One of the problems of owning a pickup truck with large (36 inch and taller) tires is keeping them in balance so they don't shake or drone. As the tires repeatedly heat up and cool, and suffer occasional punishment on weekends, the large amount of rubber and overall size can easily get out of round. Enter Dyna Beads. These little beads are an inexpensive alternative to constantly having your truck tires professionally balanced.
These beads may seem like a "snake-oil" product, but they seem to work pretty well from our own experience and from the experience of people we talked with. According to the makers of Dyna Beads, they can be used on smaller tires (they are popular with motorcycle and all-terrain-vehicle owners), but some of our sources have noted that professional tire balancing might work better with the fine-tuning needed on smaller (less than 36 inches tall) truck tires.
How the Beads Work
Dyna Beads are small ceramic beads (similar to BBs) that spread out along the inside of the tire with centrifugal force. These beads collect in heavy or low spots in the tire and counterbalance the tire action. For example, if the tire goes up, the beads go down — which works to smooth out the trouble spots in the tire.
The thing to remember is that no tire is perfect; they all have some inherent heavy spots. These beads minimize the effects of these spots as the tire spins faster and faster.
Here is a video showing how they theoretically work.
Why Not Stock Truck Tires?
You might be thinking: If they work so well in larger tires and motorcycle tires, why not in a stock tire? The majority of today's passenger cars use a totally different tire style than what was the norm 15 years ago, according to the Dyna Beads website. The site says that today's tires are wider, flatter and in many cases closer to the rim than older tires. The new issue here is lateral balance. Also, the popularity of today's lower-profile sidewalls means that they may not be the best candidate for using Dyna Beads as the sole balancing method.
Our advice is if you've been having trouble with odd wear patches on your big-truck tires, this could be the best (and least expensive) solution for you.
The wear patches happen because these tires having a higher incidence of lateral imbalance. This is when one side of the tire is heavier than the other side, creating a "wobbling" effect or "shaking" of the steering wheel. To properly address this imbalance, you will need to use the traditional method of balancing with weights on the wheel rim.
Where to Buy Dyna Beads
Most tire stores sell Dyna Beads or similar products. Typically you can buy them in different amounts and have them installed when the rim is put on the tire.
This chart shows how many ounces you need for various size tires. In short, a 36-inch tire needs between 8 and 10 ounces (depending on rim width and ply rating).
An 8-ounce bag runs around $15 to $20.