Wheel Balancers are one machine that has become extremely complex in the past couple decades. We get calls every week with many questions about each machines capability and what is needed for their type of shop. Most balancers will do cars and light trucks (F150 to F350) size wheel/tire assemblies. There are few machines that exist that are capable of doing small cars to Heavy Duty size trucks, which would include rims for 19.5” 22.5” and 24.5”on Kenworth type large trucks. Rotary Lift has a new R544 Balancer that can do “All” vehicles on the road up to large semi-trucks, but in General, customers need a normal passenger car size machine.
Dynamic Wheel Balancers come in many sizes for cars and light trucks, one simple key to getting a quality machine: Never buy made in China! As with many forms of automotive shop equipment, China has flooded the market with terrible machines. Only buy quality brands like Cemb, Coats, Rotary, Hofmann or Hunter etc. Most important factors to consider are Rim Diameter, Width and Assembly Weight. For Example: Many 4×4 custom truck shops are installing large diameter and very wide wheels, these assemblies get very heavy, some small machines cannot handle the size and lack weight capacity. Make sure your Wheel Balancer matches your shop vehicle types, also consider your future customer. Many shops buy a lower cost small machine and later are disappointed they cannot do large wheels, think ahead to the future. A high quality wheel balancer may be with you more than 10 years in most cases, buy a good one with more capacity than you need! Last point is Service and Parts Support, if your balancer goes down, who is available locally to assist? AMA recommends companies like Rotary Lift, Hunter Engineering and Coats as the top choices with the best technical assistance.
Road Force Wheel Balancers: This is the top question people ask every week, do I really need a machine of this type? Hunter Engineering is the only company that makes a “Road Force” balancer, this type of technology measures the radial forces and the lateral (Left to Right) tire forces. Most Automotive Repair Shops Do Not require this extremely expensive machine. Tire Construction is not perfect but has improved to the point most shops with a Hunter Road Force, rarely utilize its capability. Many times, a new shop owner say they really want a “Road Force” machine, but I find their technicians rarely use its functions. If cost in No Object and you have lots of funds available, the Hunter Road Force is a great choice, most of my customers do have a realistic budget, so other far less costly machines will do the same job quite well!
AMA has over 35 years of experience in Tire Testing and Development, glad to assist by phone with any questions you might have regarding your next Wheel Balancer purchase.