Saturday, September 23, 2023


Do you need to “balance” RV trailer tires?

Do you need to “balance” RV trailer tires? This is a question I see occasionally. The answers range from “Never” to “Always”. In my opinion, I think the reason many do not balance or they say they don’t need to be balanced is because balancing costs the RV manufacturer money, and we all know just how price-sensitive the RV manufacturers and dealers are. The issue is that with many ST-type tires being designed and sold at the lowest possible cost, it is possible that the quality might be less than optimum.

One thing that can be learned when balancing a tire is how uniformly the tire components were assembled. In my 40+ years as a tire engineer, I have seen tires where a component was left out of the tire. I have also seen where half of one of the steel belts was left off the tire.

Uniformity check

Regular passenger and LT tires are almost always run through a uniformity check at the tire plant, as this is a quick check on one aspect of the tire build process. But uniformity checks cost time and money. I can see some people thinking, why bother? No one will be riding in the trailer so they will not be bothered by a poor ride. But the process of “balancing” can discover quality issues in the tire and even discover the occasional mis-mount of a good tire on a wheel, or even discover some issues in the wheels.

If you have a 15″ tire or smaller and need more than 3 oz. to balance, or if you have a 16″ or 17″ tire and need more than 5 oz., or have a 19.5″ or 22.5″ tire and need more than 7 oz. of weight, I would suggest that there may be a problem and that it needs to be discovered and “fixed”.

A final comment on balancing. Sometimes the problem with vibration is not the balance, but the tire and wheel being out of round, as I demonstrated in THIS post when I “balanced” a cement block.

Roger Marble

Check out my Blog www.RVTireSafety.Net

Have a tire question? Ask Roger on his RV Tires Forum here. It’s hosted by and moderated by Roger. He’ll be happy to help you.

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  1. I was lucky many years ago to be at a tire shop that was getting a new wheel balancer. I inquired as to what they were doing with their old one. Long story short, I ended up buying a John Bean Visubalancer for $100. It’s a super accurate spin balancer that never needs recalibration. In the 30+ years I’ve had it, besides balancing many tires, I’ve found a lot of bent wheels and other defects that will give you a rough ride. I’ve also found some brake drums to be extremely out of balance and added weights to the wheel to compensate for it. Now all of my vehicles ride silk smooth.

  2. Here’s a test for checking balance . After the mount and balance is all done with all the wheels. Put them back on the balancer and check them again. Chances are they won’t show a good balance. If they do show a good balance they were done on a good calibrated machine with a good operator.
    * if the operator doesn’t want to do this well you know why

    • There are a few downsides to using “beads” or other materials in the air chamber. Some tire companies will void their warranty if anything is introduced into the tire, so be sure to check this. Second, it is possible for the balance material to mask the vibration that is many times present when a belt separation is developing and growing in size in the tire structure. Also some internal balance material can damage a TPMS sensor. Just some points to consider.

  3. There was an earlier piece about tire indents and overlapping belts. So with my truck tires, all 4 were “perfect” – no indents – when they were balanced, no problem. I got my fronts a bit later, they had indents. Installed at the same place and balanced, they drove like I was crossing railroad tracks at highway speeds. Had them re-balanced at a different tire shop and the problem went away. I always have the trailer tires balanced but can only think that if they’re still out of balance then the trailers running down the road like it was running over railroad tracks. Only way to know for sure would be to take a short ride at highway speeds.

  4. I have always balanced trailer tires after the trailer turned dishes everywhere inside the cabinets from the vibration. If you have remote control mirrors on your tow vehicle adjust them so you can see your trailer tires as you drive, you’ll be amazed at how badly out of balance the trailer tires are. I had one several years ago that was so bad it was actually bouncing off the road. That was a new tire that had a manufacturing defect that was eventually replaced under warranty. Maybe you don’t keep a RV long enough to wear out tires, but just the reduction of vibration might keep it from vibrating to pieces while you own it. After spending all that money for it $40 seems like cheap insurance on your tires.

  5. There used to be an item that was attached to the tire axle that automatically balanced the tire as it rotated. Anyone know of such an attachment?

    • Centramatic makes balancing disc’s that mount behind the wheel/tire, it is used primarily on heavy duty trucks. They may make them that will work on trailers. They have a circular tube with a fluid and BB type weights inside that find the out of balance point and move to that position inside the tube. Works good on heavy trucks.

    • There are different brands. Centramatics seems to be a popular one. Just goes on the hub before the wheel or between duals.

    • Amsoil use to make such I’m not sure if they still do that’s be years when I sold Amsoil. My father had them on his work trucks and swore they were the best thing since sliced bread. More miles out of tires and kept all tires perfectly balanced.

  6. I had my TT tires balanced and have not noticed any difference or increase milage. But I do think it was a good idea since the Goodyear Endurance tires have sight vertical bulges around each tire. The dealer that sold me the TT sent me a memo from Goodyear that the tire are ok. When I questioned him on them.

  7. Always balance if you want the RV to last. Shaking down the road will pull staples out of the wall and prematurely wear out the suspension components.


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