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Dealer now only balances front tires?


Once a year (at the same time) I get my tires rotated and balanced. I only drive about 4,000-5,000 miles a year.

I’ve always assumed that every year they rotate and balance all 4 tires. This year I noticed the invoice from the dealer said “Rotate All Tires, Balance Front Tires Only.” I asked them about it, and was told that they normally only balance the front tires. I looked back at my old invoices and they simply say “Rotate and Balance Tires.”

Should I be concerned? Is it normal to only balance the front tires?

No! The tires are a high speed rotating component and must be balanced no matter the position on the vehicle.

Where are these people coming up with this stuff?


Balancing only the front tires? That’s a new one on me. Maybe they inspected the rears, didn’t see any signs of missing weights, and took it for a test drive to confirm, and based on this they didn’t think the rears needed to be balanced. I think it’s true that an out of balance front is more noticeable than an out of balance rear.

Well, no need to balance the tires every year, just when you get new ones or when the tire is removed from the rim. So instead of 2, it should be 0, not 4.

So what have they charged you for in the past; 2 or 4 wheel balance?

Balancing every 4-5k miles is not really needed unless you drive on bad roads, hit potholes, and so on.

They have charged me the exact same price in the past. Also, its an AWD car if that make a difference, the roads are not too bad, but sometimes I do drive on dirt roads.

Balancing tires regularly is not generally needed unless the tire has to be removed from the rim for repairs or some other reason. Balancing only the fronts is not a good idea. Someone probably figured that customers wouldn’t notice any symptoms of out-of-balance in tires mounted on the rear (true, you most likely wouldn’t), but out-of-balance tires will eventually cup, so all four of them need to be in balance.

This practice of only balancing the two front tires doesn’t make WalMart look so bad. I bought a couple of cheap tires at WalMart for the Oldsmobile Cutlass I was driving. When the car was 28 years old and the tires had been on for about 9 years, the car developed a terrible vibration. I discovered that the wheel weights had come loose on the right front tire and were moving around on the rim. I removed the wheel weights which lessened the vibration, but there was still a little vibration. I was going to go to my independent tire shop and have the wheel rebalanced, but then found the invoice in the glove compartment from WalMart that guaranteed lifetime balancing of the tires, so I went to WalMart with the invoice. The service manager was very polite when I told him about the weights coming loose and that I had removed them. He asked how bad the vibration was without the weights. I told him that I had been out on the interstate when a Ferrari started around me. I said that I floored the pedal and that the vibration was so bad at 100 mph that I had to drop back and was really embarrassed about having to give up to the Ferrari. The service manager stared at me in disbelieve and then said “I think I had better balance both front tires”. He did it without charge.

I’m with Texases on this. Normally, unless the owner request that the balance be checked or there’s evidence of abnormal wear, the wheels do not have to be rebalanced. If there IS abnormal wear, any good shop will advise the customer that the cause needs to be diagnosed and the problem should be corrected.

There’s nothing wrong with rebalancing thw wheels, but it’s not necessary.

The practice at Honda dealers has been to balance the front tires only, when rotating tires for at least the last 5 years.

I suppose requiring at least the front tires to be balanced during a tire rotation could be a good way to prevent comebacks.

Normally tires stay pretty much in balance unless you lose a wheel weight. Balancing the front tires only seems to be a good precaution to ward off a customer complaint. You might be ok without a balance check on the fronts but for a few dollars it will greatly diminish your need to make another appointment, drive to the dealer, and wait again. It’s cheap insurance. For me, front tires out of balance are more obvious and annoying than rear tires out of balance.

After all, you do get the tires balanced completely every other tire rotation which is way more then anyone needs. I seldom have tires balanced more then once more, the life of the tire. If tires wear evenly, there is little need. If you are paying extra to have the tires balanced, save your money and only do it as need.
Fwd cars are different though then awd or rwd cars. The wear pattern on the front wheels is so erratic, out of balance conditions can occur more often if you don’t drive very conservatively.

@mikey286 FWIW . . . if you paid for a rotate and balance I would insist that they rotate and balance ALL 4 TIRES. Let’s say you really can’t feel an imbalanced rear tire. Okay, that’s fine and dandy. But that still doesn’t mean they’re balanced.
Bottom line . . . give the man what he paid for, not what you think he needs. Balancing the remaining 2 tires might have required 5 minutes of additional work. Big deal!
When I was working at the Benz dealer, if a customer paid for a rotate and balance, he got all 4 tires rotated and balanced. All old wheel weights were removed and the tires were balanced on the machine, using new weights. The idea was that the customer should see new weights, thus reassuring him that he got what he paid for.

And it may just be YOUR car due to its record of annual balances , the need is not there this time so they opted for just fronts.

I rotate tires regularly, but balancing is done on an “as needed” basis. On my 2007 Toyota, the original balance is still good, and not further action is needed. On our Nissan I balanced the tires three times over the 15 years we had it.