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Secrets to getting a good balance (Pin Plates, collets and repeatability)

May 31, 2021

You’re more likely to get a bad balance than you are a good balance, and it all comes down to the operator and sometimes the accessories they have to work with.

The golden rule to a good balance is repeatability; and that doesn’t mean just re-spinning. After a balance is confirmed the wheel needs to be completely unloaded; collet/cone removed, clamp undone and the whole wheel rotated at random to a new position.

Upon remounting and respinning, if the result continues to show zero then you know you’re truly at zero.

It’s exceptionally rare that you will find a shop doing this and the reason is time; remounting takes at least twice as long.

The process seems simple; choose a cone/collet that seems to fit right and tighten er up right? Not so fast, only if the selection shows repeatability; on my shelf of 15 collets and 6 cones, at any one time I can find 3 that fit “pretty good” but only 1 will truly produce repeatable results.

Some makers even have vehicle specific collets such as the below BMW collet. It cant be understated that the probability of any tire shop aside from a very specialty high-end shop or dealership having these is very low, as its cost prohibitive to buy specific collets for literally every make and model range.

Pin plates is the other unspoken and seldom owned accessory; it too is sparingly used for the same reason, time! Finding the right plate, bolt pattern and pins all take substantially more time than just direct clamping with rubber. This is of course all assuming the shop even has pin plates, as a kit can cost nearly as much as the balancer itself.

Unfortunate there is no easy answer here, a majority of shops are pumping out subpar balanced wheels; these assemblies are probably “good enough” to take care of those 1 ounce swings, but not down to a fine balance.

Unless you’re willing to buy your own balancer, the best you can do is supply your own vehicle specific collet and pin plate and find a shop willing to use them. Most balancers these days are 40mm shaft, so carrying around a 40mm plate and 40mm collet should prove successful even if it means a few weird looks from the tire shop.

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