Wheel Tech is now the proud owner of a State-of-the-art Hunter Road Force Balancer. Those of us who know what a Road Force Balancer is, know that there really is no comparison with a standard balancer. For those of you who do not know what a Hunter Road Force balancer is please read on and I will do my best to explain.
A standard balancer is great for balancing steel wheels on larger trucks or the older style of wheels that use clip on weights for both the outer and inner lips. However, the style of wheels is changing and most wheels require the use of stick on weights that are applied to the inner barrel. A standard balancer is not ideal for measuring the exact amount if weight to be applied to the inner barrel of wheel. For starters, every wheel is different because the offsets are different even among different models of the same manufacturer. A BMW 3 series will have wheels with a much different offset than a 5 or 6 series BMW. The difference is that the weights must be applied just behind the spokes and on a standard balancer there is no way to tell the machine exactly where this is.
Standard balancers know the diameter of a wheel, how wide the wheel is, and how far away it sits from the sensor that measures the run out. In a standard balancer all it is doing is looking for the slight variations of out-of-round in the wheels and tire assembly. The weights help to even out a side-to-side wobble (lateral run out) or an up and down wobble (radial run out). What is missing from the measurements is the amount of force the tire can throw off.
When balancing using a Hunter Road Force machine we are able to tell the machine exactly how far the wheel sits from the sensors that are taking the measurements, exactly the distance to just behind the spokes (where we must apply our stick on weights), the width of the wheel, and the diameter. Most importantly, a roller will apply about 1000lbs of pressure to the wheel while it is spinning to replicate what the wheel will act like when the on the road with the weight of a car on it. This roller can measures the amount of weight the tire can throw off while it is spinning. This is known as “road force”. Road force is present in new and old tires – sometimes, even more so in new tires which is caused from stiffness, lack of stiffness, or weak spots in the sidewalls of the tires. By reading the run out of the wheel and tire assembly in conjunction with the road force measurement the Hunter Road Force machine will virtually always get a wheel perfectly balanced. While the Hunter Road Force Balancer is taking measurements it looks at both the rim run out and tire run out to see if they are within industry specific tolerances and if the wheel and tire assembly is out of tolerance there are a whole host of other tests to determine if the excessive road force is caused by the rim or the tire. In most cases, rotating the tire to a different position on the wheel, or even using the tire on a different rim can eliminate excessive road force.
What the Hunter Road Force balancer can measure is not possible on a standard balancer. Because the style of wheels used on more cars today are alloy wheels that require stick on weights it is necessary for more styles of cars to have this kind of balancing done. In our own experience we have already had customers who found that after having us Road Force Balance their wheels it was the smoothest ride they had ever experienced while driving their car. Even when it was new!