It is best to dynamically balance tires, commonly called spin balancing. A dynamic balancer can correct imbalance that is a result of the speed of rotation.
Unless you own a spin balancer, you might not get the quality job you paid for.
The tire jockey is usually paid minimum wage and might not care about quality. A tire balancer is a precision machine. When treated rough, it can be knocked out of calibration. Rim width, diameter, and offset distance must be carefully programmed into the machine.
Modern passenger car tires don’t have a lot of variance. If the tire jockey does a sloppy job, most customers will never notice. Larger truck tires are another matter. I could not get an acceptable balance job out of the chain tire store.
This tire had multiple weights. The tire was first spun on the machine and weight locations were calculated. After placing the weights, the tire was spun a second time. If the weights were placed properly, the tire should have reported as balanced. If not, I would have removed the weights and started over. This tire jockey chose to add a second set of weights.
This tire had a cut weight. Instead of using the correct weight, the tire jockey cut off a chunk to make it lighter. A tire store should have a full selection of weights.
I have an inexpensive static balancer from Harbor Freight. A static balancer is “old school”. While not as good as a dynamic balancer, if care is taken, it can do an acceptable job. My wheel weight pliers and assortment of weights are also shown.
Here is a closer picture of my weight pliers. I think I got them from a NAPA Auto Parts store. They are used to install and remove weights.
Set the balancer on a level floor. Use a sheltered location, as wind can affect the balance. The bubble level can be zeroed by adjusting the three screws. Center the bubble in the circle. It is important to be as accurate as possible. I am able to detect 1/4 oz. of imbalance with my Harbor Freight balancer.
Push the tire down on the balancer to make sure it is fully seated and centered on the cone. Rock it a little to make sure the head is balancing properly on the needle. I like to make a chalk mark on the tire where the bubble deflects. This is the light side of the tire. Stack weights near the edge of the rim until the bubble centers. If 1 oz. or less, half the weight is installed on the outside of the rim. The other half is installed on the inside. If more than 1 oz. is needed, add enough weight to slightly over balance the tire. Use four equally sized weights. Move these weights an equal distance from the light spot until the bubble centers. Then mark the weight locations with chalk. These sets of weights should be about six inches apart. If closer, more weight is needed. If farther, use less weight. Install a weight on both the inside and outside at each location marked. With this 4 weight method, there is less chance of a dynamic imbalance.
Remove the tire from the balancer before hammering the weights on the chalk marked locations. If using tape weights, place them on the inside center of the rim. Tape weights cannot be removed and repositioned. They are also known to come loose. Place the tire back on the balancer and confirm the bubble is centered. It is a good idea to pick the tire up, rotate it 90°, and set it back on the balancer. This confirms the accuracy of the balance.