A tire balancing machine is a must-have tool for those of you who plan on opening your own auto shop. After scouring the market, you’ve probably come across dozens of different models with a ton of variance. The problem isn’t finding a working tire balancing machine, but rather finding the best. If your quest is the find the best tire balancer, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve taken a look at numerous models that the market has to offer and settled on these five machines.
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5 Best Tire Balancing Machines
Mayflower 680 Wheel Balancer Machine
The Mayflower 680 is one of the simplest yet most effective wheel balancers we’ve ever tried. First of all, the 680 is able to balance wheels that measure up to 44 inches in diameter (10 to 24 inches rim diameter) and up to 20 inches wide. The maximum weight of a wheel that can slid onto the shaft is 155 pounds.
After mounting the tire, the balancing process takes only between 6 and 9 seconds before giving you an accurate (±1-gram of variance) reading of where the tire is unbalanced. The 680 comes with all the tools and accessories you need to get started, such as multi-sized cones, a tire width measuring tool, and a set of stick-on weights to balance your first tire.
Mayflower 950 Tire Changer with Bead Blaster
Though not a wheel balancer, the Mayflower 950 is another essential tool to have in your auto shop or garage. Together with a wheel balancer, you can a lot of DIY car maintenance at home with your very own tire changer. The 950 is an excellent tire changer that comes with clamps that grasp onto rims as large as 20 inches (24-inch inner diameter) or 37-inch diameter wheels.
The great thing about this is to break beads, you can simply point the included bead blaster. It takes less than a second and is done by pushing the pedal halfway down. To use this machine, you’ll need to have your own air compressor. Mayflower recommends using a 20-gallon tank that generates at least 90 PSI.
Mayflower 980 Tire Changer and 800 Wheel Balancer Combo Kit
If you’re looking to build your auto shop or DIY garage from the bottom up, then there’s no better place than to start with a tire changer and wheel balancer combo kit.
Mayflower offers a pack that includes the 980 Tire Changer and the 800 Wheel Balancer. The 980 is a semi-automatic tire changer that features a powerful 1-1/2-HP motor. The bird head and protector claws are able to grab hold onto rims of between 13 and 24 inches (15 to 28 inches inner diameter).
With a 5,600 pounds of pneumatic power, the tire changer can break even the toughest beads on any tire with relative ease. Or you can use the included bead blaster to separate the tire’s beads from the rim in the blink of an eye (air compressor of between 120 and 145 PSI required). As for the 800 Wheel Balancer, you get the same magnificent power and balancing accuracy (±1-gram variance) ass the 680. The only difference between the two is that the 500 is red in color.
Mayflower 950 Tire Changer and 680 Wheel Balancer with Bead Blaster Combo Kit
If you like the large wheel capacity of the 950 and prefer a wheel changer coated in a blue finish, then consider this combo kit. Instead of purchasing the two individually, Mayflower has the 950 Tire Changer and the 680 Tire Balancer packed up and ready to ship to your front step.
With this combo kit, you’ll have all you need to change and balance the tires of large trucks and SUVs. There’s also a motorcycle cone in the pack if the odd rider decides to stop by your shop for a quick tuning.
Mayflower 560 Tire Changer and 680 Wheel Balancer Combo Kit
Maybe you like the large capacity of the 680 Wheel Balancer but don’t have enormously large wheels on your car. Instead of spending your hard-earned cash on a wheel changer that’s too large to grasp onto your sedan or hatchback’s tires, you might find more use out of the
Mayflower 560 Tire Changer.
The 560’s clamps support rims of between 10 and 18 inches (12 to 21 inches inner diameter) and wheels of up to 35 inches in diameter. There’s no bead blaster, but the onboard bead breaker should do the trick just fine.
Tire Balancing Machine Buying Guide
Do I need a tire balancing machine?
