Getting your ATV tires balanced at a shop can get expensive. Some places charge around 40 to 50 bucks to do all four tires. It’s really not a hard thing to do yourself, even after getting the balancer and proper tools, you’ll save a lot of money in the long run.
There’s a few different ways to balance an ATV or UTV tire, and not all methods even require a tire balancer. In fact, depending on where and how you ride, there might be an even easier and cheaper option for you to balance your ATV tires.
To balance ATV or UTV tires at home, start by cleaning the tire of debris and existing wheel weights. Using a tire balancer placed on a flat level surface, mount the tire on the balancer and add weights until the bubble on the balancer is level.
|Here are the basic steps to balance an ATV tire the traditional way: Clean Tire Of Debris And Existing Wheel WeightsPlace Balancer On Flat Level SurfaceMount Tire On Tire BalancerInspect Bubble On Balancer LevelAdd Wheel Weights To Level Bubble|
Using this method will give you as close to a professional tire balance as possible. But, do you really need to do this type of tire balance for your quad? There are simpler ways to balance a tire that might fit your situation better. So first lets figure out which type of tire balance will work best for you.
Which Tire Balance Method?
There’s three popular ways to balance ATV and UTV tires. The traditional more professional method, the balance beads method, and the tire slime or tire sealant method. I do not recommend the tire slime method ever. It might work as a quick fix, but I would avoid trying this approach to balance your tires.
So you’re left with using a tire balancer and wheel weights, or using the balance beads. The balance beads are only really effective at speeds above 30 – 35 mph. The thing is, most quads will only feel the effect of unbalanced tires after it reaches those speeds anyway.
Also, the balance beads are less effective and aren’t made to be used with a tire sealer or tire slime. So if you have that stuff in your tires, I wouldn’t recommend the tire beads approach for you either.
If you notice a wobble in your tires at low speeds, under 30 mph, and want try balancing the tires to fix it. I would recommend using a tire balancer with some wheel weights. Either way, if you plan on riding over 45 mph on your quad, it’s a good idea to balance your tires one way or the other.
Tire Balancer And Wheel Weights Approach
This is the more traditional method to balancing tires and is the most common approach people take. This method requires you having a tire balancer you can use as well as wheel weights.
If you’re wondering what kind of tire balancer you need, check out this Portable Bubble Wheel Balancer, Static Balancing Machine to give you an idea. This one can be used to balance tires for cars and light trucks as well.
Make sure your center hub is at least 1-1/2″ in diameter or this balancer won’t work for you. I’ve seen other models that are more compact but people have complained that their rear ATV tires won’t fit in that type.
If your center hub is less than 1-1/2″ in diameter than you can use the smaller compact balancer like this BikeMaster Wheel Balancer and Truing Stand. You won’t be able to use this one for your car or truck tires though, it’s actually more suited for motorcycle tires.
1. Setup Tire Balancer
The First thing you want to do is make sure the tire balancer in on a flat level surface. You want the bubble in the level on the balancer to be dead center before you mount the tire on. Some balancers will have screws around the level that allow you to adjust the bubble to dead center that way.
If this is a new balancer I suggest you clean all the packing grease that they put on it for shipping and storage reasons. I’ve noticed that tends to mess with the reading you get from the balancer.
2. Clean Wheel And Mount
You’re going to want to clean the tire and wheel. Get all the mud and debris off the tire and scrape any existing wheel weights off with a screw driver. If you have clip on wheel weight, they do make a special tool to get those off called Wheel Weight Pliers. But you should be able to force them off with any old set of pliers you have. If you do plan on always using clip on wheel weights, the pliers will save you a lot of head ache though.
Now mount the wheel into the balancer. You should be able to press down on your wheel and the center cone will center the tire for you.
3. Check The Tire Balance
Now you can give your wheel a little spin on the balancer. Let it stop spinning and come to a rest before you check the level for balance. You may want to try this a couple times to give yourself a good idea of where the tire is heavy.
