Can you really change pistons without balancing? Let’s find out

Like any other vital components in your car, pistons may develop an issue that demands replacement. One of the common reasons for piston replacement is when piston rings have a tone or worn out, continuous the production of excessive smoke, and when the car consumes oil excessively. 

Replacing bad pistons with new ones takes a bit of technical procedure to put all accessories in the proper position. To achieve this, you can apply piston balancing for each piston assembly to be within 0.1 grams.

Balancing in pistons involves matching and mixing specific accessories to slightly absorb weight from the heavier ones to match the less heavy accessories. Piston balancing enhances high piston performance and durability for all piston accessories.

But can you change pistons without balancing?

The answer to this question is yes, it is possible to change pistons without balancing. In other words, if you want to replace the old piston with a new one, there is no need for balance for the accessories. Because the old piston had a balance, you install the new one in the position where the old one was installed. The new one will just fit and pick the weight balance as the old one, and you are good to go. 

Again, if you are rebuilding a piston with all factory components, it is unnecessary to balance unless you want the pistons to be the best.

However, if you have aftermarket components like different rods, pistons, and cranks, then balancing will be vital. Moreover, using a new piston that is lighter and does not weigh more than fifty-two percent, there is no problem, but if you substitute with a heavier than ten grams can be a problem. 

Are engines balanced from the factory?

In most cases, the step of balancing the engine’s rotating assembly is overlooked. However, the step is essential as it adds some longevity, smoothness, and performance to engines. Proper internal balancing of engines adds longevity and performance to engines due to reduced wear and tear.

So, are engines balanced at the factory? Yes, they are all balanced at the factory but not to the same degree as the one required for a high-performance street or racing engine. Factory balance of engines is enough production cars that experience constant high rpm blasts. 

How do you balance a set of pistons?

When it comes to balancing the piston assembly for an engine, it’s a task that’s often left to the engine mechanics. However, it can be easily performed at the home workshop without requiring thousands of dollars worth of equipment.

If you want to balance your pistons, you need a set of precision scales to remove material from the pistons. 

There’s a variety of techniques you can use to remove material from pistons depending on exactly how much you need to remove.

If you need to remove the material from pistons, a power file, or a lunar shell, you can use die grinders to remove the material quickly.

When balancing the piston assembly, you’re trying to achieve balance to within a tenth of a gram. However, while balancing, it is not strictly necessary to achieve the more OK balance because you can take a lot of time.

Balancing can be well achieved using a measuring scale that can monitor the weight of all materials making up complete pistons. The piston assembly consists of a piston, respin, response locks, and ring pack.

Using a scale, place the response locks, pair at a time, and take their weight. Place the ring packs, a couple after the other on the scale, and record their weight. Repeat the same procedure on the pistons and respin one after the other.

Using your weight record, try to match the lighter assemblies with heavier ones to achieve a balance of 10th grams in each complete piston assembly.

How close should piston weights be?

The most common piston weight balance should be about five-gram tolerance or even closer. However, the overall weight difference can vary up to even two grams on some pistons. 

What happens if an engine is unbalanced?

If the engine or load motor is not balanced, it results in motor overloading, hence stressing the other parts besides producing dangerous and unpleasant vibrations.

Moreover, it can lead to fully frozen bearings or broken gear. It is essential to chronically disconnect the engine’s motor from its operating line if your car trips regularly. 

How much does it cost to rebalance?

The cost of rebalancing a posting varies depending on the time taken to balance, the mechanic you visit, among others. Averagely, it can cost about $200 to rebalance a piston.

The procedure will approximately take two hours to complete, only when everything else has no problem to be fixed. If there are other services like adding extra weight for a perfect balance, the price will rise accordingly. As the time is taken in balancing increases, the price will as well go up. 

What does a mechanic need to do the balancing right?

For a mechanic to do the balancing right, he needs the following. 

  • Piston
  • Respond locks
  • Ring pack
  • Electronic mechanic scale
  • Die grinders, or a power file, or a lunar shell


When changing pistons, it’s not always necessary to balance, especially if you are using pistons of the same brand size and quality. Since the old piston had on the balance, the new one will only take the same position.

However, piston balancing is needed, especially where the installation of the pistons is on the first time, and you want high engine performance. When balancing, you need an electronic scale to weigh all materials in the piston then match the lighter with the heavier one.

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