Q & A
How much does a truck wheel alignment cost?
The cost of a Truck Wheel Alignment varies with the adjustments required. Basic Truck Wheel Alignment charges includes a full check of your vehicle’s steering and suspension components using our drive on “Play Detectors”. Items that are checked include Shackle Pins and Bushes, Track Rod Bushes, King Pins, Tie Rod Ends, Draglink Ends and Tyre Pressures. If the vehicle is mechanically sound then a Wheel Alignment will be carried out. We check Axle set back, Castor angle, Camber angle and Toe-in. Should we find any major problems we will inform you of the cost involved in the repair before any rectification is carried out.
Why do you remove the axle from the truck to re camber them?
Today’s fleets of larger trucks carry heavier loads than say 20 years ago. Vehicle manufacturers have been forced to fit larger axles to their trucks. Big Wheels Truck Alignment is a member of the Australian Heavy Vehicle Wheel Alignment Association and abides by its code of practice. The Association’s code of practice for axle correction is based on the Australian and New Zealand standard for heavy vehicle axle correction, and states that camber correction of axles must take place outside of the spring seat, this ensures the spring seats remain flat and parallel. This eliminates premature shackle pin and bush failure and excessive leaning of the vehicle to one side because one spring seat is higher than the other. In some cases, such as Coaches with air suspension on the front axle, it is extremely difficult if not impossible for in vehicle axle correction equipment to be utilised because of the bracketry used to locate the axle and suspension. Therefore we remove the axle for this process.
Why do you do drive alignments on all trucks?
Today’s modern tyres have a low tolerance to mis-alignment. The policy of Big Wheels Truck Alignment is to carry out total vehicle alignment as this is the only way to ensure maximum tyre life. In the most simple of terms your trucks axles can be likened to the steering wheels of a forklift. If the steering wheels on the forklift point to the right, the forklift goes to the left. If you apply the same principle to a truck, the driver then has to steer the vehicle to compensate for the mis-alignment of the drive axles. At Big Wheels Truck Alignment approximately 70% of all steer tyre wear problems are caused by the drive axles. It is fruitless to have a steer axle 100% in all aspects of the alignment only to be compromised by a 10% error in drive axles alignment.
If my truck has just passed a department of transport inspection, why are you telling me my king pins require replacement?
Department of Transport and to small degree manufacturers specifications are designed with the sole aim of safety, to tell you that the truck is safe to drive on public roads. The technicians at Big Wheels Truck Alignment work to vary exacting tolerances as small as 0.5mm. If a truck has 3mm of movement in each King Pin, 1mm of movement in each Tie Rod end and 1mm of movement in each Shackle Pin, this truck is safe to operate on open roads but it would be a waste of money to wheel align as the standard of accuracy would be extremely low. So to ensure that the cost per kilometer for tyres is kept to an absolute minimum, the suspension components require zero tolerance.
What warranty can I expect at a Big Wheels outlet?
With all of our Truck Wheel Alignments, we guarantee our alignments for a period of 3 months or 30,000klm. Any axles that are recambered are guaranteed for the life of the truck under normal operating conditions. Should any rectification work be required this can be carried out at any Big Wheels outlet and affiliated alignment workshops in other states of Australia. We have found that this will cause the minimum of inconvenience to our customer’s.
How long will a truck wheel alignment take?
Turn around time depends on many things, for the basic front steer and drive alignment itcan take as little as 90 minutes, through to 2 to 3 days for a complete suspension rebuild. You can be assured that we will do our utmost to fit in with your schedule.
Are shock absorbers important?
Yes! The main job of a Shock Absorber (Damper) is to reduce the number of oscillations of the springs from them hitting a bump and the spring – air bags coming back to the rest position. The benefit of this is ride control, ride comfort and protection of suspension components. This is why at Big Wheels Truck Alignment, we will check the operation and condition of all Shock Absorbers.
How often should I have my truck wheels aligned?
This depends on the type of work the truck is doing, more and more of the cost conscious fleet manager owners are having their trucks checked, at a minimum every 12 months as part of the Truck Maintenance Schedule. This ensures any small amount of mis-alignment can be corrected before it can cause major tyre wear problems. Big Wheels Truck Alignment recommend having an Alignment with every new set of tyres, this will ensure the best possible cost per kilometer for the tyre.
What tyre pressure should I have?
Incorrect tyre pressure is the most common cause of premature tyre wear. Over inflation can be just as detrimental as under inflation. All tyre manufacturers construct a tyre that when correctly inflated, gives the tyre its optimum footprint on the road surface. So how do we determine what tyre pressure should be?
We can use two methods.
Calculate the load that the tyre is required to carry and then refer to the Tyre and Rim Association Manual, which will give you the correct pressure for that particular tyre. For example, 295 80r 22.5 Steer Tyre. Maximum weights over Steer Axle = 6000 kg’s. For instance: 3000 kg’s per tyre. The pressure required is 750 KPA or 109 PSI. Please refer to the chart provided here.
Static Laden Radius. Each tyre manufacturer will specify this dimension. In relation to a steer tyre the manufacturer will specify, e.g.497mm. The measurement is taken from the road surface to the centre of the Stub Axle when the tyre is inflated, to give us as per the example 497mm. We now have the correct pressure in the tyre.
Why do we need to rotate my wheels?
Tyre rotation in some instances can increase tyre life by up to 50%, simply by rotating 3-4 times throughout tyre life. By changing the direction of rotation we can minimize any minor irregularities in tyre wear. However, tyre rotation will not rectify any significant abnormal wear. The cause of abnormal wear should be corrected before tyre rotation.