What You Need to Know About Wheel Alignment

Benefits of Proper Alignment

Longer tire life- Tire wear can be attributed to rolling resistance. Proper alignment and inflation practices reduce rolling resistance and increase tire life.
Bettter fuel economy- Excessive fuel consumption can also be affected by the amount of rolling resistance. Alignment reduces rolling resistance and improves fuel economy. Alignment can also improve aerodynamics which has a direct bearing on fuel economy.
Safer operating vehicle–A vehicle that has been properly aligned is a better handling and safer operating vehicle. During the alignment procedure the suspension parts are also inspected which again enhances vehicle safety.
Better driver satisfaction–Proper alignment means the truck drives better and creates less fatigue and hassle.

How Often Should I Have My Alignment Checked?

Each time new steering tires are installed have a complete alignment performed. Every 40,000 miles it is an excellent idea to have the steering axle toe checked and re-set if need be. Most alignment providers are now offering this front toe service at a reduced rate.

What to Look For In a Quality Alignment Job

If you do not have a long standing relationship with the alignment provider then ask for the alignment printout. The printout will show you the values before and after the alignment and a quality shop should be happy to provide you with the printout. Inspect your steering tires at regular intervals and preferably during each service. With good alignment and inflation practices it is not uncommon for a steering tire to run 150,000 miles or more. Also pay attention to the handling characteristics of the truck….does it track straight down the highway or does it drift or pull to the right. Be aware of what the vehicle is trying to tell you. If you sense a vibration through the steering wheel this is not an indication of mis-alignment but is more likely to be a wheel balance issue.

What Should I Be Paying for a Quality Alignment Job?

A complete 3 axle alignment service ranges from $250-$300 from most quality alignment providers. A toe set of the steering axle is commonly priced at around $100.

In closing…..

Proper wheel alignment is one of the most important maintenance tasks and has a direct influence on 2 of your 3 largest costs…..tires and fuel. Safety is paramount and a properly aligned truck is a safer operating truck.

I hope this helps uncover some of the fog surrounding truck alignment and good luck out on the open road.