Most fleet owners or managers know only too well how costly a set of tyres can be for the average truck. These tyres can represent a significant line item on the annual maintenance budget and, consequently, they will want to do as much as possible to keep those costs in check. In this case, they should pay more attention to the axle and wheel alignment and should get them checked periodically, not just when they fit new covers. While technicians will want to check many different tire angles, why is the camber angle particularly important?
Drivability and Longevity
Engineers need to make careful adjustments whenever they fit a wheel and tyre combination to a hub. This work will ensure that the vehicle is easy to drive and is predictable in most road conditions, but careful adjustment here can also help extend the life of the tyre.
Avoiding Excess Wear
in particular, they'll need to set the camber angle carefully, as otherwise, the tyre could wear down excessively along its outer shoulder. This degradation is due to the forces of nature and the effect of gravity, but if you're not careful, you will be spending a lot more for your rubber then you should.
To understand camber, imagine the wheel and tyre sitting on a completely flat surface. The contact patch is the amount of rubber that comes into contact with the surface beneath, and if the wheel were to roll forward in that position during regular use, wear rates would be optimal. However, when the vehicle is turning a corner, gravitational forces will cause the tyre to move sharply on to one side. When this happens, the contact patch is considerably reduced, and this will cause an elevated amount of wear to the shoulder of the tyre.
This problem is why the position of the wheel and tyre combination must be adjusted carefully so that it tilts slightly inward towards the centre of the vehicle when stationary. In the trade, this is known as 'negative' camber and is ideal. When correctly adjusted, it will eliminate the negative effects of load and leaning so that the tyre is always in a more upright position and is offering the most rubber to the road through its contact patch.
As time goes by, wear and tear can cause camber adjustments to deteriorate, and you need to get them checked regularly. If it's been some time since you did so, make sure that your mechanics have a look at your truck's wheel alignment and adjust it as necessary.Share
10 January 2020