Proper semi-trailer alignment is an essential part of being a responsible driver. Not only does it improve safety, but it prevents costly repairs, extends the life of your tires, and improves gas mileage. Poor road conditions and potholes can wreak havoc on your vehicle and are a major cause of misalignment. One of the most common trailer repair mistakes is ignoring or putting off routine semi-trailer maintenance. And that includes alignment.
Here, in greater detail, are the reasons why you should always make sure that your semi-trailer has the proper alignment.
If you drive a semi-trailer, you probably already know how expensive the tires can be. Misalignment is going to cause uneven wear on those expensive tires and cause the need for replacement sooner than later. And because misalignment affects your suspension components (see below) they will have to be replaced more often as well. Spend a little bit of money on an alignment rather than dropping a fortune on parts and tire replacement.
You’re going to wear out faster if you have to fight to keep your vehicle within its traffic lane. A semi-trailer is out of alignment can be responsible for initiating that fight. The faster you wear out, the sooner drowsiness will take its toll. And no one wants a drowsy driver behind the wheel. The safety of your semi-trailer is also threatened by improper alignment because of the component strain put upon your suspension system.
If your axles are working against each other, they are working harder. And if both axles are out of alignment, this can happen. Tire scrubbing is another result of misalignment. So in essence, you’re robbing horsepower and that’s going to matter at the gas pump. When a misaligned semi-trailer is properly realigned, a gas mileage improvement of approximately .3 miles per gallon can be realized.
The Drive Tandem – the Most Important Consideration
If misaligned, the drive tandem axle can cause a multitude of problems. If parallel but not perpendicular to the vehicle’s centerline, both axles working together improperly will present thrust angle problems. If those axles aren’t parallel, scrub angle problems will occur. What ends up happening? Just to keep your vehicle traveling in a straight line, both of these problems cause drivers to have to (in essence) “turn” the wheel.
How Do You Know If You Need an Alignment?
Without an official mechanic-executed check on the alignment, you can still have a pretty good idea that your alignment is off if any of the following things occur:
- Your vehicle pulls to one side.
- Your tires are exhibiting uneven wear.
- Improperly worn tires are causing frequent blowouts.
Ordering an accessory or part from Mickey and installing it yourself is one thing. But very few individuals have the capability or the resources with which to align their own vehicle. But Mickey can help there as well. Mickey Genuine Parts has certified service centers located throughout the United States for your convenience. If you would like to find out more about parts, accessories, or service centers, contact one of our reliable customer service people today. And remember, our parts, accessories, our service, and our vehicles all come with the Mickey guarantee.