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Wheels and tyres, as with any rotating object, need to be balanced in order to reduce vibration. A good example of this is when laundry is loaded into a washing machine unevenly, the drum is not correctly balanced, so vibrates. Similarly, wheel balancing ensures that the weight of the wheel and tyre is even around the axle.
You should always have your wheels balanced whenever you have new tyres fitted. Car tyres which are fitted on wheels that have not been properly balanced will wear very quickly and unevenly. This is due to the inconsistent points of friction between the tyre and the road, creating an effect like rubbing sandpaper on the tyre aggressively. Losing grip this way could be very dangerous and the vibration also makes the car’s ride very uncomfortable, possibly to a point of distraction that might lead to an accident.
Wheels are typically removed from a car before their balance is checked. They are placed in a specially-designed machine and spun to measure the vibration. Small offsetting weights are placed at points on the rim of the wheel based on results from the balancing machine. This is repeated until the machine reports that the wheel is balanced.
Smart Automobile is a company headquartered in Böblingen, Germany, that has marketed a range of microcar and subcompact vehicles. Marketed in 46 countries across Asia, North and South America, Africa, Australia and Europe, the design concept for the company's automobiles was first developed at Mercedes in the early 1970s and in the late 1980s. It was quite a lengthy gestation period, and the first model was finally launched by Daimler-Benz in 1998. Several variants on the original design have been introduced, with the original two-seater (called the Fortwo) now in its third generation and the Smart now being available as a fully electric offering.
The brand name Smart derives from its early cooperative studies with Swatch and Mercedes: Swatch Mercedes ART - although we have to say, it does make it a bit difficult to search online with a name like that! Overall, it is a very specialised company that builds ultra-compact cars, designed to carry up to four passengers through congested city streets with ease.
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