How to Balance RC Tires
Adam Drake tells us how to balance RC tires.
- ProTek RC Pro Team Driver
Balancing your tires is key to a smooth, more precise feel. Adam Drake, AMain Hobbies driver walks us through how to balance RC tires using his Pro-Line Trekkie tires. Adam will explain why it is beneficial to balance RC tires and the equipment you will need.
Is balancing RC tires difficult?
Not really. It is actually relatively simple. Other than the tires, the most essential piece of equipment is the balancer. Both handheld and balance stations are available, but for this demonstration, Adam is using a handheld balancer. You will also need some balancing putty, a Sharpie, and perhaps some tire glue. The Team Associated handheld universal balancer includes putty, plus it matches the Team Associated hex set.
The tires in our demo have been ran before, and are a little bit out of balance, but even a little out of balance on more than one tire can mess up your vehicle. Unbalanced tires can ruin your drivetrain, damage your suspension, and make parts, "especially bearings," wear out faster. In addition, it can make handling your vehicle difficult to drive on the track or when jumping.
Demonstrating how to balance your RC tires.
To balance the tire, insert the balance tool into the hex hole on the outside of the tire. With the balancer in one hand, flip the tire upside down and snuggly screw on the correct adapter for your vehicle. Holding the balancer perpendicular to the tire give the tire a good spin. Do you feel any wobble or vibration? If so, this means the tire is out of balance. You will notice the faster you spin it, the more vibration. It is easy to see how that unbalanced RC tire can affect the performance of your car or truck.
Mount Handheld Balancer to Outside of Wheel
Use Adapter on the Inside of the Wheel
Slow it down a bit by gently touching the tire. The tire will begin to rock a little, and gravity will pull the tire's heaviest part to the bottom. Once the tire stops, mark the opposite (top) side of the wheel with a Sharpie. Then apply a little dab of putty to that area 180° from the heavy part of the wheel.
Spin the tire again, check for wobble, and see if the tire wants to settle back to the heavy side or the area where the putty was applied. Add more putty if it is on the heavy side, or take some putty away if the tire is settling where the putty was added. Continue spinning and checking until the wheel spins freely in a continuous motion without rocking back and forth. Use the Sharpie dot to serve as a way to check to see if the tire is spinning true. Once the tire looks and feels smooth, it is balanced. It doesn't have to be perfect as long as you don't feel vibration and shaking when you spin it. Now you are ready to check the rest of your wheels and tires.
The method is the same for radio control car or truck tires. However, most truck tires are large with a bigger insert, so it is critical to ensure they are balanced. RC buggy tires are generally well balanced when they are new, but that may vary by brand. Any RC tire and wheelset can become out of balance, so checking is always good.
When you have balanced tires, your vehicle will drive a little smoother and more precise, just like if you were in a real car. If you're in an actual car and have one or more tires that are out of balance, you're going to feel the steering wheel kind of shake and chatter. It's pretty much the same thing in RC.
Dirt and water can affect the balance of your RC tires, so be sure to keep them clean and aerated. The foam in your tires can also reseat itself, causing them to become out of balance. You will want to check the balance after racing or bashing hard to keep your vehicle from any unnecessary damage due to tire vibration.
You don't have to wait until your RC tires are seriously out of balance. Even if your tires are only a little out and you have the time to do it, we recommend balancing your tires.
If you have glued your tires, you will definitely need to balance them because the glue may spread unevenly and can make them out of balance. For more information on the proper way to glue your tires, read "How to Mount RC Tires."
Pro Tip: If you choose to glue the insert to the wheel, Adam recommends using two-sided carpet tape. Use tape instead of glue to secure the tire to the wheel. That way, you can put a consistent amount of tape all the way around.