Thinking of going tire shopping for your RV? Good for you. While you may be ready to invest in quality trailer tires, one of the biggest concerns on your mind might be whether your RV tires should be balanced.
In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know when it comes to balancing your trailer tires.
Do Trailer Tires Need to Be Balanced?
Yes, trailer tires need to be balanced because it doesn’t only protect the trailer from wear and tear but also ensures its longevity.
Even though the car tires always need to be balanced to ensure the comfort and smoothness of the ride, things are slightly different when it comes to trailers.
You might hear many RV owners or sellers saying that it is not crucial for trailer tires to be balanced. However, when it comes to your trailer, some extra security to ensure its longevity won’t hurt.
Moreover, you’d be surprised to find out that when the trailer tires aren’t balanced, several issues can arise. These issues can potentially compromise the safety of the towing experience of a trailer.
What Happens If a Trailer Tire Isn’t Balanced Correctly?
When the trailer tires aren’t balanced correctly, they may cause several issues. These problems can compromise your trailer’s integrity and cost you in the long run.
Here are a few problems that can arise if your trailer tires aren’t balanced correctly:
Vibration In the Steering Wheel
When the trailer tire wheels are unbalanced, it causes vibration in the steering wheel. This vibration may occur due to damage to the axles of your trailer.
Furthermore, this excessive vibration can cause more extensive damage by loosening the rivets, screws, and other minor yet essential parts of your trailer.
Premature Wear Of Tires
Unbalanced tires in your trailer can cause them to wear and tear prematurely. When the tires are unbalanced, they cause uneven tread on the tire.
This eventually leads to uneven stress distribution on the tires, forcing weaker areas to withstand greater compression.
When less durable areas of the tires withstand chronic stress, they wear out and shorten the life of the tires. Such tires are also at a higher risk of going flat or bursting while you’re traveling. This presents a greater risk of road traffic accidents and potential fatalities.
Damage to Your Axle Bearings
Axle bearings are an important component of a trailer and help maintain wheel alignment and keep it rotating at a normal pace. Unbalanced tires can cause excessive high-speed revolutions of the wheels.
These high-speed revolutions cause an uneven stress distribution on the axle bearings that are helping these wheels rotate. A long-standing pressure on the axle bearings can eventually damage them and affect their function.
Moreover, these high-speed revolutions cause the trailer to hop or move harshly on the road, damaging your vehicle greatly.
Excessive Heating Of Tires
Excessive heating is generally produced due to increased friction between tires and the road. This heating is incredibly damaging to the structural integrity of the tires.
Once the tires’ structural integrity is compromised, the tire’s longevity reduces.
In addition to tire damage, excessive heat production puts pressure on other systems, such as axle bearings. All these problems lead to a reduction in its longevity and a premature breakdown of your trailer.
Damage to Trailer Suspensions
Suspensions are an integral component of your trailer that primarily absorb and decrease the intensity of the shocks from road bumps.
When you drive a trailer with unbalanced tires, the trailer will vibrate excessively. This can damage the trailer suspensions.
These suspensions ensure that your ride is smooth and comfortable. However durable, even these suspensions have a limit for shock absorption, and they can get damaged when unbalanced tires cause your vehicle to vibrate vigorously.
Trailer Tires Would Blowout
As a result of the several effects, such as heating and damage to the axles and suspensions, the trailer tires are likely to get blown out.
The most common cause for tire blowouts is heat production due to underinflation of the tires. But you’ll be surprised to find out that tire blowouts are very common in trailers with unbalanced tires.
This mainly results from imbalanced stress and pressure on the tires, which leads them to expand beyond their limits and eventually get blown out.
Decreased Fuel Efficiency
Unbalanced tires can significantly decrease the fuel efficiency of your trailer. This occurs because the engine undergoes greater stress when you drive with unbalanced tires.
To overcome this stress, the engine has to work harder and requires more fuel to do so. Decreased fuel efficiency means you’ll have to spend a few extra bucks to keep your trailer up and running.
How Do You Know If Your Trailer Tires Aren’t Balanced?
Now that you know the importance of balancing your trailer’s tires, here are a few ways you can help check whether the trailer tires aren’t balanced.
Check For Vibration In the Steering Wheel
The most significant sign of unbalanced trailer tires is unusual steering wheel vibrations. As you drive, you will notice that these vibrations are continuous, and they will tend to get worse as you increase the speed of your vehicle.
Often, the rear tires may be unbalanced. This will extend the vibrations to the car floor and the car seats. This eventually results in a very uncomfortable ride and an overall unsafe towing experience.
Higher Fuel Consumption
Another way to check for an unbalanced tire is to observe the fuel consumption required by your trailer. When a trailer has unbalanced tires, the engine undergoes increased stress.
Your trailer will require more fuel to withstand this stress and work properly. This will affect the overall performance of your trailer’s engine.
3 Ways to Balance Your Trailer Tires
Tire balancing ensures that all your trailer wheels are moving at the same speed. The good news is that you can balance your trailer tires through relatively simple methods.
Mechanical Triangle Spinning
Mechanical triangle spinning is a suitable way to help balance your trailer tires. This method includes attaching the tires to a machine that spins them at very high speeds.
As the tires are spinning, this machine ensures that their spinning rate is the same and they’re rotating simultaneously at an equal pace.
With each rotation, a heavy mass is attached to both tires to observe and then remove any imbalance between them.
In this method, you will start by using a taping tool to determine the imbalance. In the taping method, you should place taping compounds along the tire’s circumference on each side.
If there is a tire imbalance, it would be indicated by a difference in weight on either side. Once the imbalance has been detected, it can be dealt with by adjusting the weights on either side.
Laser alignment is a modern technique recently introduced to balance the tires. The tire is spun at very high speeds underneath a laser beam in this method.
This laser beam is able to detect any differences in tire circumference. This process is mainly effective due to centrifugal forces pushing objects away from the midline.
Unbalanced trailer tires can cause a plethora of problems for your trailer. Besides decreasing the longevity of your trailer, they can damage the axles and suspensions and cause premature wear of the trailer tires.
To avoid these problems, you should check if your trailer tires are unbalanced and get them balanced immediately. Keep in mind that if you take good care of your vehicle, it’s gonna take good care of you. Happy traveling!