Would a tire tech balance tires with old weights still attached

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Oct 11, 2021
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So I just ordered a new SUV (brand new 4Runner) a few months ago.

Instead of keeping the OEM tires, I told them to take those off, put some Michelin X-Ice on the stock rims, then order me some of the TRD rims with Michelin AT2 tires for the warmer months. No problem.

I happened to be driving by the dealer yesterday (closed) and noticed a 4Runner just like what I ordered parked out back. So I pulled in to take a look. Sure enough it’s mine, they must have got it in last week and are prepping it for delivery. It already had the winter tires on and the other wheels were visible in the trunk.

Now I happened to look at the winter wheels and noticed something weird. 2 of the wheels had 2 separate sets of balancing weights stuck to the rim. For example one wheel had one set of weights marked 5 Fe (about 8 of these), then about 1/4 way around the wheel had 3 more marked 1/4oz. These were both at the “front” of the rim close to the spokes, I am not talking about dynamic balanced where one is at the front and ones at the back, I couldn’t see what they had at the back of the wheel.

What it looked like to me, is the ones marked 5fe were original on the wheel from the factory, and they mounted the new tire with those on and balanced it by adding even more weight (aka “counterbalanced”).

On the other 2 wheels you could see the residue where they actually took the original weights off.

From my basic understanding of wheel balancing the weights should always be stuck in one spot at the front and one spot at the rear, not in 2 groups around the same part of the wheel.

Wtf would they do that for? Just laziness? I don’t particularly care about the look of it since you can barely see them anyway. But what I’m wondering is would this be likely to cause vibration issues?

I’m trying to decide if I will point this out immediately when I go to pick the car up, or take it as is and at least see if it vibrates or runs smooth.
 

pveezy

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Not the greatest pic but you can see what I’m talking about in the circles.
25DBD025-D60A-43E4-AF36-E1BC7B34B425.jpeg
 

wwillson

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The only way I've ever seen it done when mounting new tires is to remove all the weights, then rebalance with new tire installed. If you are correct that the tech didn't remove the old weights, I would explain the situation to the shop manager, then ask for a rebalance done correctly.
 
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maybe lazy? Or not? I took a wheel in to get rebalanced a couple of weeks ago. The clerk explained to me that they strip the weights off, start anew, yada yada. When I got it back, all the old weights were still there and one new shiny weight had been added. In this case, I was ok with the laziness because, well, it drives great. They didn’t balance against other weights, and they would have had to replace what they’d taken off anyway.

I wouldn’t want to see weights opposing even other, fighting each other.

i could actually see why a tech might check the wheel first, to see if it’s pretty close… less waste if it just takes +1 or -1 existing weight, rather than removing and reapplying 6…
 
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Sometimes they'll split the weights behind two adjacent spokes if the center of the weight is needed in a "window" in the wheel. They do this so you can't see them from outside.

But it looks like your truck has the weights in the windows. After all, you can see them.
 
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Most modern wheel balances give the tech the option to indicate where the wheels spokes are, then it locates the weights behind the spokes so you don’t see any.

The weights residue is either because he didn’t locate the spokes in the balancer first, then realized it…or he just was having trouble getting it balanced…or he just balanced them wrong.

The guys who get the tire jobs in a dealer aren’t typically the best techs. Nor are the pre delivery techs. So whoever got it may have just not been great at tires.

As a note…big wheels and tires are a pain to balance with sticky weights. I’d imagine winter tires are ever worse.
 

pveezy

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Sometimes they'll split the weights behind two adjacent spokes if the center of the weight is needed in a "window" in the wheel. They do this so you can't see them from outside.

But it looks like your truck has the weights in the windows. After all, you can see them.

Yeah exactly.

At first I thought they split them because of the spokes, but they aren’t adjacent spokes to begin with, and the bigger group of weight is barely behind the spoke at all to begin with.

The big chunk of “5fe” ones are right in the visible area, and also they look “perfect” as if a machine put them there. The smaller group is more behind a spoke and look like they were put by hand and have different style of markings. That’s what makes me think one set is probably from the factory and the other is from the guy balancing.

Also as a side note, right nearby there was a pre-owned 4Runner with brand new 2021 stamped OEM tires (probably the ones I had sold back to the dealer). I took a look at it, and sure enough 2 sets of weights, one brand new shiny one, and one old oxidized set that looks like it’s been there for years. So I have a feeling that at least one tech at this place just doesn’t bother removing old weights.
 
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I always start with the current weights attached (if glued). Sometimes all that is required is removing some of the old weights.

However, if I can't balaqnce by removing or adding at an existing location they all come off. In the end there's only 2 places with weights, one on the inside of the rim and one behind the spokes. Some customers ask to put the weights behind the spokes so they can not be easily seen through the holes, in that case there can be weights behind 2 adjacent spokes.
 
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I want as less weight as possible to balance the wheels.

I had some wheels stored in my shelter for close to two years and when I got them out to have new tires mounted some of the weights came right off. Not sure if that would have happened if they were in use, but I figure the less stick on weight the less that can come off.
 
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I imagine they balanced the wheels as-is to see if the weights on there were balanced already, and then added more to balance it.

Very lazy, you want less weight on your wheels. All it takes is goo-gone, a scraper, and a wheel cleaner + microfiber towel to clean up that residue after stripping old weights.
 
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It’s a sucky situation to be in as a tire installer at a face paced place such as Tire Discounters when you have a waiting room stacked with customers. I’ve had weights left on once, so I prep my wheels before getting tires. I use a demolition screwdriver and knock the weights off and remove the sticky junk with a plastic wire wheel on a drill. Warning! I have removed paint and noticed pitting the next time I had tires installed. It’s not a good wheel weight system to deal with.
 
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Virginia
Why does a 'new' wheel have 'original' weights?
Isn't the procedure to try a bare wheel at the fill port matched to the tire paint mark, and move from there, only if?
 

pveezy

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Oct 11, 2021
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Why does a 'new' wheel have 'original' weights?
Isn't the procedure to try a bare wheel at the fill port matched to the tire paint mark, and move from there, only if?
I think that is correct, but I don’t think it’s very common to have a perfect match even with dots lined up. I think just about every brand new car I’ve ever gotten already had weights on from the factory.
 
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Joined
Jul 31, 2005
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Tennessee
When tires are balanced with a bubble balancer many will split the weights just as your tire shows. If it is balanced it will be fine.
I have drove tires both ways and a balanced tire is a balanced tire.
 
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I had a Honda motorcycle dealer rebalance a new pair of tires, without removing the old weights first. I noticed the combination of new and old weights as I was loading them into the back of my pickup. I simply carried them back in, and told the service manager that they needed to try again.
 
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