Proper wheel alignment is always necessary for any vehicle, and especially for heavy-duty trucks. Proper wheel alignment ensures that brakes are able to grip a vehicle’s tires properly, and the brakes on heavy-duty trucks already need to work harder to stop their heavier weight. When a heavy-duty truck has wheels that are out of alignment, this can be a safety hazard as it may be more likely to skid and slide when the brakes are applied. Note when it might be time to get your heavy-duty truck wheels aligned and why it’s so important to have this done when you notice any of these signs.
1. After a collision
After any type of collision and other repairs have been done, you want to have the truck’s wheels aligned. The collision may have slightly bent a rim or axle, or otherwise pushed the wheels out of alignment; you may not even realize this has happened until you’re back on the road. While it’s good to have the wheels aligned after any collision, it can be even more important if the collision happened anywhere near the truck’s wheel wells. This may have increased the likelihood that the truck’s tires are now out of alignment and this should be checked after other repairs are completed.
2. When fuel economy is suddenly lowered
You may be filling up at the pump more often with your heavy-duty truck for a number of reasons; you may be overloaded with cargo you’re carrying or something you’re hauling, have problems with the exhaust, or simply need a tune-up. However, improper wheel alignment can also be the issue. Drag and tire rolling resistance can be a major factor in loss of fuel economy for any vehicle but especially with larger trucks that are already typically carrying heavier weight and larger loads when in operation.
3. After hauling uneven loads
If you tend to haul uneven loads in your truck, meaning any load where the weight is not unevenly dispersed over the length and width of the cab, this can mean pressure on certain areas of the truck that affect the alignment. One side of the truck may tend to be weighed down so that the wheels begin to drag and the alignment becomes off-balance and then needs correcting. If you’ve been hauling any type of uneven loads, have the alignment checked and do this regularly if the loads you haul are always uneven.
Make sure to visit a mechanic who specializes in heavy vehicle wheel alignment, as not all mechanics will know how to work on big trucks.