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The importance of proper alignment of truck tyres

The importance of proper alignment of truck tyres

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Whether you operate one truck or a fleet of them, you want to feel confident that your vehicles are getting the best fuel mileage and the least tyre wear possible. And that means making sure that tyres remain correctly aligned.

Let’s get this straight: even the slightest misalignment of truck tyres can have a big impact. Research has shown that just 1mm misalignment of wheels can reduce the life of a tyre by 7% and fuel efficiency by 3%.

The facts about tyre alignment in trucks

Unlike a car, which often only needs its front end aligned, the entire length of a truck needs to be aligned so none of the axles cause any issues.

Of all axles, it is the drive tandem that can cause the most trouble if it is not properly aligned. Even if all the other axles are in line, a misaligned drive tandem can lead the vehicle to track incorrectly.

There are essentially two ways drive axles become misaligned:

  •         Thrust: This is when the drive axles start pushing the vehicle away from the centreline. It is caused by both axles being parallel with one another but not perpendicular to the vehicle centreline.
  •         Scrub: This is when the drive axles try to turn the vehicle. It is caused by the axles not being parallel and means the driver ends up having to turn the steering wheel in order to continue in a straight line.

Benefits of proper wheel alignment

Correct alignment of truck tyres is vital for a number of reasons. For starters, it helps boost the steering, stability, performance, and safety of a truck.

It can also increase fuel efficiency (by up to 7.5%), prevent damage to vehicle components, and extend the life of the tyres (by up to 10% improvement in tyre wear). The proper alignment of truck tyres has even been linked to reduced driver fatigue.

How to tell if you have poor wheel alignment

Bad roads are bad news for truck wheels. They can damage tyres and cause truck wheels to become misaligned.  Luckily, there are some obvious signs that a truck’s tyres have become mis-aligned.

You can generally see, hear and feel when things are starting to get uneven. Common warning signs that you are dealing with misaligned tyres include:

  •         The vehicle pulls to one side or the other so the driver has to make a slight correction to the direction of travel
  •         Tyres wear unevenly or faster than usual
  •         The steering wheel is crooked when you are driving straight ahead
  •         The tyres make a squealing sound
  •         The steering wheel vibrates or requires more effort to turn

The tell-tale signs of a worn tyre

It is possible to spot tyre wear due to misalignment just by looking at the wear of your truck’s tyres.

  •         Even: Tyres will have even wear on both sides when they are perfectly aligned
  •         Toe in: The outer side of the tyre wears more when tyres are pointed inwards
  •         Toe out: The inner side of the tyre wears more when tyres are pointed outwards
  •         Drift: The same side of both tyres suffers higher wear when a truck has non-parallel axles resulting in counter-steering

Time to check the alignment of your truck tyres? Get in touch with an expert to carry out an alignment test. Apollo tyres are available for all makes and models of truck. Get in touch to find out more about how we can help your fleet stay on track.

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