Questions & Answers about changing tires, balancing wheels, removing adhesive weights and changing car valves.

Tire change

Questions upon questions often arise when it comes to the topic of a tire change. The correct procedure for a tire change including balancing and changing valves is an essential part of a workshop's skill set. Find out what causes a steering wheel to wobble, when tire changes are necessary and why your car tire loses air here in our FAQs!

As soon as temperatures drop, summer tires do not perform as well as during warmer climate. The same applies to winter tires when temperatures rise during the summer months. This causes a significant increase in the risk of accidents for drivers and fellow road users. Consequently, most drivers should have their car undergo a tire change at least twice a year! But did you know that there is a clear difference between the terms "wheel change" and "tire change"? Whereas a workshop carries out a complete change of the tire and rim when changing a wheel, a tire change involves removing the rubber from the steel or aluminium rim. At the same time, the valve and, if necessary, the pre-existing tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) are replaced. Whenever a tire is changed, possible imbalances need to be checked, and, if necessary, corrected with counterweights before the entire wheel is fitted to the vehicle. 

Your (new) tyres were just changed, but the wheels do not run smoothly and the steering wheel shakes when driving at higher speed? A steering wheel shakes when driving at high velocity if the wheel weights are not correctly balanced out after a tyre change. A simple rebalancing of the tyres can already be the solution to a shaking steering wheel . However, an imbalance of the tyres is not the only possible cause.

In case that repeated readjusting of balancing weights does not solve the problem of a shaking steering wheel, a so-called radial runout can trigger the vibration while driving. This can occur when tyres lock up during emergency braking or when your tyres hit a curb at high speed.

Improper storage and transport errors can also promote the radial run of a steering wheel. It is crucial to examine rims more closely when there is a problem with a shaking steering wheel. Rims are prone to lose balance. It helps to readjust the position of the wheel on the rim to cancel out imbalances and thus to steady the steering wheel. In most cases, this eliminates the annoying steering wheel flutter.

Radial runouts cannot always be detected by a balancer. Therefore, sometimes the only way to detect a defect is by test-driving the vehicle and thus to deduce the origin of a shaking steering wheel.

The regular checking of tyre pressure is of great importance for road safety. So much for theory - but how often is the air pressure in the tyres checked in practice? For the vast majority of drivers, workshops measure the tyre pressure only twice a year, along with changing tyres and checking for imbalances. When a tyre loses air, it often happens gradually and only detected when the air pressure reaches the minimum amount. A tyre can keep losing air due to the following factors:

Damage or hairline cracks in the rim can cause the loss of tyre pressure. Often, however, the cause lies with the tyre valve:

  • The valve is defective:
    Air escapes slowly from the wheel when the valve is defective, or the valve cap was inadvertently not closed correctly during the last tyre inflation at the gas station
  • The valve is not positioned correctly:
    The tyre loses air when after changing a tyre the valve is not put correctly on the opening of the rim

TIP: Whether the source of the error is the valve can be determined quite easily with the help of a spray bottle and a little detergent. Spray tyre, rim and, valve generously. Bubbles forming around the area of concern are an indicator that the tyre keeps losing air.

  • Valve is blocked by contamination: Even small stones or grains of dust blocking the valve can cause tyre pressure loss.

TIP: By pressing the valve pin several times, the air escapes at high pressure. With a little luck, this will blow the dust grains out of the valve. After inflating the tyre with the suggested air pressure, there should be nothing to prevent you from continuing your journey safely!

Wheel imbalance

Why do I need to balance my tires? It is a commonly asked question among drivers when changing their tires. The answer is quite clear: Yes! No matter whether it is a static or dynamic imbalance: A wheel imbalance and the resulting consequences in regards to safety and driving comfort should not be underestimated.

In the FAQ section on balancing tires we want to answer frequently asked questions. Why do you have to balance tires? What happens if you do not balance tires and what does wheel imbalance actually mean? You will find the answers and much more information about balancing tires here.

... strictly speaking you balance the entyre wheel (tyre + rim) and not only the tyre? Nevertheless, it is common to talk about "tyre balancing" – just like "changing the tyre" usually refers to the entyre wheel.

A wheel imbalance occurs when the axis of rotation does not correspond to one of the main axes of inertia. What does wheel imbalance mean? A wheel imbalance is an uneven distribution of the weight of the tyre around the center axis that causes the tyre not to rotate symmetrically without further adjustment, and the vehicle, therefore, runs non-circular. Wheel imbalances are a common problem. The valve alone can lead to a wheel imbalance when changing the car valve.

A wheel imbalance is caused by wear and tear in everyday situations such as potholes, heavy braking or curb bumping. A reason for sudden wheel imbalances could also be due to lost balancing weights that fell off the rim and were not replaced.