This depends on how serious you are about taking care of your car and how far away the nearest auto shop is to your home. The slightest imbalance can lead to adverse effects later on. In fact, it only takes a couple of miles of driving on unbalanced wheels before you may notice a slight rocking. Plus, the uneven weight distribution on your tires will add strain on the suspension and bearings which will lead to costly repairs later on. Do yourself a favor and get your tires balanced periodically, either with your own wheel balancer or by getting it done professionally (the costlier option over time).
Combo Kit or Single Tool?
This depends entirely up to you. We’d personally recommend getting a combo wheel changer and tire balancer kit since – at least if you treat your car like it’s your baby – the machines will pay for themselves eventually. You might also want to get a combo kit if you’re looking to build your own auto shop from the bottom. Remember: it’s much more cost-effective to purchase both tools in a kit than to get them individually. However, if you’re looking to upgrade your existing tire changer or balancer, then getting a single tool is definitely the more affordable option.
Things to Consider when Shopping for a Tire Balancer
Firstly, you’ll need to determine whether the tire balancer can actually support your and/or your customers’ wheels. The length of the shaft – the piece that juts outward on the side of the machine – should give you a rough idea of the maximum wheel width that can fit safely onto the machine.
Included Cones and Flange Discs
The cones that come in the box are used to balance wheels of various sizes. Obviously, the you’ll need to use the correct-size cone with the wheel to prevent wiggling while the wheel spins on the shaft. In the case of these Mayflower products, their cones may not be the correct size for your wheels, especially if we’re talking about motorcycle wheels or humongous truck wheels. In either case, you may need to purchase cones separately.
Weight Sensitivity and Included Weights
The products we mentioned on our list have an accuracy of ±1 gram which is among the most accurate available on the market. You really shouldn’t invest in a machine that produces greater variance since, as we stated earlier, the slightest imbalance can cause some pretty serious damage the longer you ignore it.
Ease of Use
Tire balancing machines may seem like complicated tools, but after reading the manual of these Mayflower products, everything will become crystal-clear. All you need to do is measure the distance between the side of the machine and the wheel (a built-in ruler can help with that), the width of the wheel, and the diameter of the tire. Fasten the oversized wing nut onto the outer end of the shaft, and give the tire a pre-roll to see whether it spins without wobbling. Give it another pre-roll and turn the machine on. After around 5 seconds, these Mayflower tire balancing machines will give you an accurate reading of which spots – if any – are imbalanced and need stick-on weights.
1. Will these machines only balance car tires?
Car tires, motorcycle tires, tractor tires – you name it. As long as the rim can be mounted onto the shaft, you’re good to begin the balancing process. However, even though these balancing machines can be used on all types of tires, this doesn’t mean the included cones and attachments are compatible. If the cones don’t fit, you’ll need to purchase them separately. They’re relatively inexpensive and last for several years.
2. What if I want to change tires of smaller diameters (8 inches or less)?
You can change tires of any size using any of these Mayflower tire changing machines. The only thing is that their grips are made for tires of a specific diameter range. To change tires on smaller rims, you’ll need to purchase a dual function adapter separately. If you’d like to go beyond the clamp’s capacity, then you’re out of luck. The only thing you can do is get a larger tire changing machine to do the job.
3. How important is the bead blaster (comparing the 560 and 950 Tire Changing Machines)?
In our opinion, a bead blaster can be extremely valuable if you work with dozens or hundreds of tires daily. They speed up the job of removing the beads from the rim when changing tires. However, if you plan on using your tire changer exclusively for your personal vehicles, then speed may not be of much importance, and you can easily get through life with the built-in bead breaker. Essentially, a bead can increase productivity if and only if you run a professional auto shop.
Maintaining well-balanced tires is important in ensuring the longevity of your tires. Regardless of how careful you are when driving, there will come a time when the tires become unbalanced, and ignoring this problem will cause not only damage to the tires but also to your car’s suspension – a whole other set of problems to deal with. If you’re interested in investing in your own tire balancer, either for personal use or as a basis for our commercial garage, then there’s no better place to start than with Mayflower’s selection of machines.