New tires and always a balancing issue @ Discount Tire

Messages
1,498
Location
Ruidoso, NM USA
Problems with “road force” balancing are not new to me. The local dealer has this machine and charges a premium for it, but the high school dropouts he hires have no clue how to use it correctly to minimize tire balance issues.

Another shop put new tires on my BMW M Coupe. He measured each wheels runout before attempting to mount the tires...he DID understand the advantages of the machine.
 
Messages
1,531
Location
iowa
The other thing about RF balancers I've wondered about, since I own and know how to use one is, that the load roller is only 10 inches diameter.
But the Earth and the roads are a whopping 7,917.5 miles, which is what the tire sees in real life. Along with all of the bumps.
 
Messages
27,568
Location
PNW
The other thing about RF balancers I've wondered about, since I own and know how to use one is, that the load roller is only 10 inches diameter.
But the Earth and the roads are a whopping 7,917.5 miles, which is what the tire sees in real life. Along with all of the bumps.
It's purpose is to measure non-uniformity in the construction of the tire. If it measures a spot in the tire under a constant roller load that is different than the rest of the tire, then it's done it's job.
 
Messages
36,475
Location
ME
My sense is that most tire installers are typically younger and don't get the experience or don't have the work ethic to do a good job or don't care to.
Try going to a shop that doesn't pay their guys flat rate, and doesn't under-staff with cars waiting so the guys are running around the whole shift. Everyone wants "discount" service until it's not as good as excellent service.
 
Messages
1,531
Location
iowa
A lot of times balancing issues can come from just how the wheel is mounted to the balancer. I have over $2k in cones, and pin plates, and then somebody like GM comes up with a new bolt pattern that none of that works on. Check out this site for what you have to deal with balancing tires.
 
Messages
703
Location
Arizona
Had DT re-balance my Miata four times a few years back... "Micro-balance" they called it. They just couldn't get it right.

( If you know the Miata, it's a light car and very sensitive to even the smallest balancing issues.) Anyhow... I went to another DT and let them take a shot at it...

Nailed it! Zero shimmy and drove like a dream all the way to 100mph.

End result - Went back to the original DT to complain and manager finally admitted their balancing machine had not been "calibrated" in some time and was found to be "off"...

Hmmmmm.... So, the moral of the story is: Don't give up! It may not be an issue with the tires but entirely the equipment and technicians that operate the machines.
 

GMBoy

Thread starter
Messages
8,595
Location
Texas
Everyone makes mistakes, but from my experience around here I'd bet on Discount getting it right over most other tire places.. Also all my store does now is the roadforce balancing.

I'm curious how you like the Cooper Discover HT Plus's on your Ram.. I've been considering them. I like that they have the XL rating, but have been somewhat concerned that they don't have any sort of treadwear warranty.
You are probably right and I will continue to be a DT customer as I've been for so long. I was very hesitant to purchase the tires as well because of the no treadwear warranty. But so far I really like them, they are quiet and handle well. They also look great. The price point was what allowed me to get over the no warranty part. I paid $565 out the door or 4 of them....that did include the treadwear warranty from the old tires. I have the Limited model with 20" tires. Without the warranty discount it would have been about 700 so I am ok with these tires and no treadwear warranty. They will be the 1st tires I purchased w/o them. I think you will like them. I tow pretty frequently but have not yet towed with these. I have just over 400 miles on them and put them thru a hard rain storm and they performed fine. If you are still concerned about the tread warranty, the regular HT still has a treadwear warranty just not the HT Plus in my case. I think if I can get 50k miles out of them I will be satisfied but I got a feeling that they may only be good for 40k....time will tell.
 
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Messages
13,305
Location
ROCHESTER, NY
I agree with both of you and while sitting at the glass watching them work it looked more like a Nascar pitstop. They really go too fast. I can wait another 20 min or so for my tires to be correct the 1st time.
I too can wait that extra time for a shop to do it right. However, the shop doesn't want every customer next in line waiting that extra time to have their vehicle to come into the shop. The shop can't make the money they need(under pressure by the owner) to pay their overhead. And a high percentage of the work does get done correctly by working that way.

