Most heavy vehicle owners in the transport industry are asking these questions - how can I save money on my running costs? how can I reduce my tyre wear? how can I save on fuel consumption?
So let's talk about what sort of savings are available by ensuring correct alignment of axles and wheels on your truck trailer or bus.
Research & studies conducted around the world show that around 80 percent of medium to heavy vehicles are incorrectly aligned, or have a mis-alignment.
If your truck trailer or bus has incorrectly aligned wheels & axles, you have what we call increased rolling resistance when travelling on the road. This means the engine and steering components are working harder than they need to be, and the end result is an increase in fuel consumption. Generally speaking, correcting any alignment issues will result in a saving of 3 to 10 percent on fuel.
Over the years we have performed alignments on several heavy vehicles that were toeing out so far that we couldn't even take a reading off our scales! In cases like these, it is not uncommon to see savings of up to 20 percent on fuel.
As you can imagine if you are a transport operator of one vehicle or a fleet, every year this adds up to a very significant amount of money that could easily be saved. Let's look at a fairly common scenario:
Just say your trucks average fuel consumption is 33 litres per 100 km. So in a one way trip from Brisbane to Sydney you consume 330 litres of fuel. If you are getting diesel for $1.20/litre, you spend $396.00 per trip. What you didn't know was that the incorrect alignment of your axles has been constantly increasing rolling resistance, and your fuel consumption is actually up 10 percent on where it should be.
So along the way you get a wheel alignment. With the axles correctly aligned, you are now using 30 litres per 100 km. Your next trip from Brisbane to Sydney costs you $360.00 in fuel. So you are now saving $36.00 per 1000 kms on fuel, or 3.6 cents per km. Now I don't know how many kms your truck does each year, but you can work out the rest.
But we aren't going to stop there - now we can look at our tyre wear. Let's start by looking at the cost of the tyres on the vehicle: If you own a prime mover in Australia, it would be safe to say that to fit 2 new steer tyres and 8 drive tyres, you would be looking at a mimimum of $5000 fitted and balanced, and that is probably a conservative figure. If you are running your own trailers, this figure just keeps escalating as you know.
So we've got at least $5000 of rubber that keeps the wheels turning, and we want to make our 5 grand last as long as possible. We all know tyre pressure is a factor in uneven or premature tyre wear, but incorrect alignment of axles and wheels is just as damaging to your tyres. Even slight incorrect alignment of axles in different directions can reduce the life of our tyres, by 15 to 50 percent.
This one is easy to work out - we will presume that by performing a wheel alignment on our truck we are now getting another 20 percent of mileage out of our tyres. We are now saving $1,000 on every set of tyres we purchase!
So there are the obvious financial gains of having your axles correctly aligned, but if you are the driver of the vehicle there is one other major factor to consider everytime you get behind the wheel - how does the vehicle handle? All drivers get sick of having to constantly correct the steering as they drive down the highway. When the vehicle tracks correctly, it takes a lot of the hard work out of the trip for the driver, they can relax a little & it makes for a much more pleasant work environment. Driver fatigue is greatly reduced & everyone is a winner!
Ok, I will sum this up for you - Truckologist currently charges $340.00 ex GST for a Truck Wheel Alignment (steer & 2 rear axles). If you were saving 3.6c/km on fuel, the cost of your alignment would be recovered in less than 9,000 kms of travel. You are also going to see improvements in tyre life, and the savings created can be quite significant. The truck is going to handle better & feel better to drive.
If you do not currently have regular wheel alignments performed on your own heavy vehicle or your fleet, then you may need to have a chat with your "Financial Controller" (whether that is yourself, your better half, or some bloke in the corner office) about the numbers we have discussed here. If they are still not convinced that they should give this a go, you may need to beat them over the head with something soft but firm until they say "Yes!".
WHAT OUR CUSTOMERS SAY
"For our company time is money. The mobile service that Truckologist offers allows us the flexibility we require. Our first alignment was on our Mitsubishi Canter at 15,000km. This truck has now turned over 60,000km and the tyres are not even half worn. We will certainly be using Truckologist for future alignments and are happy to recommend their services."
"I'm getting 50-100kms more per tank since you worked on my truck. Not sure if this is normal but I'm stoked........after crunching a few numbers, my fuel economy has improved by around 10%, my mate is keen to talk to you, his fuel usage is triple mine, I've passed on your details. Thanks again!"
Darren, Fairways Furniture