A wheel imbalance is noticeable by the following signs:

  • the steering wheel flutters or vibrates
  • strange noises at high speeds
  • vibrations in the interior at higher speeds
  • the tyres have a different profile depth

Dynamic imbalance is only detectable when in motion and is caused by two essential factors – the in- and outside of the rim. As a result, forces act in two different directions and the wheel begins to wobble.

Dynamic imbalance can only be detected by using a balancing machine.

When speaking of static imbalance, the wheel does not wobble as with dynamic imbalance, but it jumps. A balanced tyre, which can rotate freely on a horizontal axis, should be able to stop in any position. However, if the wheel does not rotate on a horizontal axis, but in an uneven way due to unequal weight distribution, there is a static imbalance.

The term tyre balancing refers to the correction of an imbalance of a tyre. Attaching counterweights eliminates the uneven distribution of the tyre weight. This so-called tyre balancing allows the tyre to run smoothly.

Tyre balancing is important: for safety, for your wallet and for driving comfort! At a speed of 63 mph, an imbalance of ten grams has the effect of 2.5 kg due to the centrifugal force. What is the result of this? The steering wheel flutters and the car is harder to steer. In addition, the tyres and wheel bearings are subject to a lot of stress, which increases damage and repair costs. Regular tyre balancing is essential to prolong the life of tyres and to avoid wear, vibrations and annoying noises.

In summary: Tyre balancing is important for…

  • higher safety due to a shorter braking distance and optimal functioning of ABS and ESP
  • more driving comfort by avoiding vibrations at the steering wheel and in the interior
  • less wear and repair costs due to less stress on tyres and wheel suspension

Tyre balancing requires a special machine - a wheel balancing machine. Therefore, tyre balancing is only possible in the car workshop. The wheel is clamped in the machine and the machine initiates the rotation of the wheel. The wheel balancing machine uses sensors to determine if and where an imbalance occurs and how large it is. Counterweights, so-called balancing weights, are then attached to the rim to correct the imbalance and ensure that the wheel runs round and smoothly. The balancing machine shows where exactly these weights are to be attached for tyre balancing. How to remove balancing weights, such as adhesive weights, can be found in our FAQ section on removing adhesive weights.

In addition to this so-called static balancing, where the wheel is removed from the vehicle, dynamic balancing is another alternative. It is an electronic fine balancing process in which the rotation of the wheel is tested directly on the vehicle for further imbalances. Reasons for the need to balance the tyres again can be brake discs, brake drums or wheel hubs, which are not investigated during static balancing.

When changing seasonal tyres, the tyres should be regularly checked for imbalances due to everyday wear and rebalanced if necessary. "tyre balancing" is often included in workshop services.

In any case, you should balance your tyres when the first signs of imbalances appear. When the steering wheel begins to flutter or you feel vibrations when driving, you should have your wheels checked. 

Attaching and removing adhesive weights 

It is easy to attach adhesive weights to a rim, but it is not so easy to remove them from the rim without leaving any residue. There are different ways to remove adhesive weights.

Which tools do I use to remove adhesive weights or to remove stubborn adhesive residues from the rim? What are the reasons that my adhesive weights do not stick to the rim? Below you will find the answers to frequently asked questions about attaching and removing adhesive weights.

You want to balance tires or change a valve? Just click on the link and learn more about the respective topic!

A prerequisite for the professional installation of adhesive weights is the selection of the correct position on the rim.

  • The rim tilt must not exceed a slope of 15 degrees (axial direction) in any case.
  • The weight adhesive can only develop when the surface energy is high enough to form a chemical bond. It should be at least 32nN/m.
  • During the bonding process, the processing temperature should be between 10 and 30°C.
  • The ideal processing temperature is between 16 and 25°C (please maintain a constant temperature for the storage of adhesive weights).
  • Treat the surface with a cleaning agent that is compatible with the paint (e.g. Isopropanol 70%). At the selected position for the adhesive weight, the surface of the rim must be dry and free of grease, silicone and dust. On the surface to be adhered to, you must also remove any residue of prior adhesive weights.

Mounting the adhesive weight

  1. Choose the right amount of adhesive for your wheel. Carefully bend the adhesive weight (with protective film) forward along the radius of the rim. The adhesive weight should be bent slightly further than the rim radius. Remove protective cover from the adhesive. Make sure not to touch the adhesive area.
  2. Glue the weight parallel to the edge of the rim at the intended position.
  3. Press the adhesive weight onto the rim with a pressure of at least 10N/cm². Start in the middle and slowly move outwards.

