What Are Wheel Weights? (Do They Matter, Fallen Off + Reusing)

Just because your wheels look round, doesn’t mean they are perfectly round with the tire. Although imperfections may not be noticeable by the eye, when something is moving in a circular motion at 15+ mph, they can be very noticeable.

But what does that have to do with wheel weights? As a driver, wheel weights may mean nothing to you, but if you knew how important they are to how your car rides, I bet they would then, or at least you’d want the person working on your wheels to know.

What Are Wheel Weights?

Wheel weights are used on a tire to balance out the wheel and tire to precision, so you don’t feel any vibrations or wobbles when your vehicle is in motion. Having your tire balanced properly with weights is extremely important to the longevity of your tire and other vehicle parts.

If you are unclear about what wheel weights are, what they are used for, and when and why you should be concerned with this subject, read the rest of this article to get a better understanding!

What Is The Purpose Of Wheel Weights?

Wheel weights help make your tire and wheel as balanced as possible.

Without wheel weights, the performance and longevity of your tires will be compromised, plus other parts of your vehicle will be compromised from the constant vibrations.

Are Wheel Weights Necessary?

All wheels have to be balanced after they are mounted to a tire. If a wheel is not balanced properly, you will get a vibration when your vehicle is in motion.

Because of this, wheel weight are necessary if your tires are out of balance.

What Happens If You Take A Wheel Weight Off?

What Happens If You Take A Wheel Weight Off?

Unfortunately, when a wheel weight falls off your rim, you won’t have much of a choice except to seek out a shop that specializes in balancing tires.

You can tap a wheel weight back in place, but the chances of you getting it in the right place is slim to none.

It may be easy for you to want to go on and ignore it, especially if the fallen off weight doesn’t seem to make a difference in your vehicle’s driving characteristics.

But you have to imagine, there was a reason the weight was placed there in the first place. It might not feel like there is any need for it, but the weight could have been placed on the wheel to prevent some type of unnoticeable long-term damage.

Can I Reuse Wheel Weights?

In some cases, wheel weights can be reused, but that is up to a trained eye to know if they are reusable.

You can try to reuse wheel weights yourself, but you won’t be balancing out your tire and wheel, in fact, you’ll just be making it worse. You need to use a tire machine that is designed specifically for balancing tires.

Can Wheel Weights Effect Performance?

The only way wheel weights will affect performance is in the way the vehicle drives – smooth or rough.

Wheel weights are not heavy enough to slow a car down or make a difference in acceleration or speed.

What Are The Different Types Of Wheel Weights?

What Are The Different Types Of Wheel Weights?

Wheel weights are different weights by grams, so the wheel technician has some options for where and how to apply the weights for the best outcome.

There are also two different places where wheel weights can be placed on the outer rim and the inner rim

When wheel weights are placed on the outer rim, they’re lightly banged in with a hammer. However, when they are placed on the inside, weights use adhesive.

Both types of wheel weights look different, and it will depend on what kind of tire you have that will determine what is the best wheel weight to use.

Most technicians try to use weights that go on the inside for the sake of looks, but that is not always possible.

What Are Wheel Weights Made Of?

Wheel weights are made of lead, zinc, or steel.

Is it important for you to know the difference between the wheel weight materials? Not really, unless you’re the one who buys the wheel weights for the shop, you shouldn’t have to worry about that.

Are Wheel Weights Illegal?

Are Wheel Weights Illegal?

Wheel weights are legal as they are designed to make our vehicles safer on the road.

If you had an unbalanced tire that needed wheel weights, you could get pulled over and ticketed for having unsafe equipment on your vehicle.

Can A Tire Come Unbalanced And Need Wheel Weights?

Tires and wheels can become unbalanced in a couple of different ways. The most common way a tire/wheel becomes unbalanced is from accidental damage.

If you hit a curb, a pothole, a speed bump, or something along those lines at a high speed, your rim could get damaged, which usually throws at least one of your tires and wheels out of balance.

These unpredictable road hazards can also cause the steel belts in your tire to get damaged. Yes, that can cause your wheel and tire to become out of balance as well.

The other way your tire can go out of balance is by simple weather change. Tires can expand or deflate out of proper tire pressure range causing the tires to wear unevenly, which could make your tire out of balance.

Keeping your tires properly maintained with the correct air pressure could help you avoid needing your tires balanced.

To know more about tires, you can also read our posts on why is my tires wobbling, how much does it cost to balance tires, and the penny in tire tread test.

Conclusion

Not knowing what wheel weights are, what they’re made of, how to put them on is not a big deal. Knowing to have your wheels balanced with wheel weights by a professional is a big deal.

These small little weights that go on your tire can make a huge difference in how a vehicle performs in the handling and riding smooth department. An unbalanced tire can also affect other vehicle parts and cause your tires to wear out faster as well.

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