Road Force Balancing, Yea or Nea

I am about to spend about $1K on a set of new tires for my 2008 Mecury Mountaineer (32,000 miles). Tire size 235 65R 18. The tires I have selected are Goodyear Fortera Triple Treads. The Goodyear dealer is pushing me to have them use a road force balance, at an extra cost of $40. He says he recommends this for 18 inch tires. Can anybody confirm the value, or lack thereof, in paying an extra $40 for the road force balancing?

Road force balancing is definitely superior to regular spin balancing. And it can detect internal defects that spin balancing cannot. IMHO it is defintely, absolutely worth the extra $40.

We turn to road force balancing when the normal spin balance doesn’t get it the second time.
And it’s ALWAYS on the bigger rims when we see problems with spin balancing.

I say, go with their road force balance to insure long life of your new tires.

A balance problem on your new tires, if not caught quickly, can get worn into the tires forever and not be repairable.

I agree with mountainbike–as I usually do–and I also concur with ken green.
Most people don’t resort to RFB until they have a balance problem, but if you can get this “premium” type of balancing at this point for $40 extra, it could well eliminate some headaches and return visits at a later date.

Incidentally, at my recommendation, a friend of mine bought a set of Fortera Triple Treds last year, as he wanted an all-season tire that is truly effective on snow–unlike most all-season tires. These tires are very impressive in all weather conditions, but I do want to warn you ahead of time that these tires do produce a fairly high noise level–particularly after ~10k miles of wear. However, unless you or your passengers are particularly sensitive to road noise, I think this this is an acceptable trade-off for such a capable tire.

Road force balancing it is. Thanks to all for the prompt replies.

To VDCdriver – thanks for the road noise tip. We are not noise sensitive. Heck, if I could get a set of BF Goodrich All Terrain TA’s for this vehicle (had a set on a Ford Bronco, loved 'em), I would. The fact that I had a Ford Bronco should also evidence my tolerance for road noise. Not to mention the cross country trip in a soft-top Wrangler…

Is this a cost of $40 total, or $40 per tire?

Is this a one-time lifetime (of the tires) fee that covers the balancing every time you come in to have the tires rotated and balanced, or are you going to have to pay this $40 (or $160) charge each time the wheels need balanced?

I’ve never herd of this, so I would love to know some details about the pricing.

$10 per tire, for a grant total of $40, one time shot. Don’t expect that it covers future balancing needs, but a question I will ask the dealer.

Whitey, it’s common for shops that have machines capable of doing this to offer it at a slight extra charge. And it’s well worth it. Especially for larger tires.

Thanks, both of you.

ccichowski, I frequently do business with Goodyear, and at that price, I would expect it to be a lifetime alignment deal. Still, I am interested to know how they answer, and if they answer other than how I expect, I would be curious to know if it is a Goodyear company store or a franchise.

Whitey - I’ll report back. The tires go on this afternoon. This is a franchise store. Just to be clear, you mean lifetime “balancing” deal, not “alignment” deal, right?

…right. When I buy tires at Goodyear, I pay for “lifetime” balance and rotation. I think the cost is $15/tire for normal balancing. If I could find “lifetime alignment,” I would be all over it, but nobody I know sells it.

BTW, in my experience, the company stores provide better service, but sometimes the franchises run specials that undercut the company stores’ pricing.

Road Force Balancing — How it works (since no one else mentioned it)

RFB essentially matches locations either of high stiffness in the sidewall or higher depth (runout) of sidewall with locations of minimum runout in the wheel itself. It does this by rotating the tire on the wheel until the point of high stiffness or runout in the sidewall lies over the point of low runout on the wheel.

Hunter at one time had good technical videos of the procedure on the internet. Unfortunately, Hunter dumbed-down their videos and replaced them with a series of videos of what I would call Wheel Balancing for Dummies. I give the best Hunter video I could find below. Pay special attention to the three seconds between 1:26 and 1:29 on the video. What is happening is not mentioned in the video. (What is happening is the machine is rotating the wheel relative to the tire.)

Hunter’s Why Do My Balanced Wheels Still Shake?

Or one could google Hunter video tire balancing equipment and see what turns up. is the company website. They have more videos, none of which are worth much in my estimation.

And oh yeah, RFB at $10/wheel is definitely worth while.

Technically, “Road Force” doesn’t refer to balance. It refers to “Uniformity” - think “out of round” and you’ll be close.

Put another way, a tire can be balanced and still be “out of round”. This isn’t a defect in the normal sense of the word as all tires have a certain amount of “out of roundness” - it’s a matter of degree. Some vehicles are very tolerant of “out of roundness” (as well as imbalance) and some are relatively intolerant.

Whitey – reporting back on your question. Lifetime balance and rotation was included in the price of the tires. But the balancing after the initial road force balance will be the standard spin balance (unless I choose to request and pay $10 per tire for repeated road force balancing).

That sounds reasonable. Thanks for posting back.