Most long-distance truck operators also own a car as a personal runaround and as such, are fully aware of the need to maintain it properly and to check wheel tracks on a regular basis. However, they may not be aware of the need to check not just the front wheels and tyres on their work vehicle, but also the configuration of the other axles. Why is it important to have a comprehensive look at all the wheels on a truck and trailer "rig," if maximum efficiency is going to be achieved?
Car Versus Rig
Every car has to be booked in for a service periodically to make sure that castor/camber angles and front wheel alignment are set according to manufacturer specifications. Otherwise, this can lead to poor handling and excessive wear and tear. With a truck, however, ALL the tyres from front to back should be rolling in the same direction, which means that the axles need to be perpendicular and parallel.
What to Look out for
When this is not the case, all-important fuel consumption will be affected and this can have a significant effect on operating margins over the course of time. Tyres will need to be replaced more often, as they will suffer from inconsistent wear. Furthermore, the driver of the vehicle will invariably be more tired, as he or she will have to make constant adjustments to the steering wheel in order to keep the truck going in the intended direction.
Driving Wheel Domination
While it is certainly important to align the front tyres on the tractor, it may be even more important to align the driving wheel axles. This is because these axles tend to overpower the others, so that even if those other axles are correctly adjusted, they will be forced off-line by the misaligned drive train.
Furthermore, these axles need to be checked to see that they are not only perpendicular, but parallel to each other, as well. If not, they can push the entire rig slightly in one direction or the other, away from the centreline, causing the driver to make constant changes.
Work should not stop there, either, as the axles at the rear of the trailer need to be adjusted, as otherwise, they can build up excessive drag and this will certainly affect the speed and fuel consumption of the overall rig.
Need to Take Action
Make sure that you get your truck and trailer combination checked by experts as soon as possible, to ensure that you don't lose money unnecessarily in such a competitive marketplace.