View Full Version : Do automatic onboard wheel balancers really work?

07-03-2004, 10:24 AM
Just saw a writeup (by the mfr) of the Centramatic automatic wheel balancer. This is some kind of disc that mounts on the studs just behind the rim. Supposedly it contains internal weights in its rim that smooth out the wheel balancing on the road. I would think if these things really work they would be used a lot more than I think they are.

Has anyone tried these things? Experiences?


07-03-2004, 03:04 PM
I read somewhere recently that some 18 wheelers run with a small amount of antifreeze inside the tires for the purpose of balancing the wheel. Sounds a little goofy, but it may be so.

Bob Pasternak
07-03-2004, 06:22 PM
I've never heard of the anti-freeze thing but there are (or were) several types of fasten-on balancers. The best one I've come in contact with was a circular plastic tube that had about 7 1" or 1 1/2" balls inside and a fluid with about the viscosity of 10 weight oil. The balls presumably moved to the balancing point when you got up a certain amount of speed. I drove the truck about 8 months between Chicago and Secaucus, NJ: Toll roads all the way and never had a problem. This was back in 1967 that I had those on a Kenworth COE with torsion bar suspension. Also, keep in mind these were 20" wheels.

07-04-2004, 08:23 AM
Do you know if there was a balance problem prior to installation of those discs? I was thinking about having the Montana wheels balanced but maybe if they work and are not super expensive I'd go with the discs. I've already had two tire failures and each one would have meant paying for a rebalancing so I'm thinking if these work they might be worthwhile.

Anyone else have experience with these things.

Thanks to both of you for the info. The antifreeze idea is interesting. Wonder how they got it in the tire in the first place. Under pressure through the valve I guess.

Bob Pasternak
07-04-2004, 09:15 AM
Steve, breaking the bead loose on one side and pouring in the anti-freeze would be the logical way. With the wheel laying flat of course. Then you squirt a little ether in it, throw a match at it and the bead is reseated. :-) Of course, if you use too much ether, the only thing that will be left, besides the ringing in your ears, is the beads.

07-04-2004, 10:39 AM
The problems we've had with (two) defective Goodyear tires, I'd imagine if they found antifreeze or any foreign substance in the tire they'd deny all responsibility. I may just have them balanced but am interested in the automatic balancers if they do in fact work. I hate to buy them and not be sure they work. But if they do work, in the long run they might be worthwhile, depending on cost.

I'll pass on the ether and match approach, Bob! Thanks anyhow.

NJ Hillbilly
07-05-2004, 02:39 PM
They are not that cheap(IIRC), they do work. The principle is a sound one, but I don't feel it's worth the money in our application. On an over the road truck running very expensive rubber, keeping a perfect balance will help tire life along with the life of suspension and other components. We tend to have tires rot away before they wear out.

Who rotates their trailer tires with the zeal thet they rotate truck tires. They would benefit by getting swapped from one axle to another yet I have never heard of anyone doing this.


07-05-2004, 03:26 PM
I haven't checked out prices but that's probably why they're not heavily in use in non-commercial applications. You're right about rotation, too. I just had the truck tires rotated but never bother on the Montana.