If you go to a tyre shop, you’ll see vehicle tyres being balanced every day of the week. Its the normal thing to do, and if you drive with wheels and tyres that are not balanced, you’ll feel it.
The interesting thing though, is that most trailer tyres including camper trailers, caravans, horse floats and boats do not run balanced wheels. Why? I guess its cost cutting!
What’s the benefits of balancing trailer wheels?
In a vehicle, you feel the rotation of your tyres, and you know when the wheels aren’t balanced as there is feedback. On a trailer though, you don’t feel the feedback.
However, just because there is no feedback doesn’t mean they are running smoothly, and balancing your trailer wheels provides a number of benefits:
If your wheels are out of balance, every revolution its going to place more stress on your bearings. Now, lets put that into perspective.
If you drive 100km, a normal 4WD tyre will do around 40,000 revolutions. On many trailers the wheels are smaller, so you are probably doing 50,000+ revolutions, and each one of those is going to be making the bearing work harder than it should.
Shock absorber wear reduction
In the same way that imbalance can do damage to bearings, it will make your shock absorbers work harder too. This problem can be exacerbated too if your tyres start to scallop (one lug wears down, the next not much and the next down).
This further increases the wear on your shock absorbers as they are constantly trying to stop the tyre from bouncing up and down.
Better tyre wear
Tyres that are balanced properly will wear more evenly, and you are less likely to have issues with them scalloping.
Do Caravan Wheels need balancing?
The short answer is no, and a lot of manufacturers don’t bother with it. The long answer though, is its worth considering; its cheap, easy and more than likely worth while doing.
Is it worth doing?
You can get your trailer wheels balanced for under $50, and they will last a long time like that. I honestly don’t know why you wouldn’t bother for any trailer that is worth more than a few grand. If you have a nice Hybrid Camper, or Caravan, or boat, or anything else, you should absolutely get your wheels balanced.
On top of this, keeping up with regular trailer wheel alignments will ensure that your tyres have a happy, long life and that your 4WD doesn’t use more fuel towing than it needs to.
Our mud terrain tyres on the Reconn R2 have not worn well at all, and that’s probably a combination of poor alignment (and not picking it up early enough), lack of rotation of the tyres, electric brakes being up too high, a warped wheel and not getting them balanced initially.