Are unbalanced wheels dangerous/cause more problems

I drive a 2005 Ford Freestyle which I love. The only issue I have is how often I have to balance the tires. We live 2.5 miles down a dirt road that gets pretty bad and is hard to miss all the potholes. I rotate the tires every time I change the oil. Most of my driving is at 25 mph with max of 45 since it’s normally just into my small town and back. The vibrating always starts at higher speeds of 65-70 so I take the highway and drive 55 when I’m going further distances.

Is it dangerous or an I causing more problems by not having them rotated right away? I always get them done if I feel at 55, but it would be nice not to have to balance them every 3 months or less.

The wheels are balanced once - when the tires are mounted. You may have an alignment issue. Take it to a mechanic for a test.

You don’t need to rotate your tires every time you change oil; every second oil change or 8000 miles would be OK. Rotating tires does nothing for their BALANCE which is needed if you have vibrations.

Yes you should have the vibration looked at since it will cause more rapid tire wear and also result in additional wear on your suspension and drive train mechanicals. You could have warped wheels, warped brake rotors as well as out of balance tires. A good shop will quickly find the problem; usually it just means putting some balancing weights on one or more of the tires.

Thanks for the info. I mistyped, I have the tires balanced every time I have the oil change due to the vibrations. Wheels, brake rotors and all are okay, it’s just the hassle of living on a nasty dirt road. It’s like hitting pot holes several times a day on a paved road. No matter how slow we go, we can’t avoid them all. The guys at the ford dealership are excellent about balancing them for me and even clean out all the mud that accumulates, which also adds to the vibration problem. Gotta love living in a high density clay area.

They really should not require rebalance that often even considering a rough road. If they are out of balance that quick, something is going on that should not. I would try a different shop and explain the problem. Maybe there the weights that are being used are not right for the wheels.

I grew up driving/learning on gravel roads so I know how you feel.

Your problem may be due to using the wrong type of rims.

The alloys that come on vehicles today aren’t strong enough to take the punishment of potholed gravel roads.

You MAY already be using steel rims, I don’t know, but that’s what I would recommend.

Tire separation could be the cause of your vibration problems too.

Bent/pitted/cracked (damaged) rims allow air loss from the tires leading to under-inflated tires which contribute to separations.

I do however, agree with the previous posters on inspecting all the suspension components for wear.

I grew up on a farm and had 3 miles of dirt raod to contend with before reaching any (very bad) pavement. We had a Chevy Pickup and 50s Olsmobile. I only remember having to balance the tires when they were changed, every 20,000 miles or so. In between that we seldom balanced. Agree with Joseph that you should go to another shop; balancing at every oil change is UNHEARD of!

Your tires/wheels should not typically need balancing very often; certainly not at every oil change.

Driving at a slower speed that does not make your vehicle vibrate due to wheel imbalance that reveals itself at higher speeds will not damage your suspension.

A couple of possibilities for you:

Your wheel weights may be coming off due to the rough road that you describe. Weights must be installed with careful/minimal hammering or the spring clip is bent too much resulting in less grip on the rim resulting in weights lost.

Mud or other debris stuck on the inner side of a wheel rim will cause imbalance. Possibly your mechanic is mindlessly removing the mud/debris and balancing the wheels according to your instructions.

Regarding weights coming off, I got into balancing wheels at home about 25 years ago. I bought some used wheel weights from a nearby gas station to have a selection to get going. Since then I have been able to find all the weights that I need in roadside gutters and moreso at intersections while taking my dog for walks.

It sounds to me like you might have worn out shocks or struts, in addition to out of balance wheels. You might consider upgrading the shocks rather than just replacing them.

Unbalanced wheels are dangerous. They leave you with less traction as the tires bounce.