You’ll notice the bubble leaning out of the circle in the level if your tire is out of balance. After you’ve wobbled the tire on the balancer a few times, and the level keeps showing out of balance, it’s time to add some wheel weights.
4. Add Wheel Weights
There are two main types of wheel weights used to balance tires, the stick on wheel weights and the clip on wheel weights. The stick on are more popular because they are easier to deal with. No special tools, just any old hammer you have laying around to install them. And to remove them, all you need is a screw driver or a chisel.
The clip on wheel weights can also be put on using a hammer, but are a lot more of a pain to remove without the special tool. One benefit is that if you’re careful removing them, you can sometimes reuse the clip on wheel weights. In order to reuse the stick on wheel weight you need to reapply the sticky film they come with.
I use the stick on wheel weights myself, they’re just easier to work with to me and an entire box of them is usually less than 20 bucks. I use these Professional Adhesive Steel Wheel Weights from Amazon.
You’ll want to stick the wheel weights on the side of the wheel the bubble is leaning towards. The goal here is to get the bubble on the level to dead center with your wheel mounted on the balancer. Sometimes this takes some tinkering.
Keep in mind that if you end up with wheel weights on opposite sides of the wheel from each other, you messed up. Continue steps three and four until your tire is balanced.
Balance Beads Approach
The balance bead approach to balancing your ATV or UTV tires is the simplest and cheapest way to balance your tires. The only thing you’ll need is a valve core remover and some balance beads.
The reason I like using tire beads is because they are reactive to the conditions of the tire while you ride. Meaning, if you get a rock stuck in the tread or a bunch of mud gunked up on the tire, the balance beads will shift and still keep your tire in balance. The are constantly re-positioning even as the tire wears to help give you the most life out of your ATV and UTV tires.
Also, you don’t have to worry about clip on or stick on wheel weights coming off when riding through rough terrain. Keep in mind, the balance beads don’t work well at slower speeds, you really need to get up above 35 mph to feel the difference they make. But for most quads, the effect of an unbalanced tire is usually only felt at higher speeds anyway.
I use this E-Z Tire Balance Beads Deluxe Kit from Amazon because it comes with everything needed to balance all four tires for around 25 bucks. They even include the valve core remover and some spare valve cores if you need them later on.
1. Remove Valve Core
Really step one should be remove the wheel from the machine, but technically you could do this with the wheel still mounted on the quad. It does make the job a whole lot easier if you take the wheel off though.
You’ll want to let the air out of the tire before you try to remove the valve core. Do that by pushing on the little knob on the valve to let air out with a screw driver. Sometimes the back side of a tire pressure gauge will have a little knob made for doing this.
You could also let the air out using a valve core remover tool but be careful. Unscrew the valve core a little until you hear air leaking out but keep pressure on the tool. If you loosen too much the valve core could come shooting out, and those things are hard to find if that happens.
Now that you’ve got most of the air out of the tire. Use the valve core removal tool that comes in the balance beads kit, or any valve core removal tool for that matter, to remove the valve core.
2. Measure Balance Beads
You have to measure out the right amount of balance beads based on the tire you’re putting them into. If you don’t put the right amount in, your tires won’t be balanced properly. Use the chart below as a guide on how much balance beads you need for your tire.
You’ll need to measure the beads, but a simple kitchen scale will work. Anything that can measure in ounces will work actually. It will typically be around 5 – 6 ounces, but again, check the chart at the bottom of this page to get the right amount for your tire
3. Pour In Balance Beads
Attach the little tube that came in the balance beads kit to the valve on the tire. It’s ok to have to screw it in a little bit to get it seated nice and tight.
Fill the bottle with balance beads and connect to the other end of the tube. The kit I recommended above comes with all these tubes and bottles, but some kits don’t. If you have to, find a funnel and some way to attach it to the valve, maybe with duck tape.
Then pour the beads into the tire, do this part slowly. I know it’s tempting to just flip the bottle up and get them in there as fast as you can. But the balance beads will get all clogged up in the tube where it connects to the valve. It ends up being a pain in the butt, just take it slow.
