Difference between Balancing & Rotating Tires

I can’t find a place to search to see if this has been covered before, so I’m sorry in advance if it has been. If you can’t tell, this is my first post here.

What is the difference between balancing and rotating tires? And, how often should each one be done?

A wheel is balanced in order to be sure it spins evenly. This is typically done after a tire is mounted. The balancing is done by clamping small weights on the rim of the wheel. Rotating tires means switching the front and back wheels periodically, since the front tires usually wear more quickly than the rear. Radial tires are changed from front to rear on the same side of the car, and non-radials are changed diagonally.

Your owner’s manual or tire warranty probably recommends a rotation schedule, but a good rule of thumb is to rotate tires every 6,000 to 8,000 miles. The balance can be checked at the same time (sometimes the weights come off), or if you notice vibration when driving.

Yo. I know a little about cars so Ill do my best to answer.

As you drive your tires wear unevenly due to the laws of physics. To make your tires last longer you need to rotate them (im not sure how often, and it may depend on your tire/ car.) Rotating generally means they take the front 2 tires and move them to the rear, and on the opposite side. EX: front right goes to left rear, while the rears go to the front while remaining in the same side EX: rear right goes to front right.)

Balancing is adding slight ammounts of weight to the wheels so that they spin without creating a shudder. Just think of an unbalanced washing machine load. This is probably good to do at the same time you rotate your tires considering theyll be off anyways.


Balancing means each tire is taken off and spun on a machine which measures where to put small weights so that it is ‘balanced’, i.e. that its weight is evenly distributed along its rotational axis (in the old days this was done ‘static’ i.e. w/o spinning it, just balancing it horizontally on a sort of sensitive mounting shaft).

Rotating means all four tires (again, in the old days, five, including the spare) are removed and their position on the vehicle is rotated (fronts to back, backs to front, as well as left to right or whatever ancient chinese secret your mechanic believes in ;)).

I personally don’t believe balancing needs to be done unless something is done to it (other than simply taking it off the car and putting it back on), i.e. a new tire is put on the rim, its plugged or patched, or when they’re rotated (of if they aren’t riding smoothly).

Eh balancing may be neglegible with no change, but its not exactly expensive or labor intensive. ( I sorta enjoy doing it)