Businesses and consumers all rely on the services provided by heavy-duty truck fleets. If you’re managing a fleet of trucks, then you are aware of the fact that time is money, and delays are something you cannot afford. With the right maintenance steps, your trucks can drive smoothly on the road, but you do need to understand what services and inspections play important roles. In this post, we’ll discuss the role that proper wheel alignment plays in the management of your heavy-duty truck fleet.
What Is The Purpose Of Heavy Duty Truck Wheel Alignment
Let’s start by taking a look at the purpose of wheel alignment. This particular technique involves checking how well the suspension system is aligned. In the long term, the suspension system experiences signs of wear, and as this develops, it starts to go out of alignment. The rate at which wheel alignment becomes less efficient depends on how frequently the vehicle is used.
In the heavy-duty truck industry, these trucks are used consistently. This means the suspension system wears faster and requires more frequent alignment to ensure the proper functioning of the truck.
During alignment, the mechanic will perform certain alterations in the suspension system installed in the heavy-duty truck. This particular system connects to the wheels and is what allows the truck driver to turn the steering wheel when they need to change the direction in which the truck is going. During the alignment, the suspension system is inspected. Depending on the findings of the inspection, the mechanic working on the heavy-duty truck will make adjustments to the tires and the axles. These adjustments focus on ensuring the wheels have a perfect position in terms of where they are pointing and their direction.
How Does The Alignment Process Work?
During the alignment process, the diesel technician does a comprehensive analysis of the suspension system. They may use both digital tools and visual inspection to make their conclusions. Then, the technician needs to start working on adjusting certain angles within the suspension system if there are problems with the alignment.
The caster alignment is often a first step. During this alignment, the technician considers the angle at which the steering axis lies when they look at it from the side of the heavy-duty truck. The steering axis can be angled too much to one side, such as toward the driver or the front of the truck. These are scenarios that would require proper realignment.
When turning the steering wheel, the technician can take a closer look at the toe angle. In this process, they will consider whether there is a toe-in or toe-out that can be observed when the axles cause the wheels to turn. Another angle is trust, a process where the technician ensures the front and rear axles are perfectly lined up.
Apart from these tests and inspections, the technician also needs to take a closer look at the turning radius of the truck.
When Does A Heavy Duty Truck Require Wheel Alignment?
Apart from regularly taking your heavy-duty trucks for service, where technicians can also take a closer look at the alignment in the suspension system, it’s important to know the signs of problems with how these systems are aligned. Various signs may signal a need for wheel alignment. Make sure all drivers in your fleet understand these signs and report them to the fleet manager.
The steering wheel may experience drifting, where it pulls to one side while trying to hold a straight line on the road. It’s also possible to detect problems in the suspension system alignment by assessing the tires on the truck. A misalignment will usually cause the tread on tires to wear faster than expected. There will also usually be more wear on the sides of the tire. Furthermore, look out for vibrations that come from the steering wheel. This can happen when there is a balance problem between how the tires turn when you use the steering wheel.
Why Regular Wheel Alignment Is Important For Heavy-Duty Trucks
Now that we’ve explained how the wheel alignment process works let’s consider why it's so important. One of the major reasons why you need to go for the regular wheel alignment is to prevent your tires from wearing out too fast. When your wheel alignment is off, then the wheels on the truck do not stay in a straight line on the ground. This causes them to be at an off-angle, which leads to wear developing on the side of the tire faster than in the middle. This can cause unusual wear on the tire tread and lead to a replacement needed sooner than what you budgeted or planned for.
Apart from extending the lifespan of the tires on the heavy-duty truck, proper wheel alignment also offers the following benefits:
- It helps to provide an overall improvement in the performance of the heavy-duty truck. When the tires are not properly aligned, the driver can work harder to control the truck, which can lead to regular fatigue and more stops as well.
- The alignment of your wheels on the truck can also influence the fuel efficiency offered by the commercial vehicle. Having wheels that are properly aligned essentially helps to improve fuel efficiency, which means you’ll get more miles out of the fuel in the truck’s tank. This will eventually lead to cost savings, as your expenses for fuel will decline with regular wheel alignments.
Poor wheel alignment might result in a more frequent need to replace the tires on your heavy-duty trucks. If you’re in the Rigby, Idaho, region, then be sure to contact IBEX Diesel Repair to ensure your trucks have proper wheel alignment. We also help with a wide variety of other issues related to heavy-duty trucks and can help to keep your trucks in great shape, ensuring your fleet operates smoothly without breakdowns.
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