2005 Ford Freestyle tires need a balance. Should it be a cost to me?

Two days ago, I purchased 2 new tires; the famous tire company moved the back tires to the front and installed the new tires on the back. While driving this morning, my car pulled to the right; went back to the tire company; they said they don’t balance the tires unless customer requests it, and it’s an additional cost. This does not make sense. Help!

Yes it does make sense , people don’t work for free and at least your new tires were put on the rear as is the correct thing to do.

What doesn’t make sense is they didn’t offer you a balance option. New tires always need checked for balancing whether it’s included in the cost or not. They should have mentioned it anyways just so you knew they weren’t balanced.


First, it’s a good idea for tires to be balanced when they’re installed. Whether they charge you separately for that is a different issue.

Second, I think a pull is more likely due to abnormal tire wear caused by an alignment issue or by not rotating your tires properly. When was your last alignment? I’d ask if you’ve been rotating your tires, but if you ended up replacing only two of them, then I’ll assume the answer is no.

If this were my car, I’d buy two more matching tires for the front, balance them all, get a four-wheel alignment, and rotate the tires properly from here on.


I think that the new tires on the rear were mounted and balanced just like most tire shops do. It is the ones that were moved to the front that were not balanced and that is not going to be done for free.

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Yeah might be unclear. It is standard practice to balance new tires but it is always at additional charge. Whether the old tires should also be balanced would normally be at either the suggestion of the shop or the customer, and would be at extra cost. This shop though doesn’t sound very good if they didn’t bring the subject up. I just don’t deal with discount places.

Now on the other issue, unbalanced tires in the front are likely not the cause of the car pulling. Pulling would either indicate an alignment needs to be done, tires worn with a set in them, or some other front end issue. Balancing won’t fix it. Why two tires? It’s always better to get the whole set and be done with it.

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To address the steering pull the shop may have offered to perform road force measurements on the front tires, some refer to this as road force balancing. Balancing isn’t the solution, it is a method of diagnosing the problem with the tires.

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If by balancing you mean adding weights to the rims to balance the wheel, then that should be done once when the new tires are mounted. The rear tires should not need that again unless one of the balancing weights came off in use. You may not have noticed this until the tires were moved to the front. In that case, you should pay for it.

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FREESTYLE is just a made-up name, not an indication of a cost-free life style involving the vehicle.

About the only things I can think of that would cause a “pull” following installation of a pair of new tires to the rear are…

… defective tire(s), most likely the ones dredged up from the rear and moved to the front, although I have on only one occasion seen brand new tires cause a pull due to defect. The old tires from the rear could have become defective through age (I have seen old tires develop defective belts and cause a pull) or wear and from use on a vehicle in need of an alignment.

… worn or damaged steering and or suspension components which would ordinarily be discovered and renewed during a wheel alignment, all at customer expense and could get pricey depending on what is damaged or worn and in need of correction.

… a dragging brake, which I doubt had anything to do with tire installation.

… something rubbing on the tire from an accident or say a large animal or object getting caught up in wheel well after being run down.

… tire/tires drastically low on pressure which should have been set properly when the tires were installed and quite possibly free of charge.

A lack of tire/wheel balance usually causes a straight ahead shake or jiggle and not ordinarily a pull.

This vehicle needs a proper steering and suspension system (and brakes) inspection and safety check and probably at least a 4-wheel alignment and possible 2 more tires.

It would be interesting to know the date of manufacture on the tires that moved from rear to front. There are DOT (Department of Transportation) coded dates of manufacture on the tires’ sidewalls. Tires do have a freshness period and an out of date age for a reason.

Took my car back to their shop and discussed the issue with dignity. They were understanding and made the adjustment “free of charge.” That’s good business!

Thanks for your response!

Thing I find odd, usually the buyer is provide sever options, mounting, mounting and balancing, road hazard etc. plus chain shops usually try to sell additional services, needed or not.
Though I did miss one item once, on a pre-TPS car, that new valve stems were not in the mounting. One did fail two years later.

Okay, I’ll bite.

What was “the adjustment” that was free and stopped the vehicle from pulling to the right?


What adjustment did they make ?

Full balancing! It took just over half an hour; the manager drove my car afterward to ensure that all was well. I left the shop at 8:30 this morning a very happy camper!

Thank you again for your input.

Balancing won’t keep it from pulling to the right. Make sure to get an alignment if it’s pulling.


I suspect that they also positioned the tires in a different location on the vehicle to eliminate the pull.

If a pull occurs after a tire rotation it is a tire problem, not an alignment issue.


Quite often when the old tires are moved to the front an imbalance becomes more noticeable and quite often the owner of the car has never noticed the imbalance on the rear.

The shop did free of charge as a PR move only. Balancing the old tires before installation on the front should be charged to you. The only thing I can see they did wrong is not tell you of this particular issue before moving the old ones up front.

I agree, but the original question dealt with a pull to the right after a pair of new tires were installed. The pull was the problem that sent the car back to the shop, not a balance symptom complaint.


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Good for you to work w/the tire shop to get you car working correctly again OP. I think there’s some terminology ambiguity is the discussion here, but no matter, problem solved. Drive on.

Thanks. The balancing appears to have done the trick. Thanks for all the tips and comments!

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