Despite a lot of talk you see on the Internet about ATV tires that can’t be balanced, the fact is they can and should be balanced. Tire and wheel assemblies should be balanced before they are used. Failure to do so will result in poor performance and accelerated tread wear. Wheels that are out of balance produce a vibration that can be felt through the steerer. This makes the ATV uncomfortable to drive and results in premature tire wear. Doing your own balancing saves you money and allows you to check tire balance periodically without going to a tire shop.
Things You'll Need
- Static wheel balancer or bubble balancer
- Assorted wheel weights
- Small hammer
- Flat-blade screwdriver
Place the balancer on a level work surface. Ensure that the air bubble is centered inside the dot. Consult the owner’s manual on how to adjust the balancer head so that you can center the bubble. Alternatively, you can place small shims such as washers under the base of the balancer to center the bubble. Double check that the bubble is centered before you put the wheel to be balanced on the balancer.
Inspect the tire to be balanced and use the screwdriver to remove any wheel weights that are on the wheel/tire assembly.
Place the wheel and tire assembly on the balancer. It is very important that you center the wheel hole onto the balancer head. Push up and down slightly on the wheel so that you ensure that the wheel is seated properly on the balancer.
Check the position of the bubble and add wheel weights opposite the heavy area of the wheel. The location where you need to add weights will be the side where the bubble is resting. If you need to add several grams, it is better add the weights on the outer and inner sides of the wheel. Use the hammer to tap gently on the weights after you have positioned them. If you use stick-on weights, make sure that the area you put the weights on is clean and dry.
Repeat Step 3 as necessary until the bubble is centered on the balancer. Note that if you have weights on opposite sides of the wheel, you have made a mistake and need to redo the steps.
Tips & Warnings
- The types of weights you will use will depend on the rims that your ATV has. Some ATV rims have lips where you can use clip-on weights while other rims should use stick-on weights.
- There are thin “racing” weights available that can be used to clear brake calipers or mud scrapers.
- If you use stick-on weights, it would be a good idea to tape them over with duct tape or packing tape. Although they will appear unsightly, this will help ensure that the weights will stay on in spite of being driven through mud or water.
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