Why do 4×4 trucks need a front-end alignment?
When your truck is out of alignment, three things may happen: you could experience handling problems, irregular tire wear, and a problematic steering wheel. A common sign of misalignment is uneven tire wear. The wear usually starts on the shoulder of your truck tires and will continue until you deal with the problem.
The best way to deal with the problem is to know how to do a front end alignment on a 4×4 truck. John Gardner of Quick Trick Alignment Products has simplified the entire process with his expert tips.
Let’s get into it!
What You Will Need
- Quick Trick alignment tool
- Two tape measures
- A magnetic angle finder
- A steering wheel brace
Step-By-Step Instructions for Front Wheel Alignment
Step 1: Check Air Pressure Before You Get Started
There are a few things that you have to do before you get started. The most important one is to check the air pressure of your front tires. Make sure you set it at the proper rating. Also, check to confirm that your steering wheel is at the center. You can use a steering wheel brace, which is a spring-loaded accessory that will hold the steering centered.
Step 2: Set Up the Quick Trick Alignment Tool
This unique tool can be adjusted from 15 to 26-inch rims. It comes with the whole stand, tire inserts that will go inside the rim, a magnetic system (angle finder) for measuring the camber, and a tape measure for measuring the toe. The tool is easy to set up, just position it beside the wheel. Then insert the pins into the little ridge on the outside of the rim. Secure the pins into place with the screws. Set up another Quick Trick on the other front wheel.
Step 3: Measure the Toe
When measuring toe, the distance between the fronts and rears of the front tires are compared.
What you are going to do is pull a tape from the front and the back of the front tires. The tape measure has to extend from the Quick Trick Alignment Tool from the left to the one on the right. This process is usually much easier if you are on the right wheel and your buddy is on the left wheel. Make sure that you lock the tapes into place for accurate comparison. Take the difference between the tape measure in front of the tires and the one at the back. It should be approximately equal if not you will have to adjust the toe alignment.
Step 4: Measure the Camber
You will use the magnetic angle finder to measure the camber. Use the angle finder to make sure the bar is set at 90 degrees to the rim.
Then attach the angle finder to the bar at 90 degrees and turn the steering wheel 3/4 of a turn inward and zero the angle finder. Then turn the steering outwards 3/4 of a turn and zero the device. Then return the steering wheel at the center and take the reading. A reading of 0.10 is just perfect. But if the camber was excessively negative, then you will have to make some adjustments.
What Is Alignment?
Alignment is a service procedure that greatly improves the performance as well as longevity of the tires of your 4×4 truck. During the alignment process, the proper configuration of the steering and suspension parts are usually measured as well as adjusted to the settings recommended by the manufacturer.
A precision alignment is important to help optimize performance and tread wear from your vehicle’s tires. A proper front-end alignment is a good investment that will save you a great deal of money in the future. You should consider wheel alignments to be routine preventative measures.
What Things Do You Check When Doing an Alignment?
The easiest way to learn how to do a front end alignment on a 4×4 truck is by checking the toe and camber. Toe refers to the difference in distance that is measured (using a tape measure) across the front of the front tires and the distance that is measured across the rear of the front tires.
Camber is the relationship of wheels and tires to vertical. If you lean the top of the tire towards the truck, that is negative camber. If you lean it away from the truck that is positive camber. The common cause of misalignment is usually excessive negative camber.
What Are the Indicators of Poor Alignment?
Knowing the indicators or signs of poor alignment can help you know when your 4×4 truck needs the service procedure done. Here are the poor alignment indicators you should always look for:
Uneven Tire Wear
Uneven wear on your tires could be an indication that your truck is out of alignment. You could see wavy patterns of wear on your tire.
Excessive Negative Camber
From the front of your vehicle, camber refers to the outward or inward tilting of the wheels at the top position. Positive camber occurs when the wheels tilt outwards at the top, while negative camber is when the wheels tilt inwards at the top. Using excessive static negative camber can lead to alignment problems.
If the wheels aren’t perfectly aligned, you can experience unnecessary dragging. This occurrence will create a rolling resistance on the vehicle. This will slow your 4×4 truck down, put more stress on your engine, force the tires to wear out prematurely and make your truck unstable.
Some common driving difficulties you are likely to experience when your truck is misaligned are pulling to one side, shaking, and hard steering.
What Are the Causes of Misalignment?
Misalignment occurs when the wheels of your truck are out of line with that of the truck’s centerline. This can cause unnecessary wear and tear on the wheels as well as the tires of the vehicle. Misalignment can be caused by several factors, including:
Worn Out Parts
The wear and tear of suspension parts like suspension springs can cause a shift in alignment. This calls for regular service checks to make sure that you don’t have worn-out parts.
Your suspension is uniquely designed to work with the manufacturer’s recommended height. Both the height and suspension of the vehicle must be adjusted to avoid alignment problems.
Driving too fast over bumps, hitting potholes at high speeds, or involvement in an accident could easily cause misalignment.
When Should I Do a Front End Alignment?
You should check your truck’s front-end alignment every six months or whenever you experience uneven tire wear, unnecessary dragging, excessive negative camber, and driving difficulties. If you like using your truck every weekend for off-road activities, then you may have to do an alignment every week.
While you’re at it, also find out about leveling kit installation, how much it costs, and which one to get. Also, learn how you can reset the F150 anti-theft system.
As you can see it isn’t hard to learn how to do a front end alignment on a 4×4 truck. You just need the Quick Trick alignment tool, a magnetic angle finder, two tape measures, a steering wheel brace, and reliable step-by-step instructions to get the job done. John Gardner of Quick Trick Alignment Products has simplified the entire process with his reliable instructions.