5

Context: Up until now, I had only one set of rims and 2 sets of tires (summer/winter). Every season change, I went to a shop to install the tires on the same rims. This always included balancing.

This winter, I've purchased a second set of rims with a new set of winter tires. I'm now about to switch back to the summer tires. So, changing would be: take the whole wheels with the winter tires out and put back the other whole wheels with summer tires.

Question: Does the shop need to do the balancing on the summer wheels again before installing them? It was done when the tires were installed on the rim 12 months ago.

Other info:

  • summer rims are aluminum (winter are steel).
  • over the winter (aprox 5 months), I've kept the wheels on a rack looking like this
  • As long as you did not have the tires removed from the rims after balancing then there should be zero issues with re-installing the entire wheel (rim+tire) on your car. If you happen to be in a situation where your old wheel is the proper size for another car then you can happily install it on the other car without balancing as well. – MonkeyZeus Apr 29 at 13:15
  • Tires aren't perfect and wheels aren't perfect. Once you've stuck them together, balacing compensates for both imperfections, adjusting the center of mass to the middle of the rotation axis. Once this is done, as long as the weights remain intact, it does not need to be done again unless the tire and wheel are taken apart again. – J... Apr 29 at 14:15
  • 1
    Define "necessary", you would never NEED to balance tires to drive for example. Your tires will wear oddly and your suspension components will get beat up a little bit. I do 600 mile trips at 85mph every other month, I balance and align OFTEN because it makes a meaningful impact on my maintenance costs. Up to you but I would balance every time rubber is switched on a wheel at minimum. – DJSpud Apr 29 at 18:41
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No, you don't have to balance the summer wheels again.

I have two sets (winter & summer) and swap them over with no issues.

The only time you need to get balancing re-done is when you have new tires fitted (I'm due for two summer this time) or if the weights get knocked off.

3

I will disagree with previous answers, but would also like to add that you would actually feel the answer to this question yourself.

A tyre loses it's tread over mileage and, as it is not a perfectly uniform material, it might need to be rebalanced to compensate for the changes in it's weight distribution. Some cars are known for very sensitive steering feedback, and will simply start shaking slightly if the wheel gets unbalanced over mileage.

As en example - I have a car that is known for being sensitive to wheel balance, with additional stiffening added to the suspension, and the steering wheel will usually start shaking slightly at highway speeds at the end of the season, which is usually around 10000km for me.

If there are no symptomps of that, you are perfecly fine with just swapping them without balancing.

  • "I have a car that is known for being sensitive to wheel balance" - Make, model, other vitals? – bishop Apr 29 at 17:34
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    While it's quite true that a wheel/tire combination's balance can change over time due to wear, that's a change that is totally independent of swapping complete wheel/tire combinations between summer and winter. In other words, if the wheels/tires were previously balanced, and they rode/drove just fine when you took them off, they're fine to mount now without re-balancing. They did not change when they were sitting on the rack all winter. However, if you noticed balance problems back in the fall when you took them off, then yes - you should get them balanced now. – dwizum Apr 29 at 18:02
  • @bishop I don't think that matters very much, but it is a '00 Mazda MX-5, with a couple of polyurethane bushings mounted in place of the ones that worn down (the steering rack too), but even on stock bushings you could feel when the wheels were getting inbalanced and re-balancing them always solved the shaking. – Rachey Apr 29 at 18:44

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