Removing adhesive weights often does not work without leaving residue on the rim. Getting the rim free of dirt and stubborn adhesive residues is often not easy. To avoid the use of environmentally harmful and aggressive cleaning agents or adhesive residue removers, there are specially designed tools that make it easier to remove the adhesive weight without damaging the rim or harming the environment. The following options can help you do this:

  • Adhesive residue removers are often available as sprays. It is important to ensure that the agent does not attack rubber and metals and is biodegradable.
  • With a scraper, you can not only remove adhesive residues on the aluminum rim, but also sealant and paint residues.
  • A rubber eraser is the best way to remove brake flanks and adhesive residues from the rim. Before doing so, check whether the rubber eraser is also suitable for carbon rims.
  • Rubber eraser discs are also ideal for removing dirt and adhesive residues from rims.

There are many reasons why adhesive weights do not stick reliably to a rim:

  • The temperature range during the application of adhesive weights on the rim should not fall below 16° C. Below this limit, the adhesive cannot work properly and the adhesive weights can not properly attach to the rim.
  • For the adhesive to chemically bond with the surface of the rim, it is necessary to exert sufficient pressure on the adhesive tape for several seconds.
  • Before applying an adhesive weight, it is also necessary to ensure that the surface is free of grease, silicone and dust. Cleaning agents with isopropanol are ideal for this purpose.
  • The surface energy can vary depending on the density of the ink and varnish. Only if the surface energy level is high enough can the adhesive attach to the rim.
  • The adhesive on the weight can only develop reliably if the surface energy is high enough for a chemical bond. It should be at least 32nN/m.

Change car valve

Your tire loses air, but you can not find a leak? Have you ever thought about changing the car valve? Replacing the car valve is an often neglected yet essential simple task, although it is of enormous importance for driving safety. Check out our FAQ section to learn more about how to change a valve on a car tire, why valves are so crucial, and more on how to change tire valves.

A flat tire can have various causes. The tire can lose air due to abrasion, but also due to a hole caused by a foreign body disrupting the material. Another possibility would be a crack in the rim or it could be due to the valve. You should change your car valve when the car valve’s cap is missing or when the car valve is defective or broken.

Tyre valves undergo constant high levels of pressure. It is crucial to change the car valve when it is defective. Not enough pressure on tyres can lead to a dangerous extension of the braking distance by up to 70% on wet grounds and thus represents an enormous safety hazard. Loss of control or burst tyres are also possible consequences of the loss of pressure. In addition to the safety aspect, there is also an monetary aspect that underlines the importance to change the valve of car tyres regularly. Flat tyres lead to increased wear on the car and increased fuel consumption. Regular checking of the car tyres, changing the tyre valves and adjusting the air pressure is therefore of utmost importance.

A good time to have the tyres checked and the tyre valve changed is the seasonal tyre change. Maintenance procedures - just like balancing the tyres – are most of the time already included in this service. In general, however, how often a tyre valve has to be changed also depends on the type of valve used. While reinforced metal valves have a very long service life and should be replaced earliest after two seasons, the recommended period to change rubber valves is every six months. However, if the valve is defective or leaking before that time, you must act immediately to have the tyre valve changed.
In general, however, you should check your tyres regularly and especially before long journeys. Check the valves for external damage and check whether a protective cap is present. Is there enough air pressure in your tyres? Are all balancing weights still there? In case the answer to these questions is yes, you are good to go to have a safe ride.

The tyre is losing air. What is the cause for that? Is there a hole in the tyre or do I need to change the tyre valve? There's a little trick you can do to find out. Mount the tyre on a car jack and spray the tyre with a spray bottle containing a mix of water and a few drops of detergent. Bubbles emerge if there is a hole. Otherwise, it is probably due to the valve. Then the car valve needs to be changed.

Can a tyre be repaired? Yes. Can you change a tyre valve yourself? Probably not. Changing the tyre valve can be difficult. In addition, the valve is very important for driving safety, so it is important to have a specialist carry out the change of the tyre valve.

The protective cap is an important part of the valve. When the cap is missing, you should replace the tyre valve by buying a new one. Protective caps on valves prevent dirt, liquids and other contaminants ingressing the tyre. Dirt particles clog the valve and cause it to leak, resulting in a loss of pressure in the tyre. Drivers should therefore regularly check the protective cap and change the tyre valve if necessary.

Many drivers wonder whether you should switch to hidden tyre valves when a change in tyre valves is due. These are becoming increasingly popular: they look better and also offer better protection. Hidden tyre valves are broader and flatter and have shorter tubes so that they do not protrude beyond the rim protection strip. As a result, the hidden valves cannot be damaged or torn off so easily. However, this type of valve is much more expensive and replacement is more difficult and time-consuming. Therefore it is up to each individual to decide whether or not to change to hidden tyre valves.

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