Your supervisor probably understands the challenges of running a service shop. That doesn’t mean he’s going to give you a bigger budget or reset his expectations for fleet performance—so you still need to meet those challenges.
If you’re like many fleet managers, there’s one thing you might be overlooking that could save wear and tear on your vehicles and their drivers, not to mention save a lot of money on fuel costs—alignment.
Wait. Don’t go yet. If you think of alignment as a waste of time and money instead of a service that could save both, stick with us for a second. We understand.
At one point, alignment may not have made much sense. With the old-school method of using trammel bars and tape measures, you couldn’t get the kind of alignment accuracy that was going to make a huge dent in fuel costs. And it took so long, that it wasn’t worth the effort of going through a time-consuming process that was going to be undone by the first pothole a driver hit.
But all of that has changed. With modern heavy-duty alignment equipment—like the new R5000HD from Rotary Wheel Service—you can set up and get alignment readings quickly.
You no longer need to calculate the benefits of taking a truck off the road for an alignment versus the benefits of keeping it rolling (and possibly wobbling) down the road without one. And instead of being seen as just an expense, you can now make a quantifiable impact on the overall bottom line in several ways.
A new HD alignment system will help reduce:
Fuel costs. How much has your company spent in order to minimize fuel costs? From fuel optimization software to aftermarket contraptions meant to improve aerodynamics, many companies spend a lot of money to save a lot of money on fuel. But alignment is one of the easiest ways to ensure a vehicle isn’t wasting a lot of energy—and fuel—fighting the physics of the road.
Tire costs. Along with fuel, tires are one of the biggest line items on a shop’s expenses. It goes without saying that aligned tires wear slower than tires that haven’t been aligned. But we’ll say it anyway: you can save thousands of dollars on tires and retreads every year by simply keeping tires aligned. By reducing rolling resistance, you increase tire life. It’s that simple.
Suspension stress. Misalignment stresses a truck’s suspension components, which makes the ride a lot less pleasant for the driver and results in costly suspension maintenance happening much more frequently.
Driver fatigue. Fighting the wheel can really wear drivers down. This can lead to poor decision-making that have dire consequences. You can’t control wind or weather—two factors that can make drivers struggle to keep everything moving forward. But you can ensure that when the environment is pleasant, the driving is, too.
One last thing about alignment: Don’t forget your trailers. Some shops only align the steer axle, but trailer alignment is essential for tire life. It’s recommended the trailers get aligned at least once a year.