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Balancing: Compounds or Mechanical?

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This is a tough question, since both balancing compounds and mechanical balancing get the job done. It all boils down to past performance, value and the money it costs to drive thousands of miles – and how these factors combine for major and small fleets.

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Many fleets have turned to what appears to be the simplest solution for balancing a commercial tire: they throw a bag of balancing compound into a tire or inject it through the tire valve. At the same time there are many fleets (most) that swear by the results of mechanical balancing complete with wheel weights. The important thing to remember is that each method works.

Those who manufacture high density balancing compounds say the tire is continuously balanced. One maker says its balancing compounds work for the complete life of the tire because they readjust their position inside the tire as often as required.

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They further state these balancing compounds are not subject to road hazards and obstructions, since they’re inside the tire and will not fall off as lead balancing weights can. Compound makers promise the smoothest, most vibration-free ride possible.

Meanwhile, mechanical balancing manufacturers say their machines compute the true first harmonic assembly high spot. The machine then automatically positions this high spot to top dead center to be marked by the operator for future reference. One machine maker says its balancer automatically measures assembly diameter with every balance. With this information, techs can match dual wheels with similar diameter assemblies on common axles to improve tire life and prevent uneven wear and damage.

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Yet another company’s products are designed to reduce the rolling resistance of a tire by centering the wheels. This, says the company, decreases tire vibration, which decreases fuel costs and increases tire life by 50% or more.

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