4. Finish Up
There you’ve filled the tire with balance beads. Now put the valve core back in with the valve core tool, and inflate the tire like you would normally. You shouldn’t need to do anymore adjustments, but it’s a good idea to take the quad out for a spin to see how it feels.
You could also put the balance beads in the tire during a tire change. Since you’ll have the tire off the rim anyway, just put the right amount of beads in the tire before you mount it back on the wheel.
If you like that approach, and you’re planning on changing your tires out anyway, check out this article on How To Mount ATV/UTV Tires At Home. In that article I explain how to change an ATV or UTV tire step by step.
Sum It Up
Balancing your tires helps extend their life by reducing abnormal wear. If you plan on riding slow through rocky terrain and mud, then you probably don’t need to balance the tires at all. But for most people, hitting those flat straight-aways is fun part of off-roading. And you should really have your tires balanced if plan on riding at speeds above 35 mph.
Balance Beads Measuring Chart
|Tire Size||Ounces||Tire Size||Ounces|
|145/70 – 6||3 oz||20 x 7 – 8||5 oz|
|16 x 8 – 7||3 oz||20 x 11 – 8||5 oz|
|16 x 6.50 – 8||4 oz||22 x 12 – 8||5 oz|
|18 x 11 – 8||4 oz||22.5 x 10 – 8||5 oz|
|18 x 9.50 – 8||4 oz||20 x 11 – 9||5 oz|
|19 x 7 – 8||4 oz||22 x 10 – 9||5 oz|
|19 x 8 – 8||4 oz||22 x 11 – 9||5 oz|
|20 x 10.00 – 8||2 oz||25 x 12 – 9||5 oz|
|22 x 11 – 8||5 oz||25 x 13 – 9||5 oz|
|18 x 8.50 – 10||5 oz||23 x 10 – 10||5 oz|
|20 x 10.00 – 10||5 oz||23 x 7 – 10||5 oz|
|20 x 11 – 10||5 oz||23 x 8 – 10||5 oz|
|21 x 7 – 10||5 oz||24 x 10.50 – 10||5 oz|
|21 x 9 – 10||5 oz||24 x 11 – 10||5 oz|
|22 x 10 – 10||5 oz||24 x 11.5 – 10||5 oz|
|22 x 11 – 10||5 oz||24 x 9.50 – 10||5 oz|
|22 x 7 – 10||5 oz||25 x 11 – 10||6 oz|
|22 x 9.50 – 10||5 oz||25 x 12 – 10||6 oz|
|22 x 7 – 11||5 oz||24 x 9 – 12||5 oz|
|23 x 8 – 11||5 oz||25 x 10 – 12||6 oz|
|24 x 10 – 11||5 oz||25 x 10.50 – 12||6 oz|
|24 x 8 – 11||5 oz||25 x 11 – 12||6 oz|
|24 x 9 – 11||5 oz||25 x 8 – 12||6 oz|
|23 x 10 – 12||5 oz||25 x 8.00 – 12||6 oz|
|23 x 10.50 – 12||5 oz||26 x 10 – 12||8 oz|
|23 x 8 – 12||5 oz||26 x 12 – 12||8 oz|
|23 x 8.00 – 12||5 oz||26 x 12.00 – 12||8 oz|
|24 x 11 – 12||5 oz||26 x 9 – 12||6 oz|
|24 x 12.00 – 12||5 oz||27 x 12 – 12||8 oz|
|24 x 8 – 12||5 oz||27 x 9 – 12||8 oz|
|205/80 R12||6 oz||23 x 7.00 R12||5 oz|
|205/85 R12||6 oz||23 x 10.00 R12||5 oz|
|255/70 R12||8 oz||25 x 8 R12||6 oz|
|255/65 R12||8 oz||26 x 8 R12||6 oz|
|270/60 R12||8 oz||25 x 11 R12||8 oz|
|26 x 8 R14||8 oz||26 x 10 R12||8 oz|
|26 x 11 R14||8 oz|