1994 Mazda Miata: Bringing Balance To The Force
July 07, 2010
In last week's post about driving our Mazda Miata on the highway, I mentioned that I thought a tire was out of balance because of a vibration coming through the steering wheel. We had the new tires balanced when we had them mounted, but apparently Miatas are very sensitive to even slightly imbalanced tires. So editor Jay Kavanagh (who's overseeing the Miata project) suggested getting a "road force" balance. A few commenters on that post also suggested the same thing.
So I tracked down a shop (my local Tire Pros) with a road force balancer by using this site. As the description reads for the Hunter GSP9700: "[It] solves wheel vibration and tire pull problems that other balancers and aligners can't fix."
You can read all about it on the site, but basically it simulates actual road force on the tire by applying pressure from a rotating drum and takes more measurements than a regular balancer. Near as I can tell, it's like the A-Team -- "If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the GSP9700."
Oh, nearly forgot -- yep, two tires required further balancing. Total cost was $64. And after a brief drive on the freeway, it seems like the steering wheel vibration has been cured.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor.