Rough roads do a number on vehicles, increasing the cost of maintaining a commercial truck. Sometimes, the issues caused can be big and obvious, like when a trailer seems to drift back and forth in a lane. Semi-trailer alignment can be thrown off by potholes and result in safety and maintenance concerns. The wider tires used on trailers make it even more important to pay close attention to alignment issues.
Let’s take a look at trailer alignment, specifically the why and when of staying on top of it.
Why Do You Need Proper Wheel Alignment?
Alignment is a common culprit of tire wear issues but can be far rougher on a semi-truck than it is on a car. An axle out of alignment just a tiny amount can make it nearly impossible to keep your tractor and trailer centered in the lane as you travel.
Trying to keep your truck in the lane can quickly become a safety issue as well because it can be exhausting to correct and consume your energy faster. The strain can also put pressure on your suspension components, which can mean a costly repair later, but also puts you at risk of ending up stuck on the side of the road.
Poor alignment can also cut your fuel efficiency by as much as 10 percent and increase maintenance costs when you have to replace tires more often than normal.
When Do You Need an Alignment?
Even a small collision can make it necessary to get an alignment. However, uneven tire wear is the most obvious sign you should get a check, and while wide-base tires have improved over the years, they still can be more susceptible to wear. Unevenly worn tires are more susceptible to blowouts, so they should be addressed as soon as you notice them.
Pulling to one side is a definite sign you have an issue and one of the earliest you’ll get. If you notice that happening, have a RJames Western Star mechanic check the alignment so you can avoid the dangers of unevenly worn tires.
Tracking Toward a Semi-Trailer Alignment?
Even if you keep up with regular maintenance tasks, one bad pothole can throw your axles out of whack. Keep an eye on how your trailer tracks, because drifting is a clear sign you need to check your semi-trailer alignment. Proper alignment improves fuel efficiency and maximizes the life of your tires.
If you’ve noticed potential issues with your trailer, book a service visit to have our expert team here at RJames Western Star take a look. We can help keep your rig in great shape to help keep you on the road.