Do Semi-Trucks Need Regular Alignment Services?

The world of semi-truck maintenance is vast, and one of the more important aspects of that maintenance is that of wheel alignment. Regular alignment services are critical to making sure your heavy-duty truck can operate safely and efficiently. Not only does alignment help enhance handling, but it can maximize your truck’s fuel efficiency, reduce general tire wear, and improve overall performance. We’re going to look at the specifics of alignment services, how often you should have it done, and why it is a cornerstone of your semi-truck’s longevity.


What is Semi-Truck Alignment?

Semi-truck alignment refers to the alignment and adjustment of the semi-truck’s suspension. The suspension system is what connects the wheels to the rest of the truck and trailer. The suspension system ensures that the truck’s tires contact the road at the precisely correct angle, enabling the wheels to work together in harmony for a smooth, controlled ride.

The importance of alignment for semi-trucks can’t be overstated. Firstly, and most importantly, it’s a matter of overall safety. A misalignment in the suspension can cause handling issues, making the truck harder to control, particularly in hazardous conditions like inclement weather. This has the potential to lead to collisions and other accidents, increasing the risk to both the driver and others on the road.

Secondly, regular alignment services help maintain the overall fuel efficiency of the truck. Misalignment leads to uneven tire wear, which reduces the lifespan of the tires and negatively impacts fuel efficiency. This leads to greater fuel consumption and higher operating costs over time, resulting in decreased profitability for your trucking operation.

Finally, misalignment puts additional strain on other components of the truck’s suspension and steering systems. This accelerated wear and tear can lead to more costly repair or replacement needs later on. By ensuring proper investment in your truck’s alignment, you’re taking a proactive step to safeguard the longevity of your vehicle, and helping ensure optimal performance at all times.


Signs Your Semi-Truck Needs Alignment

One of the most effective things you can do to ensure your truck’s alignment is always correct is to be aware of the signs of misalignment and to have them corrected promptly. Here are some of the most common signs and symptoms that your semi-truck needs some professional alignment attention:

1. Uneven or Rapid Tire Wear

One of the most obvious and evident signs of suspension misalignment issues is one or more tires that are worn in an uneven or rapid fashion. If your tires look more worn on one side than the other or areas that are wearing faster than others, you’re experiencing uneven tire wear. Typically, there will be some sort of pattern to the wear.

2. Truck Pulling to One Side

Another sign that your semi-truck needs alignment attention is when it pulls to one side or the other while driving straight. On a level, straight road, you should be able to let go of the wheel for just a moment, and if your alignment is straight the truck will continue to travel straight. If the alignment is off, however, the steering wheel will distinctly turn to one side or the other. This can have a severe impact on the truck’s handling, and it’s often responsible for uneven or rapid wear on the tires, as well as greater overall fuel consumption.

3. Steering Wheel Vibration

Misalignment can also cause your steering wheel to vibrate or shake, typically at higher speeds. This is due to imbalances of the wheels caused by not being in alignment. This vibration is also what leads to uneven tire wear.

4. Off-Center Steering Wheel

Finally, one of the most frustrating signs that your truck needs alignment work is that the steering wheel isn’t exactly straight when driving straight. Your steering wheel should be perfectly centered, or at least close, when you’re driving straight on a flat road. If it’s noticeably off-center it’s a solid indication of possible problems. 

Ignoring any of these issues can lead to a long list of other issues, including lowered fuel efficiency, reduction in ride handling, premature tire wear and replacement, and unnecessary strain on truck components.


How Often Do Semi-Trucks Need Alignments?

Generally speaking, the frequency of alignment services will depend on various factors, such as the truck’s use, typical load, road conditions, and the operator’s driving habits. However, it’s generally a good idea to have your semi-truck aligned every 50,000 to 60,000 miles.

Seasonal changes can also affect alignment. Transition periods from winter to spring and fall to winter are good times to check alignment, as the freeze-thaw cycles can significantly impact road conditions and, consequently, your truck’s alignment.

What to Expect from the Alignment Process

The alignment process for a semi-truck involves several steps, conducted by experienced technicians. Initially, a comprehensive inspection of the steering and suspension system is carried out to identify any potential issues. Following this, the alignment itself is performed using specialized equipment, which includes adjusting the angles of the wheels to the manufacturer’s specifications.

The time required for a wheel alignment service can vary, usually taking between one and three hours depending on the complexity of the adjustments required and the specific model of the truck. As for the cost, it can range from $200 to $500. However, considering the potential savings in terms of fuel efficiency, tire longevity, and avoiding costly repairs, it’s a worthwhile investment for every semi-truck owner or operator.


Partner with Blaine Brothers for All Your Alignment Needs

Regular alignment services are vital to ensuring the safety, efficiency, and longevity of your semi-truck. They help maintain optimal handling, prevent premature tire wear, and contribute to fuel efficiency, which are all essential for a profitable and ultimately sustainable trucking operation.

Blaine Brothers understands the importance of professional alignment services for your semi-truck. With a team of expert technicians and state-of-the-art equipment, we’re committed to delivering top-notch service to keep your semi-truck running at peak performance. Don’t wait for a small misalignment to become a major issue. Contact Blaine Brothers today to schedule your next alignment service at one of our locations in Minnesota or Wisconsin.

Blaine, MN


10011 Xylite Street NE
Minneapolis, MN 55449

Cloquet, MN


1325 Hwy 45
Cloquet, MN 55720

Clearwater, MN


750 Heaton BLVD
Clearwater, MN 55320

Baldwin, WI


2500 Alreich Ave
Baldwin, WI 54002



9515 150th Avenue NE
Columbus, MN 55025