No matter what kind of tires you have, or what sort of vehicle you drive, having a well-balanced set of wheels is a factor in how smooth your ride is.
Of course, the importance of balance itself is variable, and many drivers who opt for large four wheel drive vehicles—and large tires to match—aren’t overly concerned with balance for off-roading.
However, depending on how much time you spend on the road, you might find that your 37 inch tires make the ride extremely rough if they are not suitably balanced.
Getting such large tires balanced, however, can be a challenge. While, technically speaking, tire balancing machines at some mechanics can balance 37 inch tires, they often don’t do an adequate job, so you may find yourself looking for alternative balancing options.
Here’s a quick rundown of some of the various methods and tips you can use to overcoming balancing issues with your 37 inch tires and get it right the first time.
But first, a quick look at why tire balancing matters and some of the challenges you may face.
Should You Balance Your 37 Inch Tires At All?
Tire balancing needs can range from minor to severe. On the minor end of the spectrum, unbalanced tires can cause you to experience shaking, wobbling, and vibrations when you’re driving, which can make your drive less pleasant.
While sometimes this can be no more than a minor annoyance, over time (and depending on how severe these issues are) it can damage your tires and vehicle or even become dangerous.
Chronic shaking and vibration, for example, can cause your tires to wear unevenly and prematurely. More than that, it can actually result in your suspension being damaged. If you have aftermarket parts like a custom bumper, they can also be damaged by off-balance tire issues.
There’s a common misconception that 37 inch tires don’t ever need to be balanced, because they are used primarily for off-roading. While it is true that balance isn’t a serious concern when you’re on the trail, that’s because trail driving is typically done at low speeds.
But you have to get to the trail somehow, which can require driving on regular roads. If you also use your off road vehicle as a daily driver, it’s almost essential to have them balanced. And, for some, even if they don’t drive on regular roads routinely, it’s worth it just for comfort.
Challenges of Balancing 37 Inch Tires
As you can see, there are a lot of advantages to having your large tires properly balanced, which is exactly why many drivers choose to.
If you’re just starting to look into the possibility of doing so, you may find that you’re running into some unexpected challenges, however. Here are a few obstacles you may face while balancing your 37 inch tires.
Simply because of their nature, many off road tires aren’t perfectly round when actually installed. This is by design, and it contributes to what makes them good for off road driving. Unfortunately, it can also make balancing difficult.
Since most people choose to use 37 inch tires for off roading, they also tend have specially designed treads for that purpose, and are much bulkier than tires engineered for road driving. This, too, can be a factor when it comes to properly balancing them.
Mud and Sand Contamination
One of the joys of having a four wheel drive vehicle with 37 inch tires is being able to go mudding and drive on trails—for most people, that’s the point!
Having said that, all of that fun in the dirt can result in that same dirt getting inside of the tires, which can further affect balancing.
Standard Balancing Machines Aren’t Effective
One of the first things many 37 inch tire owners do when they decide to balance their tires is contact a mechanic to do so, and in the process, discover that many mechanics won’t even attempt to balance tires of this size and type.
While a standard balancing machine might be able to fit the tire, it’s just not going to be able to address all of the issues we’ve already listed.
So How Do You Balance 37 Inch Tires?
There are three main options for balancing your own 37 inch tires:
Stick On, Clip On, and Pound On Weights
Up to tires around 40 inches, stick on and pound on weights can be very effective, if they are put on properly, which makes them an ideal solution for 37 inch tires.
They do have some downsides, however, like being knocked off when you are off-road.
Other Balancing Mediums
Balancing mediums are substances placed within the tire. These substances, things like beads, buck shot, liquids, or even sand/powder, move freely within the tire.
As the vehicle picks up speed, centrifugal force distributes the medium to unbalanced areas to reduce shaking and vibrations. The total effect might not be as good as stick on or pound on weights, but it can be a better option if you have trouble with attaching external weights for other reasons.
If you are using newer 37 inch tires, you may wish to invest in beadlock wheels. Comprised of lightweight, strong aluminum, these wheels are ideal for holding balance.
However, it’s worth noting that this is only a good option for newer tires, and not for tires that experience a lot of wear and tear. Once your tire acquires wear, gouges, and nicks, it’s more likely that the beadlock will break.
For this reason, it’s not the best option if you plan to off-road on a regular basis.
Tips for Using Stick On (And Similar) Weights
If you choose stick on, pound on, or clip on weights for optimal balancing, the following tips can help you get your 37 inch tires balanced right the first time:
- If you off road in mud or deep sand, clip on weights aren’t your best bet—they tend to come off when they come into contact with these things, and are hard to secure by alternative methods
- Stick on weights and pound on weights can also be pulled off during off roading but a layer of strong, high-quality duct tape over the top of them can help—it may not be the most attractive option, but you can remove it after you’ve had your off road fun
- Check the weights if your tires spin on the wheels—they may need to be adjusted after this.
Tips for Using Balancing Mediums
Because balancing mediums differ a great deal depending on which you use, it’s important to carefully research the pros and cons of them. Here are some tips to get you started:
- If your tires often get damp inside (or have tar that might heat up), steer clear of powders that might clump. Instead, choose gels, liquids, or solid mediums that won’t stick.
- If you are inexperienced with using balancing mediums, opt for a commercial balancing medium that has customer support in case you run into issues
- Know the specs of your tires and your vehicle—a quick search can provide you with a chart that shows just how much of which medium will work best for your vehicle.
Tips for Using Beadlock Wheels
Beadlock wheels are great, when you apply the proper tips:
- Don’t try and put older tires on them; they work flawlessly with undamaged tires, but an older tire will still wobble and likely damage the beadlock
- For maximum longevity, you can combine beadlock wheels with stick on weights or balancing mediums
- Beadlock wheels are an optimal solution, but only if you are willing to be very conscientious about tire maintenance and repair
Don’t listen to naysayers who claim that 37 inch tires can’t be balanced—they absolutely can, and in many cases, should be.
If you drive your vehicle on roads, it’s important to have well-balanced tires for comfort and to prevent damage to the tires, your vehicle, and your aftermarket parts.
A bit of research, and our quick start guide and tips, will get you headed in the right direction.
37 inch tires aren’t impossible to balance, they’re just a special use-case—but of course, you want large off road tires because you’ve chosen a vehicle for special uses.
Get the absolute most out of your four by four vehicle by choosing great tires, and taking care of them. You may be able to find a mechanic that specializes in large tires to balance them for you, of course. However, these mechanics are few and far between.
Balancing your own 37 inch tires doesn’t have to be a chore, or even particularly difficult if you follow the tips above.
You’ll extend the life of your tires and ensure that your off road vehicle and specialized equipment performs at optimal efficiency for much longer if you balance your 37 inch tires tires correctly the first time around.