What do large balancing weights mean for the tires/wheels?



Hi all,

Bought a set of 4 used winter tires and had them installed on 4 extra rims that I have for my 85 Cutlass. The tires are 195/70/14’s in case that matters.

I noticed at least 2 wheels had large-ish looking balancing weights placed on them during the install/balancing…

Is that fine or does it mean something bad for the tires and/or wheels? Not really overly concerned, more curious. This tire/wheel stuff is interesting to me, even if that sounds strange.

On a related note, what’s your opinion on old tires (beyond 7 years)? Are they all bad without exception, or is it possible to still have a “good” and useable tire that is older?




Personally, I would not buy used tires, as you do not know how often the prior owner jammed those tires into a curb, or how often they were run with low inflation pressure–both of which can seriously weaken the cord structure of a tire.

And, I would not use tires that are 7 years old, even if they had been mine, due to the hardening of the rubber compound during that span of time. And, as bad as a hardened rubber compound might be on a regular tire, it could mean seriously compromised traction in very cold temperatures when rubber compounds normally become hard and afford less traction. These tires could be essentially worthless in low temperature conditions.

But, as to the large balancing weights, that simply means that the person balancing the tires is providing the proper balance for an area on the opposite side of the tire that is “overweight”.

I would be much less concerned by the size of the balancing weights than I would be by the age of those tires and by the unknown history of those tires.


Well, I don’t have a problem with buying used tires, but I would say that a 7 year old tire is probably not going to perform nearly on par with a new tire, ESPECIALLY if it has sat out in the sun and elements. I bought car with 8 year old tires which had lots of tread, and wore them bald in one summer. The rubber had essentially failed, they cracked badly, and went from new-looking to completely shot in 4 months.


Snow tires tend to require more lead to balance because the tread rubber is thicker and heavier. 4-5 ounces of lead would be my upper limit. More than that points to a low quality tire. Seven years old is OK as long as the tires have been stored out of the heat and sun. There are many “classic cars” driving around on 30 year old tires without any problems. Tires are strong and stable items. They degrade VERY slowly…


I don’t have a problem with used tires as long as the sidewall is not rubbed out of it and they’re not suffering from dry rot.

On a used set of snow tires I would not worry too much about a lot of lead being used to balance them.
On a new set of tires or ones used for daily, highway driving I always get a bit antsy when it takes a lot of lead to balance them.

If a new tire requires 4-5 ounces (say a 225/65/16) then I think the bead should be broken down, the tire rotated 180 degrees, and attempt to rebalance it.
My preference is that it take no more than 2 or 2 and 1/2 ounces at the most.

When buying new tires you may have to spell this out with the tire store up front. My opinion is that if a tire takes 5 ounces to balance, then take that tire off and put another one on if rotation on the wheel won’t cure it.
It often seems like a heavily balanced tire has a short life. JMHO and hope it helps.


Well, unfortunately I forgot to check the DOT’s on these tires before I bought them. Two are 9 years old, and 2 are 8 years old. None of them look rotted, however…nothing rubbed out, no cracks or worn areas and lots of tread (70-80%). We’ll have to see how they go this winter.

So it sounds like the consensus is that too much weighting is a sign of a low quality tire…That’s what I thought I’d heard before. But it’s good to know that it’s not as big of an issue with winter tires, and that it’s not a sign of a bad wheel.
I think the heaviest weight was just over 2 ounces on these.

Thanks for all the info everyone! I love this board. Definitely not as much as the old board, but I’m glad to see the veterans still around, helping us out.



I wouldn;t recommend buying used OR old tires, but since you already have them just keep an eye on the pressure and you’ll be fine.

“Largish” is a subjective term, so without knowing what you mean by that all I can suggest is that if they feel smooth they’re okay. A aingle 2" long clip weight looks largish, but it’s not really that unusual.