How Long Can You Drive On Unbalanced Tires [Symptoms, Reasons & Risks]

You are always advised not to underestimate the importance of having balanced tires.

If you are used to driving on unbalanced tires, you will notice something good about having balanced tires. That is why you should always have the tires in good condition and still balanced.

However, what if you keep driving on unbalanced tires? What would happen? And, how long can you keep doing this?

Apparently, it is possible for you to keep driving with unbalanced tires, but only for a few months before it becomes unbearable.

Some people might ignore the early signs of unbalanced tires, but eventually, you end up with an undrivable car generally.

How Long You Can Drive on Unbalanced Tires

Now that you see the potential problems with driving on unbalanced tires, it is important to have them balanced before you can lead to more unnecessary damage.

Drive on Unbalanced Tires

The truth is, you can always drive on unbalanced tires until the car is no longer drivable. However, that should not take long. It takes an average of 2 to 3 months before you notice you have to get the tires balanced.

The degree to which the car is unbalanced would definitely be an important factor. In case it is a slight imbalance, it might go unnoticed even for years.

However, if the imbalance is too much, you might then notice there is a big problem with the car and the way it drives.

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Just because you see it is possible to drive with unbalanced tires, it does not mean you should always keep doing so.

It is best to consider having the tires balanced to prolong the driving performance of the tires. Replacing the tires every year is more expensive than just having the tires balanced.

As such, we do not recommend driving on unbalanced tires for more than two months. This could lead to more damage that you had not anticipated and which is totally avoidable.

Symptoms You Have Unbalanced Tires

Sometimes you might not even know that what you are experiencing is a problem until it becomes severe.

That can happen with unbalanced tires. So, what symptoms would alert you about the problem and how best can you handle them?

Here are the common symptoms of unbalanced tires

1. Steering wheel vibrations

One of the biggest symptoms of unbalanced tires is experiencing vibrations from the steering wheel. One thing about tire balancing is that a shift of weight by even an ounce can be noticeable through such vibrations.

The vibration is mostly noticed when you are driving at high speeds. If the balancing is badly off, you may notice that the shaking is too much.

Thus the reason you have to get the tires checked out and balanced whenever necessary.

You will also notice that there is an increase in the vibrations in case the unbalancing part is worsened.

It is best to have the car diagnosed and balanced to avoid several safety concerns.

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2. Experiencing steering problems

The steering wheel is definitely an important part of how you control the car. That is why you should always have it working properly.

Unbalanced tires can affect how smoothly you can control the steering wheel.

There are times you might experience delayed input that can be quite scary. Since you no longer control the steering wheel smoothly, you might end up in avoidable accidents.

3. Uneven tire wear

Having unbalanced tires is one of the reasons you may also experience uneven tire wear generally.

The uneven wear means you have to replace the tires a lot sooner than necessary. We all know how tires can be expensive when you have to replace them frequently.

The worst part is that you need to replace them in pairs.

Also, you risk having flat tires or blowouts because of this uneven wear. Such wear would also lead to tire cupping. As you can see, it is best to have balanced tires to avoid having to replace the tires too soon.

4. Poor fuel economy

This might not be something you notice right away, but it could generally happen with time. You may notice your vehicle consumes more fuel than it usually did.

This is because having unbalanced tires would mean more strain on the vehicle generally in terms of rolling resistance. The engine may have to work harder to keep pushing the car and now you end up using more fuel.

Also, having underinflated tires could lead to poor fuel economy. You are advised to check the tire pressure once every two weeks just to be sure it is still within the recommended range.

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If you notice a significant drop in tire pressure, investigate further to understand the problem.

5. More wear to the suspension parts

Having unbalanced tires would also affect the suspension part of the car. This includes the shocks, bearings, springs, and more.

We all know that it can be expensive to overhaul some cars’ suspension systems. That is not what you want when it is possible to avoid damage.

When you can have the balanced tires fixed in good time, then you will not have to replace some of these parts.

Here is a video with more tips on spotting unbalanced tires

YouTube video

Reasons You Have Unbalanced Tires

Unbalanced tires are no fun, but how can you prevent them from being an issue in the first place? This would only happen if you actually know what leads to unbalanced tires. Here are the reasons.

  • External Issues

There could be a problem with other parts of the car that makes the tires unbalanced. An example is when the car’s suspension is worn on one side than the other. It means that now you have unbalanced weight on the tires leading to this problem.

  • Your Driving Habits

Your driving habits might actually lead to more unbalanced tires. Let us say you often brake hard or do the same while accelerating. The result is that now you have massive tire wear which can also lead to unbalanced tires.

  • Hitting Curbs and Potholes

Each time you hit potholes or curbs, the balancing weights secured on the wheels can fall off. This means now you have unbalanced tires.

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It might be something you had not considered before, but it will generally affect how the tires remain balanced or not.

Below is a video on how the tires can be balanced for the best performance

YouTube video


Should you ignore unbalanced tires?

No. Doing this can generally lead to more risks in terms of tire failure. This includes uneven wear, blowouts, and more. So, have the tires balanced correctly always.

Is it expensive to balance tires?

The cost can vary from one company to another. Most tire balancing services will cost an average of $50.

Should you balance all four tires at once?

It is not a must, but it is highly recommended. This at least leaves you with the assurance you have a well-balanced car.

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