Truck Repair-The What, When And Why Of Wheel Alignment

Posted on: 25 July 2016

There are several reasons why an alignment is an important part of truck maintenance, including maximizing the lifespan of the tires. When the tires do not wear evenly, they will eventually need to be replaced and in extreme situations, unaligned wheels can put stress on the ball joints or axles.

What is a wheel alignment?

A wheel alignment ensures the wheels of your truck are parallel to one another and perpendicular to the ground. When the wheels are perfectly aligned, your truck will move straight even when the steering is held at an idle. If you notice the truck is veering to the left or right side, it is typically an indication of an improper alignment and you should schedule alignment services as soon as possible. Wheel alignment is often confused with wheel balancing, which is a completely different procedure. A wheel alignment is actually suspension alignment and wheel balancing involves balancing the wheels properly in the disks.

When Should You Have a Wheel Alignment?

Although wheel alignment is generally included in regular maintenance, checking and correctly the alignment of your truck becomes necessary under various conditions, including:

  • If steering the truck becomes a problem due to pulling to the right or left while while it is pointing straight forward.
  • When you have a new set of tires installed on the truck.
  • If the truck has hit something on the road, such as a deep pothole.
  • If one side of the tires is wearing out quicker than the other.
  • When you have damaged or worn out struts or suspensions replaced on the truck.

Why is a Wheel Alignment Important?

One of the best benefits of having a wheel alignment is that your truck will be easier to drive, because you won't have anymore annoying pull to one side or other. Other reasons to have a wheel alignment, include:

  • A faulty alignment causes uneven pressure on the tires and an increase in frictional resistance from the road surface, which leads to higher fuel consumption.
  • An improper alignment will cause uneven wear and tear on the truck tires, which means the tires will need more frequent re-treading or need to be replaced.
  • Faulty wheel alignment can cause various problems in other systems of the truck, such as the brakes, suspension and steering. These problems can add more strain to the performance and longevity of the truck.
  • Faulty wheel alignment makes it more dangerous to drive on roads that are wet or ice covered.

It is important that wheel alignments only be done by professional alignment services that are experienced in truck repair. Not only because the wheels need to be aligned according to the vehicle manufacturer's specifications, but if done incorrectly, it may cause damage in the long run, such as quicker wear and tear on tires or damage to the suspension. Contact a business, such as Spring Suspension & Alignment Services, for more information.