Tell-Tale Signs Your Semi Truck Needs a New Alignment (5 Signs)

Tell-Tale Signs Your Semi Truck Needs a New Alignment (5 Signs)

Equipment Repair | Fleet Maintenance | Repair and Maintenance | 11/30/2023
Written by Stacy Conner

Truck drivers: having issues with your semi-truck? Having proper semi-truck alignment can make a world of difference for your ride.

Proper alignment is crucial for maintaining the overall health of your diesel truck. When alignment is off, premature tire wear and decreased fuel economy can result. But how should you know if your semi truck needs a new alignment? 

Equipment Experts, Inc. here: we know what it’s like to have a misaligned semi-truck. When your business is in tip-top shape, your business can thrive.

But when your business is out of sync with your needs, business can take a real nose-dive.

We’ve been in the diesel truck repair industry for more than 20 years and have repaired just about everything under the sun.

If you’re a driver, fleet manager, truck owner, or driver and want to know what to do about your semi-truck’s alignment, read on! We’ll describe five tell-tale signs that indicate your semi-truck has alignment issues.

Key Article Takeaways:

Sign #1: uneven wear on tires

A mechanic kneeling down and checking on a semi-truck tire

A semi-truck might have alignment issues if tire tread is uneven. A truck might have alignment issues if one tire has a different wear pattern than the tire on the opposite side of the vehicle.

Vehicles might also need an alignment if there’s more wear on the outside of the tire.

Uneven distribution of weight and pressure on tires can lead to accelerated wear and tear on a truck. And how does that affect your precious vehicle? Uneven weight distribution can lead to costly tire replacements, decreased fuel efficiency, and decreased overall vehicle performance.

If you suspect that your truck’s tires are being worn, look at the outside edges of the tire. Do you notice significant differences in wear patterns between or on the outside of tires?

If so, it may be high time to take your semi to a professional diesel truck repair shop for an alignment and/or adjustment.

A quick note on safety and tire alignment

Proper truck alignment means proper safety — both for you, other drivers, and pedestrians. A truck’s alignment can affect a vehicle’s handling and stability.

If you feel your truck’s handling is a bit wonky, trust yourself. You could be experiencing alignment issues and be at a greater risk of an accident.

It’s crucial to keep tabs on your truck’s alignment to protect you, other passengers, and your precious cargo. Because one of the most important KPIs for a winning fleet operation is your driver’s safety.

If you suspect uneven tire wear could be causing alignment issues, bring your truck into a certified mechanic.

By inspecting your truck’s tires often for signs of wear and tear, you’ll place yourself in a better position to extend the lifespan of your tires, improve fuel efficiency, and ensure a smoother and safer driving experience. A little maintenance goes a long way.

Sign #2: my vehicle pulls to one side

A semi-truck and BMW sedan on a freeway

Another tell-tale sign that your vehicle may need a healthy, new alignment is if your vehicle pulls to one side while driving on a straight road. If you find you’re constantly making adjustments to keep your truck on track — despite steering straight ahead — you may need to realign your truck.

You might be wondering, “But why, exactly, does a truck pull to one side?” Various factors — such as uneven tire wear, worn suspension components, or misalignment of the steering system — can be the reason for your truck’s uneven gait.

The solution? A quick and comprehensive alignment check!

If you don’t seek help on your vehicle’s lop-sided pull? That’s bad news bears.

Ignoring the tug-and-pull feeling of your vehicle can cause damage to tires and other critical components of your truck. If you notice your vehicle pulling to one side, we recommend consulting a professional truck repair shop for assistance with alignment.

For more than 20 years, Equipment Experts, Inc. has been diagnosing and correcting alignment problems for a range of equipment. Whether diesel trucks, liftgates, forklifts, and heavy equipment, you name it, we’ve fixed it.

If your truck pulls to one side, don’t hesitate to reach out to a diesel truck repair specialist for assistance.

By addressing alignment issues with preventive maintenance, you’ll be well on your way to maintaining the safety, profitability, efficiency, and longevity of your semi-truck. Assuming you take prompt action to resolve the issue, you’ll also benefit from a smoother and more pleasant driving experience.

In short, preventive maintenance can be your truck’s best friend.

Sign #3: steering wheel vibration

A person sitting in the driver's seat of a semi-truck

Uh-oh: the steering wheel is shaking again (and it hasn’t even had its morning cup of coffee yet). If your steering wheel vibrates while driving, consider checking your truck’s alignment.

Common Causes of Steering Wheel Vibrations

While it’s not always clear what may be causing steering wheel vibrations, the most common reasons for steering wheel vibrations include:

Sign #4: off-center steering wheel

Okay, so you made sure your tire tread count is high, but now it looks like the steering wheel is off-center. What gives

If your steering wheel isn’t centered while driving, consider checking your truck’s alignment. An off-center steering wheel means that the wheels aren’t properly aligned, causing your truck to veer slightly to one side.