Other than installing tires and a few other items that I may not have the specific tools or torches for, I prefer to do my own work on my vehicles. I am one of those guys that brings back my vehicle for things not done right and many do not. They may just go to another shop the next time.
 
Messages
1,487
Location
USA
I've always had great results with Discount Tire. Never had any out of balance issues. I did have a set of Pirelli tires only last 50% of the claimed mileage. Discount Tire easily pro-rated the price and I ended up with a set of Michelins that were great. Maybe it's that location?
 
Messages
3,941
Location
Somewhere in the US
The other thing about RF balancers I've wondered about, since I own and know how to use one is, that the load roller is only 10 inches diameter.
But the Earth and the roads are a whopping 7,917.5 miles, which is what the tire sees in real life. Along with all of the bumps.
This is a real problem because you can get both False Positives and False Negatives.

False Positives are tires that measure low, but are, in fact, high. This can make diagnosing a vibration very difficult as the only clue you have is the vibration. Everything else measures OK.

False Negatives are tires that measure high, but are, in fact, low. This is why some tire manufacturers will not accept warranty returns when the only symptom is a high RoadForce value. That may be what the OP is about - a shop that knows that measuring the RF doesn't guarantee a vibration free ride, and they need to verify there is a vibration before they return the tire to the manufacturer for credit - so they just put the tire on and deal with the situation when the customer returns.

So how do tire manufacturers deal with this? First, they have much more sophisticated, accurate, and faster machines called Tire Uniformity Graders (TUG's) These machines have 36" diameter wheels and only measure tire uniformity and can, in less than 60 seconds, measure the uniformity and conicity, and cull off tires above certain values. Because of the larger wheel, the values they get are closer to the actual values experienced by the vehicle. That should really reduce the amount of false readings.

But the bigger problem is that Hunter builds in some preselected maximums into the software. We know that certain vehicles are more sensitive than the preselects - like the Miata example above. We also know that some vehicles are less sensitive than the preselects, so using the machine to sort tires isn't such a good idea.
 
Messages
920
Location
South Carolina
Seems to be quite a few out of round problems on the forums the last year or two with Cooper tires.
Not just Coopers. I had similar balance issues with Yokohama and Bridgestone, at three different DT stores in my former location. The new DT store near my current home gets it right every time.
 
Messages
2,780
Location
NYC
I've had a similar balancing experience at a Mavis Tire. They also lied about performing an alignment. I didn't feel any need for the alignment but since I was getting new tires, I figured why not. Once I got the car back and realized something wasn't right, I slid underneath to take a look. There was not one "tool" mark or scratch on any of the adjusting nuts. When I went back to complain, the counter guy said it is possible that there would be no marks. I claimed BS. I had put a wrench on my other car as if to adjust a tie rod and a mark showed up before the nut even moved. They offered to re-do the alignment but wouldn't budge on a refund. I didn't want them touching my car at this point since the discussion had gotten a little heated so I just went elsewhere and had the tires re-balanced. According to that shop, the wheel weights had been put on the exact opposite side of the tires from where they should have been placed. Mistake or sabotage? Anyways, problem solved, lesson learned. Filled out the on-line survey but never received a followup from Mavis.
I've heard nothing but bad things about Mavis discount tire
I'd have disputed it on my credit card
If I don't get the goods or services I paid for, you don't get my money
They seem to be expanding here in the Northeast, but their pricing seems sky high for middle of the road tires
 
Messages
883
Location
Kansas
Not just Coopers. I had similar balance issues with Yokohama and Bridgestone, at three different DT stores in my former location. The new DT store near my current home gets it right every time.
The Bridgestone OOR has been known for quite a few years now, since I last owned my Sonoma, which would have been 2008-2009.
 
