This author has 35 years' experience as a successful owner-operator of an auto repair shop and buyer and seller of auto repair equipment.
Best Wheel Balancers
Wheel balancers have had to change lately to accommodate the very large wheels now available for many cars. The thing is, though, unless you run an auto shop that specialises in balancing modern wheels or selling tires for them, it may be better to outsource a few wheel balance jobs for larger wheels, and keep your old machine at least until we see where this large wheel trend ends.
Most early wheel balancers will do up to 18" wheels in several different balancing modes, including stick-on balance weights and inside weights used on some alloy wheels that require them.
Wheel balancers, like all automotive equipment, work very hard, and quality machinery is essential. Don't get caught with a cheap one. You will regret it daily!
There are many good makes and models of wheel balancers that are now reasonably priced because they will not balance wheels above 19 or 20 inches in size. The ones I have reconditioned and tested are listed in order of my preferences, but all have their place.
Coats have been making wheel balancers forever! All of their early and late model automotive equipment has been first class apart. Apart from some easily broken touch pads they had at one time on their truck wheel balancers, they have very few problems.
Most of their machines have big, heavy motors and can take on a very heavy wheel/tire combination with ease. The later ones used a smart-clutch start to be able to handle heavy work. Simple yet sophisticated, these are amongst my favourite wheel balancers.
The very compact 700 series is a great little balancer that can handle big jobs. The balancing speed is slow and this unit does not require a protective cover.
Beissbarth has made some wonderful equipment, but in repairing their wheel balancers I have found some models to be better than others. Like Hoffman, they make great automotive equipment and machinery but have made a few lemons as well over the years. So be careful buying a used one unless you know the models and their shortcomings. If you have a good technician, Hoffmans can be sorted and made near bulletproof by changing a few chips.
One way to judge a balancer is by knowing who is using them, and both Hoffman and Beissbarth have a solid following from major car manufacturers which does give them heaps of credibility.
Wheel balancer cones and wheel mounting tools are expensive to buy, and calibration usually costs over $80 call-out charged and $80 an hour or more for the technician.
The cheap Chinese balancers are as good as their tire changers with lousy, cheap motherboards and even worse metallurgy. You could not give me a Chinese wheel balancer after having worked on them!
The Famous Repco 472 Wheel Balancer
Developed from the earlier 470 single phase, the Repco 471 was even better. Reliable, accurate, and well designed, it sold like hot cross buns at Easter. Only a few tools are required to mount many different wheels. An easy set-up and legendary accuracy set these aside as a brilliant wheel balancer.
The early model did up to 14" wheels but was equally accurate, although some updates did occur with switch and other modifications. It remained much the same until the 471 which took 16" wheels.
I have sold so many of these 471 and 472 balancers I lost count.
With all the balancers we rebuilt and sold, these are a favourite to sell because they are so reliable once mounted properly in place with 2 loxins holding two metal plates that fit over the base of the machine.
Wheel Balancer Tips
Wheel balancers need to be bolt-mounted to the floor to perform properly. I was fortunate enough to have the service manager of the factory that manufactured these and other machinery to offer advice and guidance on the ones I had for sale. He is a good friend and a well-known writer by the profile name Agvulpes!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.