Have you ever spotted a Red or Yellow painted dot on your vehicle after buying a new or used car, or after getting your already owned vehicle serviced and wondered to yourself "what could this dot mean?" Well, we are going to clear some of the questions you guys have for us regarding just that.
These paint dots are not on every tire, but you'll be in luck if yours have them as it makes it easier to balance your tires.
What does a Red or Yellow dot on the tires of my vehicle mean? Do they mean that my tires are damaged or going to blow out? Are my tires close to its expiration date? Do these dots mean the tires are on sale? The quick and short answer to all of questions is a big flat out NO! Here is what those dots do mean though. For those who work in tire manufactures you will know that it is difficult for manufactures to always make a perfectly round and balanced tire all the time, so manufactures add these dots to any irregularities that may be happening with the tire.
Where Are the Paint Dots usually located so I can check my tires?
The yellow dots identifies where a tire weighs the least at, which is the least heaviest section of the tire. As mentioned, when tires are made, it is almost impossible to get them perfectly balanced and most manufacturers will add a yellow dot on the area where the tire weights the least.
It is very important to line up the yellow dot with the valve stem as this is the heaviest point of the wheel, remember this when you are installing and balancing your tires that have these markings.
The red dots indicates where the tire is the flattest. The red dot should be placed directly across from the highest point of the wheel. These markings can sometimes be replaced with either a drilled dot or a sticker to indicate the lowest point. If your tire has these markings, then you should be mindful to align the red dot directly with the markings and not worry about the the Yellow dot.
Keep this simple rule in mind. If the tire has both a yellow and red dot, the yellow dot should be ignored, and you should focus on aligning the red dot when balancing the tire.
Are these dots even important?
These dots that mark irregularities on tires can help mechanics and service technicians properly install the and balance these tires properly. Having reliable and balanced tires are very important for a more a comfortable and safer ride, and believe it or not, but those dots help a lot.
These dots mark inconsistencies in the tires structure, shape and weight of the tire, all of which can cause your car to vibrate and jump when in motion. This can lead to rough rides, bad fuel milage and many more issues can occur when your tires are not balanced. Having unbalanced tires can also cause you to have a slower stopping time compared to someone who has had their tires balanced
What Is Wheel Balancing and Why Is it Important?
It might not seem very important to have a balanced set of wheels, but it is. It is liking leaving the house without having all your eggs in your basket.
You will know when your tires need balancing as your ride will become unpleasant with vibrations.
Balancing your wheel/tire is meant to find issues where the tire needs correcting in order to create a smoother ride. Wheel/tire spins helps locate where the weight of the wheel needs to be placed, this will eliminate any vibrations that car is having, well should unless you have a bigger issue.
Traveling on the roadways with unbalanced tires can result in dangerous bald spots forming on your tires, which will eat away at your treads result in losing grip between the road and it will shorten the lifespan of your tires.
If you continue to travel with bad balanced wheels, it can result in premature suspension component failures as well, which will just cost you more money in the long run.
When balancing your wheels, it is important to remember the two common types of wheel balancing, which are dynamic and match-balancing.
A dynamic wheel balances is the process of adding wheel weights to correct the tires imbalance that can result in tire hopping.
Match-balancing is the process of matching all the tires lowest points to the wheel's highest points, resulting in a much nicer and smoother ride.
What Are the Main Reasons A Tire Can Become Unbalanced?
As a Gear Head and someone who has worked on cars for several years now, I can tell you that there isn't really just one underlining cause to why your tires can become unbalanced as there are so many reasons why it can happen in the first place.
The most common reason for your tires to become unbalanced is because the weight around the tire/wheels are no longer even across the tire, this could be because you have low tire pressure to tread wear.
There are many reasons other than weight imbalances, we have listed them below.
You are losing air in one or more tires because they are damaged or have a nail in them.
Tire/wheel assembly becomes lighter as tires wear.
Improper alignment results in abnormal tire wear.
A wheel weight has fallen off. An improper wheel or tire repair.
Tires are over or under-inflated.
The car has been sitting in one place too long.
A leaking valve stem.
Cold Mornings can cause your tire to "inflate."
The wheel is damaged from hitting a pothole or bouncing into a curb.
It is important to check your tire pressure every so often and rotate your tire/wheels every 5,000 to 8,000 miles to extend your tires life.
The job to rotate and balanced your tires can be expensive especially if they don't have these dot to indicate where things need to go, so ensure you're going to a mechanic that has experience and knows what they are doing so the job can get done right and safely.
If you are a visual learner like me, then watch the video below.