inch wheel and certainly a 16.5-inch tire will slide pretty easily onto a 16-inch rim.” Always verify tire and wheel sizing. “In a lot of shops, the tire tech is not the guy who’s pulling the tire from inventory.”

4. Examine the wheel closely. “Inspect it for cracks, rust or any other damage from curbing or a pothole, which can deform the rim.” Because seating can become difficult when working with a structurally compromised rim, operators may be tempted to use more air than is recommended, which can result in injury

5. Body positioning. When mounting, techs should keep their fingers away from the bead seat area to avoid injury. “The finger can be caught between the bead and the rim.” Furthermore, operators should avoid positioning any part of their bodies over the tire and rim assembly during the inflation process.