If you're a heavy-duty truck driver, then you know that regular wheel alignments are essential for the overall health of your vehicle. Without proper alignment, your truck can experience decreased fuel efficiency and increased wear on suspension and steering components.
In this blog post, we will discuss six common indicators that your heavy-duty truck needs a wheel alignment. Keep reading to learn more!
What is wheel alignment?
Wheel alignment is the process of adjusting the angles of your truck's wheels so that they are perpendicular to the ground and pointing in the same direction. This is important because it helps your truck roll smoothly down the road and prevents premature wear on your tires, suspension, and steering components.
There are three main types of wheel alignments:
- Front-end alignment
- Two-axle Alignment
- Three-axle Alignment
Front-end alignments only adjust the angles of the front wheels, while two-axle and three-axle alignments account for the entirety of your heavy-duty truck’s wheel setup.
The six indications that your heavy-duty truck needs a wheel alignment
Regular wheel alignment checks are an important part of preventive maintenance for your heavy-duty truck. Here are six indications that your heavy-duty truck needs a wheel alignment:
- Uneven or rapid tire wear - Many things can cause tire wear, but if you notice your tires wearing unevenly or more rapidly than usual, it's a good indication that your truck needs a wheel alignment. Rapid tire wear can also signal other issues, so it's best to have your truck checked by a mechanic.
- Pulling to one side - If your truck pulls to one side while driving, it's another indication that the wheels are out of alignment. This is because one side of the wheel is dragging more than the other, causing the truck to pull to that side. Your steering pulling to one side can be dangerous, so getting your truck aligned as soon as possible is best.
- Steering wheel vibration - If you feel your steering wheel vibrating while driving, it's a sign that your wheels are out of alignment. This is because the wheels are not pointing in the same direction, causing them to vibrate.
- Steering problems - If you're having difficulty steering your truck, it could be due to the wheels being out of alignment. This is because the wheels are not pointing in the same direction, making it difficult to steer. This is potentially dangerous and can lead to accidents.
- The steering wheel is off-center - If your steering wheel is off-center, it's a sign that your wheels are out of alignment. An off-center steering wheel generally means one of the components in your steering or suspension assembly has shifted or been damaged entirely.
What are the benefits of wheel alignment?
There are several benefits of wheel alignment, including:
- Improved fuel economy - Properly aligned wheels can reduce rolling resistance, which improves fuel economy.
- Longer tire life - Wheel alignment helps tires last longer by preventing uneven tread wear.
- Safer driving - Properly aligned wheels provide better handling and stability, which can help you avoid accidents.
- Improved steering and handling - Misaligned wheels can cause your truck to pull to one side or make it hard to steer.
- Reduced wear and tear on suspension components - Wheel alignment helps minimize wear and tear on suspension components, saving you money in the long run.
- Smoother ride quality - Properly aligned wheels can provide a smoother ride because they allow the suspension to work as it should.
How often do you need to have your truck's wheels aligned?
Most heavy-duty trucks need to be aligned at least once a year. However, this can vary depending on the type of truck and how it's used. Factors that can contribute to how often your truck needs an alignment include:
The type of roads you drive on - If you frequently drive on rough or uneven roads, your truck's wheels will likely need to be aligned more often.
How you use your truck - If you use your truck for off-road driving or to tow heavy loads, it will likely need to be aligned more often than a truck used mostly for highway driving.
How much weight you carry - The more weight you carry, the more strain you put on your truck's suspension and wheels.
Whether or not you use a trailer - Heavy-duty trucks that tow trailers are more prone to misalignment because they’re being worked harder.
The condition of your tires - Worn or damaged tires can put a lot of stress on your suspension and steering components. To lessen the need for alignment, stay on top of tire maintenance. Regular tire rotations and patching go a long way.
Your driving habits - Hard accelerations and rapid maneuvers can put a lot of stress on your suspension and steering. To lessen the need for alignment, drive safely and conservatively.
If you've hit a pothole or curb - Hitting a pothole or curb can cause your truck's wheel alignment to be off.
Proper wheel alignment is important for the longevity and performance of your heavy-duty truck. Be sure to keep an eye out for the following six indicators that it's time to align your truck’s suspension.
Choose The Service Company for your wheel alignment
If you're not sure whether or not your truck needs an alignment, our team of experts can help. We'll inspect your vehicle and let you know if an alignment is necessary. Schedule an appointment today!