2009 - Volume #33, Issue #1, Page #29[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Automatic Wheel Balancers Save Money, Extend Tire Life
"We have a balancer on display in our offices that was used for 1.4 million miles, and we've had reports of some with even more miles on them," says Lee Quick of Centramatic. "We also display a 24.5-in. steer tire with 221,325 miles and four drive tires with 436,235 miles on them, all on the original tread."
For scientific proof, the company relies on Auburn University and their mile and a half test track. Auburn runs trucks five days a week, 24 hours a day.
"They were getting 40,000 to 42,000 miles on their tires," says Quick. "With our balancers, they went to 85,000 to 92,000 miles, depending on the type of truck."
The company makes balancers for a wide range of vehicles from light duty jeeps, pickups and Hummers to recreational vehicles, motor coaches and school buses. Of course, over-the-road semis are also a big market. The pellets are made from a combination of three different metals so they don't magnetize at high speed. The fluid lubricates the pellets, dampens vibration and helps provide balance at lower speeds.
The balancer consists of a bolt-on steel disc with a closed metal loop around the perimeter that's filled with metal pellets and fluid.
"You can balance a wheel with weights, but 20 miles down the road, you hit a hole, and you have to do it all over again," says Quick. "Our balancers have a five year, unlimited miles warranty."
The key is the free movement of the pellets. Centrifugal force distributes the pellets as needed to balance the wheel and to compensate for out-of-balance conditions as they occur.
Keeping wheels in balance doesn't just extend tire life, adds Quick. It also reduces vibration, and that is important to the life of the vehicle and the driver. He says fleets that have installed Centramatic balancers have reduced maintenance costs by 25 percent. "Many of our customers get far above that," he says. "We have a customer in Florida that has a fleet that averages 225,000 miles per steer tire. Of course, they also have a good fleet manager, and they monitor air pressure closely."
Centramatic balancers fit from 14-in. to 24.5-in. wheel applications. Balancers for duals fit between the dual wheels. Prices range from $199 to $279.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Centramatic, 5345 South I-35W, Alvarado, Texas 76009 (ph 817 783-6396 or 800 523-8473; fax 817 783-3267; www.centramatic.com).
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