Though shops may sometimes reuse the existing wheel weights to save a little money, this practice should be avoided.
“[Reusing used wheel weights] should never be done due to clip retention loss,” explains Parker. “Once a weight has been installed and removed, the retention in the original clip shape has been compromised and could cause weight failure.”
In this case, “failure” of what seems like a simple component can actually result in more severe consequences.
“It is common for the clip which secures the weight to the rim flange to become ‘sprung’ or loose during removal,” Coats Garage says. “Therefore, it is not recommended to reuse wheel weights, as they are more susceptible to slipping around the rim flange, or even coming off the wheel. A better practice is to use new weights correctly matched to application. The old weights should be recycled.”
St-Onge warns that tightening the clip may not be enough.
“Consequently, this practice is highly inadvisable as it can put the driver behind you in danger,” she says. “For instance, consider a spring that has been stretched too far and can no longer return to its original shape. The wheel weight reacts in the same way and can lose its retention force. This means that it may fail during normal use, thus becoming a hazard to drivers behind you and to the environment! Better to avoid all risk by using new wheel weights whenever balancing a wheel.”