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Upgrading Wheels... requires alignment/balancing??

Discussion in 'Model S' started by Valkryst, Sep 29, 2017.

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  1. Valkryst

    Valkryst Member

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    I've heard mixed things from tesla's very own service centers.

    I'm upgrading to Arachnids from stock 19's and one service center tech said that I would want to do a full alignment and balancing otherwise my steering would be "way off" after installation.

    Another tech said that since my car is practically brand new, I wouldn't need it for a year and the installation of different wheels wouldn't impact anything.

    Who is correct here? Any insight would be helpful...

    Thanks !!!
     
  2. SabrToothSqrl

    SabrToothSqrl Active Member

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    well, installing tires, they will have to be balanced.
    If nothing is wrong with your alignment now, nothing will changes with new wheels.
    With 130,000 on my Tahoe, the dealer would love to do a $$ alignment, but it's tire wear is dead even, and it tracks strait. No thanks.
     
  3. Valkryst

    Valkryst Member

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    Tires/wheels are brand new - so I'm guessing no balancing or alignment required then?
     
  4. Don85D

    Don85D Member

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    Personally I would skip the alignment and watch tire wear patterns. If the new rims are offset and the contact patch is bigger the steering geometry may need to change to minimize tire wear. I have seen 'tuners' go to extremes with wheel offset but they do it for show and not for economy of operation.
     
  5. Cyclone

    Cyclone Cyclonic Member ((.oO))

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    If you have to pay for the alignment, then I would follow other's advice that if you don't have an issue at the moment, then forgo it. When installing the tires on the wheels, they will balance them. That said, I have a lifetime alignment policy on my car (not through Tesla) and align it every 6 months or so. You would be amazed how much it can go out of whack on Charlotte's roads. Additionally, while it shouldn't change when swapping wheels, it's not impossible. The tech installing the wheels could accidentally adjust your alignment while working on things, but it is unlikely if the car isn't lifted.
     
  6. Russell

    Russell Member

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    Who is it through, Firestone/Wheel Works?
     
  7. Cyclone

    Cyclone Cyclonic Member ((.oO))

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    Usually I use Firestone, though they aren't the only game in town for that stuff. To me, finding a shop I am comfortable with and trust is more important than the brand name on the sign.
     
  8. SomeJoe7777

    SomeJoe7777 Marginally-Known Member

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    New tires and wheels will always need to be balanced. There are minute differences in wheel and tire weight that have to be compensated for or you will get vibrations at speed. I recommend a newer type of balancing called "road-force balancing" which takes the orientation of the wheel to the tire into account to get proper balance.

    Alignment is something done to the car, not the wheels and tires. If your car is less than 1 year old, then there should be no need for an alignment, and a change in tires and wheels does not affect the alignment. Have the alignment checked at your next annual maintenance and then corrected if required.
     
  9. Valkryst

    Valkryst Member

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    How do I know if the new arachnids I just purchased have been balanced? Do they come balanced or is this something I need to do as part of the install?
     
  10. SomeJoe7777

    SomeJoe7777 Marginally-Known Member

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    The balancing process happens after tires are mounted on the rims. The entire unit of rim+tire (together, referred to as the wheel) is then balanced. This needs to happen ANY time a tire is mounted onto a rim, whether the rim and/or the tire had been balanced before.

    If your tires have not been mounted on the rims, then by definition they will need balancing after they're mounted.
     
  11. Valkryst

    Valkryst Member

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    Tires were mounted on the rims, so I'm assuming they have been balanced then. Thanks !!! This helped a lot
     
  12. SomeJoe7777

    SomeJoe7777 Marginally-Known Member

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    They should be already balanced then, but it would be worth it to ask/verify to make sure.
     
  13. Don85D

    Don85D Member

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    Look for lead weights stuck on the inner portion of the rim along the centre line. There are sure to be some and that will confirm balancing has taken place. It is possible to mark the valve stem location on a tire then remove, repair and replace it without rebalancing but as a rule whenever a tire is placed on a rim it automatically goes to the balancing machine.

    It sounds to me like you worry to much. Install the new wheels and tires and take the car for a highway ride. If you are keeping the old rims for winter tires or as spares you can always go back to them with a change in the driveway.

    A bigger issue is a bent rim or a tire that has an manufacturing defect. Even after balancing there will be a vibration that is hard to track down. Road force machines help and heavy spots in the tire can be repositioned on the rim. The bad wheel can be placed on the rear axle but once the detective work is done to isolate the problem, the best solution is to replace the rim and/or tire.

    This gives you something to worry about but not yet.
     

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