Heavy Truck Alignment: Why? How? How Much?

Trucks have many wheels and it becomes even more important than cars to ensure proper heavy truck alignment. The right alignment is important for properly and safely controlling and steering the vehicle.

Proper alignment keeps your truck safe on the road and the difference can be realized even more profoundly in sharp turns and winding roads. Besides, misaligned wheels can cause uneven and excessive tire wear, which can cause your truck or fleet requiring tire replacement earlier than expected.

Why Do Truck Alignments Go Wrong?

Whether you have a semi or a large fleet of big rigs, maintaining proper alignment is an important part of the overall maintenance process. There are various reasons you need proper heavy truck alignment. The common causes include:

  • Driving more often on roads with potholes or bad condition
  • Poor driving habits
  • Regularly hauling heavy loads

Heavy impact or sudden jarring is usually caused when the front wheels hit something such as bumping a curb, a pothole, or getting involved in a road accident. Wear and tear can cause deterioration of parts such as suspension springs, further causing a shift in wheel alignment.

Any modifications in the height of your vehicle can also create alignment issues. When the height of the truck has been adjusted without adjusting the suspension, it can potentially cause wheel misalignment.

Signs of Misaligned Truck Wheels

If your heavy truck is in need of wheel alignment, a series of symptoms should start appearing. The most commonly occurring problems include:

  • Tires become off center
  • Less responsive steering
  • The steering wheel vibrates
  • Steering wheel doesn’t return to center after turning
  • Difficulty in steering the truck
  • Truck pulls in one direction
  • Truck veers to the left/right when braking
  • Steering wheel vibrates
  • Truck feels off-balance
  • The tires no longer grip the road as they used to

Any of these symptoms can create safety hazards and it is important to take steps to ensure your heavy truck operates safely on the road.

Importance of Regular Wheel Alignment Checks

Wheel alignment is important for any type of vehicle. However, it is critical when it comes to vehicles used in the transportation industry. As mentioned above, bad heavy truck alignment can have adverse effects on the:

  • Truck’s steering and handling
  • Wear on the tire
  • Driver fatigue
  • Fuel consumption

All these factors can create dangerous situations, both individually and in conjunction with each other. When you get regular wheel alignment checks in your heavy trucks, it helps in preventing any hazardous situations arising out of these different problems.

Improved Safety

When you get regular wheel alignment inspections for your heavy truck, it helps optimize the vehicle’s steering wheel and overall performance. Proper wheel alignment brings improved road handling features. It will prevent the driver from having to regularly correct the steering. This helps lessen problems such as driver fatigue, which is important for safety for long interstate drives.

Proper wheel alignment also helps create a smoother driving experience. When the wheels are misaligned, your truck can pull to a side or suffer massive vibrations, creating hazardous situations. Whether you have a heavy truck or a commercial road train, it is essential to get regular wheel alignment checks.

Cost Savings

As can be realized from the above-mentioned problems, proper heavy truck alignment can also translate into more financial savings. This is because correct alignment reduces the chances of any problems being caused while driving. Thus, you will be preventing the following problems and the potential costs of repairing them:

  • Enhanced mechanical wear
  • Enhanced tire wear
  • Increased fuel consumption
  • Less responsive steering
  • Potential dangers on the road

All these problems can create the risk of road accidents, which can cause significant financial loss in terms of insurance claims, vehicle repairs, potential injuries, and more. Driving with misaligned wheels can also cause damage to the suspension system.

Conclusion

Correct wheel alignment is essential for the safe operation and control of any vehicle. This is even more important for heavy trucks that haul very heavy loads. Whether you are the driver of an independent heavy truck or own a fleet of large commercial transportation vehicles, it is essential that your trucks are kept in their peak conditions at all times.

When it comes to taking care of your heavy trucks, it is important you choose a reliable and licensed professional service. For more information and guidance on maintaining your fleet or individual truck, feel free to contact the experts at TMS TruckMaster.