What is Wheel Runout?

With the exception of an off-roading adventure, nobody wants a bumpy ride. If you are experiencing irregular vibrations as your wheels are turning, you may have a wheel runout problem.

There are two different types of tire and wheel runout. Radial runout occurs when the tire radius is not consistent from the midpoint of the wheel to any point on the rim. This type of runout creates a “hop” or “bounce” in your wheel rotation. Lateral wheel runout refers to how much a wheel or tire “wobbles” as it rotates. This unbalanced distribution of weight can cause vibrations or premature wear on your tires.

Several different factors can cause excessive wheel runout, including rim, wheel and tire mounting. Improper seating can also cause balance issues. The bead seating ring helps to make visual inspections easier. If the bead is not properly lubricated, it will not slip around as easily on the rim, causing improper mounting.

How do you diagnose wheel runout? First, look for flat-spotting in your tires after your vehicle has been sitting for over 15 minutes. If you have identified flat-spotting, you can use a tire run-out gage or dial indicator to confirm a balance issue.

Now that you have diagnosed the problem, how do you fix it? You can balance a wheel either statically or dynamically. Adding wheel weights can help to adjust the static balance of a wheel, fixing the “bounce.” Dynamically balancing a wheel will fix the “wobble.” If the wheel of your vehicle is dynamically balanced, it will also be statically balanced. However, the opposite does not apply.

If you are experiencing an imbalance problem, whether it be radial runout or lateral runout, be sure to address it immediately. For additional questions about your wheels, click here to speak with one of our experts.

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