Wheel alignment advice from Pro-Align

By Categories: Commercial NewsPublished On: Tuesday 28 June 2022

Wheel servicing specialist Pro-Align has highlighted the potential negative consequences, in terms of vehicle reliability and operating costs, of overlooking wheel alignment as part of a fleet’s maintenance regime.

Wheel alignment can potentially help fleets save thousands of pounds over the lifetime of a vehicle in terms of maintenance costs and extended tyre life, the company contends, as well as reducing the risk of incidents, making the road safer.

Regular alignment checks can prevent multiple vehicle issues, and are cheaper and easier than costly repairs, such as tyre replacements, it adds, thereby generating significant savings, boosting productivity and cutting downtime.

Accurate and correct wheel alignment can help optimise vehicle efficiency, points out Pro-Align. To move a vehicle which has misaligned wheels requires more energy, therefore fuel, as the tyre scrubs across the road surface rather than rolling freely.

For example, fleet vehicles which have even the slightest of alignment issues can suffer from average fuel economy losses of 2.5 per cent, says the firm, resulting in thousands of pounds’ worth of wasted fuel.

In addition, the company highlights how alignment issues can reduce tyre life by thousands of miles due to increased resistance where the tyre is dragged rather than rolls. For example, a misalignment issue of just 58mm will drag the tyre sideways an extra 11 metres per kilometre driven.

Not only can this be financially draining on a fleet’s profit margins, but uneven wear negatively affects vehicles’ handling and tyre performance, adds Pro-Align, becoming a hazard in wet, slippery, and emergency situations.

Potholes, kerbs and rough road surfaces can alter wheel alignment over time, resulting in a change in driving experience. In most cases, misaligned wheels will make the vehicle much more difficult to keep in a straight line, says the firm, and the steering wheel can become off-centre.

Vehicles with steering which is off centre will require more attention and input from the driver, explains Pro-Align, increasing driver fatigue over the course of a journey, resulting in slower reaction times and a greater likelihood of an incident on the road.

Another symptom of wheel misalignment it highlights is a vehicle pulling to one side while driving: not only is this dangerous, says the firm, but also increases tyre wear and fuel consumption.

Clive Seabrook, CEO at Pro-Align, said: “Wheel alignment checks are often overlooked and seen as an additional cost for fleet operators, however, not checking can end up costing thousands of pounds in additional maintenance, vehicle downtime, and wasted fuel.

“Wheel alignment checks are a sensible investment when you look at the amount of money which can be saved in the long run, when combined with regular servicing. With operating costs on the rise, even the slightest alignment issue could be the difference between making a profit or paying thousands extra for fuel and tyres.”