After unsuccessful attempts at wheel balancing at a couple of places (had to take wheels back and they admitted they weren't balanced properly) I'm seriously considering a bubble balancer. Anyone use one?
Just normal 15/16 size wheels. I don't want to sound like a grumpy old man, but I've used two different places quite a few years apart for wheel balancing where I live that were highly recommended. Both times I had to take them back to get them fixed. Add in the fact I'm quickly coming to the point where I just think if I can do things myself, I'd rather (assuming time, affordability) because I've had so many times where I think jobs are half-as&ed. I happened to mention this at work the other day and I got inundated with similar tales!
Anyway, I thought I'd give a bubble wheel balancer a go, and assuming its accurate, *know* I've done the job.
I haven't seen one used for many years.
Unless you can pick them up cheaply in the US, (plus of course the cost of the weights), the first question I would be asking myself is it worth it for your mileage? Unless you are a high miler, your tyres wear out quickly, or you have a mini fleet of vehicles to maintain, I would have thought once you have set your tyres, that's it until they need replacing.
Some places can't balance wheels. Went through a stage where the fitter was putting the wrong data in for the wheel. Best balancing I've had was a mobile AA fitter who replaced my 4 tyres 4 years ago. The fronts have been on and off a couple of times, including recently, and there has been no need to re-balance them - possibly the tyre is also well made too. I've had times when I've been back at least twice, including them getting the tracking out (steering wheel badly aligned).
You can buy them over here for around fifty quid. However, they would be Chinese made imports -which, IMHO can have a problem with quality control. If I buy one I'll wait until someone is selling a used US-made one. I think you are always better off getting quality tools, especially if they are the same price (even if a little used).
Tried them on my 4x4 and they were ok for a while but you really need to use a dried air supply or else they get damp and start clumping which becomes worse than not having any balancing (don't ask me how I know).
Just recently had them all cleaned out and balanced normally and smooth happiness has returned.
I have also swapped tyres around by hand with tyre levers on the Landrover, worked up quite a sweat doing a set of 5!