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Troubleshoot Wheel Balance and Front End Alignment Problems

Does the truck have a wheel balance problem or an alignment issue?

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You're driving your truck and you notice that it doesn't feel right, so you take it to the local repair shop and request a front end alignment. Later, you pick up the truck and are unhappy with the shop because the pickup still has the same problem.

That scenario is more common than you might think, because people often assume they know the solution to a problem and ask for a specific service, instead of describing the symptoms as accurately as possible, allowing the technicians to make a proper diagnosis.

Our wheel balance and alignment troubleshooting tips will help you pinpoint the truck's symptoms so that you can convey useful information to a repair person. Potential solutions are a guide to help you understand your truck, but should not be used to make a diagnosis.

Constant shake or vibration at all speeds

  • Bad tire
  • Bent wheel

Constant shake or vibration at specific speeds or ranges

  • Out of balance wheel or wheels

Vibration when you hit a bump

  • Worn or loose steering or suspension parts
  • Loose front wheel bearings

Constant steering wheel vibration

  • Problem in the front wheels

Constant vibration in the seats

  • Problem in the rear wheels

Pull or Drift
Incorrect tire pressure is the most common cause of pull (vehicle wants to go quickly to the left or right) and drift (truck makes a gradual direction change).

Issues with Radial Tires
Do you feel a consistent pulling to the right or to the left? It might be radial pull, which can occur anytime, even with new tires. If you have the ability and tools, try switching tires side-to-side (left side tires with right side tires). If the pull changes directions or stops, you're dealing with radial pull.

Steering Alignment or Worn Parts
If the alignment is out of spec or you have worn steering components, the vehicle will pull or wander (you must constantly correct to the left and right).

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