Having misaligned wheels is frustrating and dangerous. Plus, misaligned wheels can take a toll on a driver. Drivers must make cumbersome adjustments to keep their vehicles moving straight ahead.

Worst of all, drivers can become more fatigued as they spend more energy trying to keep their vehicle on the straight and narrow.

Addressing the issue of an off-center steering wheel is essential to ensure the proper handling and control of a semi-truck. By checking and adjusting your alignment, you’ll ensure your truck is safe, profitable, and healthy for the long road ahead.

The Experts’ Commercial Truck Advice

“Your best dollar spent on a fleet is maintenance. Doing a little too much will always save you money in the end.” Stacy Conner, founder of Equipment Experts, Inc.

Sign #5: involvement in a collision

Truck accident rates are at some of the highest they’ve ever been, according to a 2022 Statista.com survey. The survey found that fatal truck crashes had increased a whopping 17% since 2020.

If your truck has been involved in a collision or accident, you’ll want to have it checked for alignment issues. Even if you don’t see any damage, an accident can cause misalignments in a vehicle’s suspension and steering components.

If not addressed, misalignments can affect tire tread, fuel efficiency, and safety on the road.

To ensure the safety and health of your heavy-duty truck, we recommend having your truck’s suspension and alignment inspected and adjusted by a professional technician.

By addressing alignment issues after a collision, fleet teams can save money and prolong the life of their trucks and equipment. Keep your diesel mechanic’s contact information close by.

You never know when it might come in handy.

Why you could benefit from a post-collision alignment check

All drivers can benefit from a post-accident alignment check. With a post-collision alignment check, you’ll be able to:

Prompt action after a collision can ensure the safety, longevity, and performance of your truck. And when your truck is in great shape, you’ll be in a better position to avoid potential violations with the Department of Transportation.

That’s what we call a smooth ride.

An aligned semi truck means an aligned business

Wheel alignment is important. Driver safety is important.

When your fleet is in tip-top shape, you, your business, and your clients all stand to win. Proper alignment is essential for the profitability, maintenance, and safety of your semi-truck.

By recognizing the tell-tale signs of semi-truck misalignment, you’ll be able to better serve your clients’ needs.

Maintaining a regular truck repair, alignment, and maintenance schedule can help you improve your fleet’s fuel economy, tire wear, and fleet performance.

But if you need a hand, you can always turn to us, the Experts, for friendly and knowledgeable fleet support. With over 20 years of fleet management and diesel repair truck experience, we’re Tacoma, Washington’s go-to mobile and in-shop truck repair facility.

We’re truck people. And we’re here to make your life a little bit easier and a lot more profitable.

To receive help with your truck’s alignment, don’t hesitate to contact us today. We’d love to see how we can help you get aligned for and meet your goals.

Frequently Aligned Questions (FAQ)

How can I tell if my semi truck needs a new alignment?

Great question! You’ll want to check your vehicle to see if:

How can I tell if my semi truck has worn tires?

If a tire shows a different wear pattern than the tire on the opposite side of the vehicle, on the outside of the tire, or on the front-end tires, your vehicle could use an alignment check.

Why is my heavy truck pulling to one side?

If your heavy truck pulls to one side of the road while you’re driving on a straight road, your truck’s alignment may be off. Consider bringing your vehicle to a mechanic or give a mobile repair mechanic a call to receive help.

Why is my steering wheel vibrating while I’m driving?

This vibration could be happening because your vehicle might not be in alignment. If you experience any vibrations or shaking on the road, you’ll want to check on your vehicle’s alignment pronto.

My steering wheel is off-center even though I’m driving straight — what gives?

It’s unusual, right? If your steering wheel is visibly off-center even while driving in a straight line, you might have alignment issues.

You know what to do: make a beeline for your nearest mechanic shop.

Should I have my alignment checked after a collision?

100%, yes! Like going to the doctor after an injury, you definitely want to take your semi truck in to the mechanic for an alignment check after an accident.

The impact of the collision can cause alignment issues in a vehicle’s suspension and steering components. It’s crucial to check your truck for damage that could impact your truck’s overall health.

What other benefits are there with alignment checks?

Proper alignment can be a real gift to you and your entire team. Conducting regular alignment checks on your vehicles can improve fuel economy, reduce tire tread wear, and ensure a safer driving experience for truck drivers (it’s a win-win for everyone!).

When your team and fleet are performing well, you’ll have a more efficient and profitable fleet.

Give us a call today at (253) 365-6591 to receive dedicated support for all your fleet’s alignment needs. We’d love to know how we can be of service.
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