I have enjoyed reading your help for car owners for years. Now I need your help. When I was working and had my car, I took care of my own maintenance. When I had the tires rotated, I always paid to have them balanced. Now retired, my husband and I share a car. We recently had the tires rotated on our 2007 Toyota Corolla. My husband would not pay to have the tires balanced. He said this is not necessary unless new tires are put on. He said the tires had been balanced when they were first put on the rims, and balancing is not needed just because they are now in a different position on the car. Is he right? -- Dorothy
RAY: You might want to sit down, Dorothy. Because he IS right.
TOM: Take a few deep breaths, Dorothy. The lightheaded feeling will pass. Generally speaking, tires get balanced for specific wheels, or rims, as you call them. So if you move the whole package (tire and wheel) to another position on the car, it shouldn't need to be balanced again.
RAY: Now, there are exceptions. Tires can become unbalanced. Like my brother.
TOM: Sure. The most common causes of unbalanced tires are wheel weights that fall off, bent rims or tires that have been damaged. Those events often are associated with hitting a curb or driving over a really nasty pothole.
RAY: If a front wheel were to go out of balance due to some such event, you'd probably notice that right away. You'd get a shimmy or wobble that would get telegraphed up the steering wheel. But if it happens to a rear wheel, it might go unnoticed for a while.
TOM: And if you then have your tires rotated, and that unbalanced rear tire then gets rotated to the front, you'll suddenly notice a problem. In that case, a rebalancing would be necessary.
RAY: But your husband is right, Dorothy. The tires don't have to be balanced automatically whenever they're rotated. If you drive away and have a problem, then you can go back and try to blame it on the guys who rotated the tires. And when that doesn't work, you can pay them to rebalance the tires.
Used cars can be a great bargain, and reliable, too! Find out why by ordering Tom and Ray's pamphlet "How to Buy a Great Used Car: Secrets Only Your Mechanic Knows." Send $4.75 (check or money order) to Used Car, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475.
Get more Click and Clack in their new book, "Ask Click and Clack: Answers from Car Talk." Got a question about cars? Write to Click and Clack in care of this newspaper, or email them by visiting the Car Talk website at www.cartalk.com.
(c) 2012 by Tom and Ray Magliozzi and Doug Berman
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.