Messages
74
Location
NJ
I've heard nothing but bad things about Mavis discount tire
I'd have disputed it on my credit card
If I don't get the goods or services I paid for, you don't get my money
They seem to be expanding here in the Northeast, but their pricing seems sky high for middle of the road tires
You are absolutely right and I don't know why I didn't do that. I have done it in the past, and with success I might add. If nothing else I could have "threatened" Mavis with that and seen how they responded. I went there because I needed service on a Sunday and they were available. Usually I would go to ETD but they don't do Sundays. Oh well, live and learn. Now I just hope that maybe spreading the word on this forum, facebook and among my circle of friends might cost Mavis some business.
 
Messages
289
Location
MN
I stopped using my local discount tire a couple years ago. I use to install tires so I know what It takes. When I first started using them 15+ years ago I was impressed and kept going back. I was impressed enough I referred friends and family to them. Then something changed at my DT starting about 5-7 years ago.

The straws that broke the camels back for why I wont go back.

They broke wheel studs off my mom's car on more than one occasion and allowed the car to leave the shop with missing lugnuts because they don't install wheel studs.

I had 4 new tires mounted on my civic about 5 years ago, it became apparent when I left the shop the tire balance was way off. I brought it back in for a rebalance and the "tech" rather than pulling the old weights off like you are supposed to do, simply added more weights to the rim. This still didn't correct the issue. I then assumed either bent rims or out of round tires and brought the car somewhere else for a road force balance.

As it turns out, no bent rims, no out of round tires, simply a bad balance. The 2nd shop was able to balance the tires, with less weight, and havn't had an issue with them since.

I will not use DT again, at least not the one local to me. It's funny others have noticed an issue across the board though.
 
Messages
14,640
Location
The Old North State
Perhaps I've been lucky for ~17 years buying from/using DT, never had to go back for balance/rebalance issue that was DT fault. (Had a bent steelie once that vibrated after a balance when put on front, but not thier fault) That said, for me they would have have to mess up far more than having a rebalance to lose me as customer. They've warranted OE/factory tires a few times on tires that have gotten punctures in a non repairable area. Prorated price of course, but still significantly less than full price for new one. Just asked nicely. I don't know many places including the vehicle dealer that will do that.

I've never required 'road force' balance on my tires, new tires or otherwise. Just standard DT balance. Perhaps lucky there too, IDK. I see some say all they do now is RF, news to me. Have to ask at next rotation and balance. I know they have long had at least on RF balance machine, at least this area.

And their free 78% N tire inflation has never given me a problem. Works great. :)

As nwjones said (paraphrase), mistakes can happen. If the bad outweighs the good consistently, shop elsewhere. Lots of tire shops.
 
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Messages
2,874
Location
pa
interesting! never seen but heard of road force balancing. i but the tyres i want at the best price, usually mail order + my honest local indy removes them from vehicle, mounts + balances + reinstalls them $10 EA never any issues with his 0lder simple machine! he gets ALL my work that i dont do.
 
Messages
863
Location
Daytona Beach
The other thing about RF balancers I've wondered about, since I own and know how to use one is, that the load roller is only 10 inches diameter.
But the Earth and the roads are a whopping 7,917.5 miles, which is what the tire sees in real life. Along with all of the bumps.
Now I'm really confused:
Level.jpg
 
Messages
1,563
Location
Texas, USA
Getting a set of tires installed on my new Focus wheels today. I've thoroughly cleaned the insides of the barrels, and wiped them down with alcohol. Hopefully the weights stick this time. The last 2 times.....no so much. Since the wheels & tires won't be mounted on the car until I mount them, I may utilize my hair dryer to 'set' them.
 
Messages
1,531
Location
iowa
Unless the barrel of the wheel is really nasty, I have found 91% rubbing alcohol to be the best prep for tape weights. Much safer than the nasty brake cleaner I used for many years, which works better if they are greasy. Some wheels need a little sanding to clean up for tape weights. I love working on clean wheels. Nasty dirty ones not so much. My least favorite are wheels that are driven on gravel roads with an inch of dirt on them. Especially in the winter. Clean wheels will always have more care when working on them, since the tech doesn't have to spend the extra time it takes to deal with neglect.
 
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