You often rely on your heavy-duty truck to travel hundreds of miles every day, and because of this, it’s important to ensure that your wheels are properly balanced. If you don't, you may face unpleasant repercussions. Finding the right diesel repair shop to perform wheel balancing can sometimes prove to be difficult. We've put together a list of 4 things to consider while looking for a wheel balancing service provider.
1. Avoid waiting until the last minute
Of course, being prepared is good advice for any situation, but it's essential when sourcing a diesel repair shop that will take care of your truck or fleet. When it comes to any transaction, your greatest power as a consumer is the capacity to walk away from a bargain or shady shop and go somewhere else. If you have a breakdown or emergency situation, you lose some control and may be at the mercy of whatever shop is able to get to you the fastest.
To avoid this, it’s recommended to research some shops ahead of time. When working with the right diesel repair shop, find out their hours of operation and see if they are able to set up a quality preventative maintenance program for your truck or fleet. In addition, ensure that your daily pre-trip inspection includes thorough documentation regarding your vehicle's tires and wear. This will help you keep track of early warning signs of potential problems. Being able to detect problems early allows you to schedule maintenance during planned downtime for your vehicle.
2. Research the shop
With modern-day technology, it is easy to research the reputation of any business. Taking a look at online reviews (Google, Social Media, Company Website) are all great places to start. The downside to the convenience of online reviewing is that sometimes people are quick to post a negative review even if the business provided all the service and information available. A negative review is not always the best reflection of the shop’s performance. Consider how the reviews may have been responded to by the business owner, was there a solution offered to the reviewer?
Beyond online reviews, many shops will gladly provide references for their work. Call and speak to the shop, how do they address your questions when you call? Are they able to provide references from operators or fleet managers who have received similar services to those that you are inquiring about?
And finally, ask the shop if they specialize in any particular services. Do they have special training for their mechanics and/or equipment that allows them to handle wheel balancing for your truck?
3. What other services are available
There are many truck shops that only offer wheel alignment and tire services. While it may seem wise to choose a shop that focuses on the one service you’re needing, there are many benefits to choosing a full-service diesel repair shop. Partnering with a single diesel repair shop that can do more for you all at once will make things easier since you won't have to make many trips to different shops to have your truck serviced. It also allows the shop to maintain a history of your vehicle or fleet repairs. When a shop is able to get to know your truck like this it allows them to better make suggestions about possible upcoming repairs and work with you to develop a preventative maintenance schedule that works.
To make the best use of downtime, whether planned or unexpected, wheel alignment can be scheduled at the same time as other repairs such as oil and fluid changes. Because truck maintenance isn't precisely a delightful experience, doing it all at once is advantageous. Developing a long-term relationship with a diesel repair shop has many advantages.
4. Avoid unnecessary upsells
When you have your wheels balanced many shops will take that as an opportunity to offer upsell services. These services or offers may be beneficial at times, but they can also be a waste of money at other times. Take your time to build relationships with diesel repair shops that take the time to explain the value of the suggested additional services. If a shop is truly invested in partnering with you long-term, they likely will suggest future possible services and work with you to develop a maintenance program that fits your needs and truck’s requirements.
Develop a long-term partnership with the wheel alignment company
It’s been touched on above but is important to really highlight that when you're dealing with a diesel repair shop, trust your gut and pay attention to how they treat you. You'll need additional maintenance in the future, so choose a shop with whom you can establish a long-term relationship. This will make your life easier and remove some of the uncertainty around your vehicle's ongoing maintenance needs for years to come.
Other things to consider:
What is the Purpose of an Alignment Shop?
The goal of a wheel alignment is to ensure that the wheels of a truck all travel in the same direction and that they are making even contact with the road.
Alignment equipment clips to your truck's wheels and links to a computer, allowing professional technicians to perform the most exact measurements and changes for alignment. There are three primary forms of alignment, and your technician will propose one of these options based on the suspension system in your truck:
- Front-end Alignment– The most basic of alignments, including just front-end changes. This is only recommended on trucks with a “fixed” rear suspension that is unable to be adjusted.
- 3 Axle Alignment– A front-end alignment with rear-wheel alignment to align the truck's rear wheels parallel to the front axle and perpendicular to the vehicle's center point.
Do I need a full 3 axle alignment?
The answer is normally yes. Many front end complaints (pulling to either left or right) are a result of a misaligned rear suspension. Imagine a forklift: when you turn the rear wheels, the front goes in a different direction. A misaligned rear suspension can push the front end either right or left causing you to counter steer and wear the edge of your steer tires.
How often should I get my tires aligned?
Experts suggest getting an adjustment once a year and every time you install new steer axle tires. A reputable diesel repair shop will discuss your driving and truck’s specifications and come up with a maintenance plan that’s right for you or your fleet.