Misalignment consequences

Feb. 10, 2017
Vehicle performance and safety is impacted.

Misaligned vehicles impact operating costs, but more importantly, says Bill Hinchcliffe, vice president, Hawk Frame and Axle and immediate past president and secretary/treasurer of the Truck Frame and Axle Repair Association (TARA), vehicles out of alignment impact safety. Therefore, total vehicle alignment – between front and rear axles on a vehicle and between the tractor and trailer units – is essential.

Vehicle alignment plays a critical role in vehicle performance because it can cause a number of problems, he notes. These include unsafe driving, irregular tire wear, reduced fuel economy, vibration and driver fatigue.

Hawk Frame and Axle (http://hawkframe.com) provides heavy duty truck, trailer, RV and commercial vehicle repairs, including collision, frame, suspension, fabrication and refinishing and painting work.

TARA (www.taraassociation.com) is North America’s premier group that serves specialists in the truck repair industry that concentrate on heavy duty truck, tractor and trailer chassis frame, axles, housings and wheel straightening, and balancing and alignment service. Members commit to the association’s high standards of excellence.


According to Hinchcliffe, there are two basic ways in which drive axles in a tandem can be out of alignment:

-  Axles are parallel, but are not perpendicular, to the vehicle’s centerline. This causes the drive axles try to push the vehicle away from the centerline.

- Axles are not parallel. This causes a “scrubbing” condition wherein axles are trying to turn the vehicle.

In either case, he says this requires a driver to continually correct the steering to bring the truck back into a straight line. This, in turn, can reduce the driver’s level of control, plus cause fatigue and stress.

Further, Hinchcliffe “highly recommends” that all axles on tractor trailers combinations be aligned as well for maximum fuel and tire savings, “the most costly operating costs for a fleet.”

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