Whether you’ve mounted and balanced tires for years or your shop is just starting to consider tire work as another revenue stream, there are some simple questions to ask yourself when mounting and balancing tires.
Does the tire include technology? These days, a lot of tires aren’t just tires—they’re mini-computers. Monitors in newer tires constantly measure the tire pressure and report it back to the Control Area Network (CAN). As a driver, this can definitely come in handy. As a tire tech, it’s one more thing to think about. So think about it—especially if the sensor is at the valve. Those are easily damaged while working on tires.
Are you working with a reverse mount wheel? These are becoming more and more common, so don’t fail to recognize reverse mounts. When you come across a set, use a reverse mount adapter. These will help you avoid scratching the wheel’s surface and inviting rust onto the rim.
Are you using the right amount of lubrication? Use lube when you’re removing the tire. And then use it again when you’re mounting it. Make sure you’re using the right amount, too. When you don’t use enough, you can obviously damage the tire and wheel. But if you use too much, you can create tire-to-wheel slippage—not to mention vibration problems.
Are you thinking about using an old wheel weight? Don’t. Seriously. Once you use a steel clip, it will never retain its grip like a new clip. That can lead to the clip falling off. And we all know what happens then—wheel vibration. So don’t cut corners or costs here. Use new wheel weights.
Are you mounting the assembly correctly? Even after you’ve pulled the assembly from the balancer, you have one more step before your job is done. You have to get the assembly back on the wheel. Torque it to the manufacturer’s specs so that you don’t let vibration become a problem. Because when vibration creeps in, your customers will creep back in, too—and they won’t be happy.
Is your shop safe? We saved the most important question for last. If the answer to this question is “no,” the other questions really don’t matter. Safety starts with a shop’s owner and manager. It has to become a part of the culture. There are incident and injury possibilities at every step of a tire job. Broken bones, deep gouges, head trauma—they’re all possible. More importantly, they’re all avoidable. Take a good look at your equipment and your processes. If you see anything that might produce an injury, change it.
Speaking of equipment, check out our line of wheel service equipment. From wheel balancers to tire changers to alignment systems, you’ll find practically everything you need for efficient and safe tire jobs.