What causes tires to go out of balance?
Your tires can go out of balance for a few reasons. Actually, they were never in balance to begin with. Tire balancing, where weights are installed on a wheel to offset imbalances in the tire (and wheel), is necessary any time you have a new tire installed. If one of the weights comes off of a wheel, your tire will no longer be in balance. A tire can also go out of balance if it wears unevenly (often due to a bad wheel alignment), if it gets damaged (from a pothole or curb), or if it gets too low on air.
Can I balance my own tires?
While it is technically possible to balance a tire at home, the process is more trial and error than a professional service that relies on a specially calibrated tire balance machine to do the job. A balancing machine designates precisely where and how much weight to attach to your wheel, to the ounce. That result is extremely difficult to reproduce with DIY equipment.
Is it safe to drive with unbalanced tires?
Tires that are out of balance might seem like little more than an annoyance with all of the vibration and shaking they produce. But over time, those unbalanced tires can cause damage. Tires that do not spin true will wear out faster. They also put undue stress on the struts, bearings, and other suspension components. Perhaps the greatest risk of unbalanced tires is that they do not perform as they should to remain in contact with the road, changing the dynamics of vehicle handling and safety.