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Balancing Wheels With Hub Centric Rings

This column is a part of our Product Insights Series, where our product managers discuss timely industry topics and share their know-how about all things automotive service. Check back monthly for more.

If you’re in the auto repair business you undoubtedly had the customer return back to shop and complain about something. This could be something simple like greasy hand prints on the steering wheel, or an obvious wheel vibration. While a greasy fingerprint on a door handle is an easy solve, sometimes the wheel vibration takes a little more investigation. 

Aftermarket wheels are becoming more common on vehicles from custom cars to daily drivers and can sometimes cause problems for technicians servicing these vehicles.

Aftermarket wheels can often be used on multiple vehicles requiring Hub Centric adapter rings to adapt the wheels to different vehicle hub bore sizes. It is common for these rings to fall out or become damaged while mounting new tires and balancing a set of wheels. Unfortunately, sometimes a technician will find these left on the balancer shaft or the floor after the vehicle has already left. If the rings are missing or damaged the wheel cannot center properly on the car and this WILL cause a vibration at speed.

The best way to prevent this is to identify the presence of the hub-centric rings on a wheel before it is balanced, and carefully remove them for balancing. It’s also good to note that lug-centric aftermarket wheels, should be balanced using a pin plate adaptor to ensure the assembly is centered the same way as on the vehicle.

Once balancing is complete the rings can be reinstalled. If the rings are missing or become damaged, simply replace the rings with a set made of a solid material such as aluminum or polymer that fits tightly against the hub of the vehicle and fits snugly inside the hub bore center of the wheel. In case of a lost ring, you’ll need to take measurements of both the inner and outer diameter of the hub bore. If the wheel cannot be centered on the vehicle, it doesn’t matter how well-balanced it is.

Remembering to look for a hub-centric ring when servicing aftermarket wheels is one more way you can prevent comebacks, and keep your customers confident you have the attention to detail required to service their vehicle.