I use the Harbor Freight manual tire changing tool. Have it bolted to the floor. Even if I could get tires mounted for free I probably still do them myself because it's way more convenient to DIY. By the time I get the tire and wheels in the car and drive them down to town and wait and wait and then get back home - I could have had it done 2X over by DIY.
Our family has several cars and I have farm equipment with lots of tires. The farm equipment almost always uses tubes and the tire guys usually ruin the tubes on the machine.
I spin balance the tires on the front of the car (front wheel drive). I've gotten good at it over the years and it only takes a few minutes per tire. If the rear bearings are real smooth and easy to turn then I can statically balance the tire on the rear before I dynamically balance it on the front. Sometimes the result is not as good as computer balancing but it's always real good.
The one method I've heard is to bring a piece of chalk gradually up to the wheel when it's spinning fast and the first place it touches is the heavy spot.
I remember The RoadWarrior..To understand who he was, you have to go back to another time..the world was powered by the black fuel & the desert sprouted great cities..Gone now, swept away..two mighty warrior tribes went to war & touched off a blaze which engulfed them all. Without fuel, they were nothing..thundering machines sputtered & stopped..Only those mobile enough to scavenge, brutal enough to pillage would survive. The gangs took over the highways, ready to wage war for a tank of juice
Nah, that's where the tread has separated from the carcass when you drove over it to break the bead seal the last time you dismounted it at home.
A square tire (or a crank shaft, for that matter) can be "balanced", but it won't roll worth a damn.
Dynamic balancing refers to the tire in motion.You need to find the heavy spot but this is not always in the middle of the tread. It could be one one side of the tread. Or there may be two heavy spots. This can get tricky.
Basic instructions to get started:
It will take some time to get a feel for how this works.
Spin the wheel with no weights on it. Notice if the unbalance is just up and down (shaking the car) or it's wiggling the steering wheel.
The wiggly steering wheel indicates the heavy spot is not centered on the tread and may require the weight or weights to be placed on the inner or outer or both sides of the wheel.
Start by placing a weight on the outside by the valve stem (you have to start somewhere )
Spin the wheel again.Move the weight around the wheel. Notice where it is best and worst. When you find the best spot try heavier or lighter weights. Move the weight to the inside of the wheel. Try again.
Once you've done a few dozen wheels you get the hang of it.
It gets more complicated than just one weight. Sometimes you need to put one weight on the inside with another weight 180 degrees apart on the outside.
I learned how to balance wheels like this because the wheels on the Citroens I was driving would not fit on any balance machine made. I had no choice but to learn how to balance the wheels on the car.
I mount/dismount tubed motorcycle, trailer, and hay wagon (low speed) tires. But never balanced any of them. Sometimes I mess up the sealing edges- which is no problem with a tube, but it would ruin a tubeless.
The tire shop I use for tubeless tires charges $9 to mount and balance. Maybe you could shop around and find a bored gas station mechanic to cut you a deal on doing the whole set.
I have one of those changers. I've done countless amounts of tires on it myself. That thing has paid for itself hundreds of times over! One drawback to this type of changer though, they are hell on aluminum. You will scratch the snot out of the finish!
I also have an old oil filled bubble balancer. It works great on larger wheels, but doesn't fit the inner hub of alot of newer cars.
Balancing tires at home works best if you are doing it on the non-drive wheels without disk brakes. Used to do it on my Corvair back in the day. I've also done it on the back of my Geo. Someone ambitious might rig up something with a junkyard hub and spindle for their car mounted to a stand to hold the tire/wheel vertical.
__________________ "We are forces of chaos and anarchy. Everything they say we are we are, and we are very proud of ourselves!" -- Jefferson Airplane
Dick Naugle says: 1. Prepare food fresh. 2. Serve customers fast. 3. Keep place clean.
I did that once. I mounted a rear hub to the end of a work bench. The hub had a nice smooth and slightly loose bearing so it would spin freely. Then I could static balance the wheel before it went on the car.