Off roading is tremendous fun, and a truck is a perfect vehicle to do off roading with. However, if you have a new truck or want to keep your truck in peak condition, you might be worried that off roading might mess up your truck’s wheel alignment. We have done the research to see if off roading messes up alignment.
Mild or moderate off roading will not mess with your wheel alignment. Your wheel alignment won’t be majorly affected if you are not driving over rocks or driving through big potholes or ditches. However, if you feel that your truck is pulling to one side, the wheels are likely misaligned.
Although mild off roading should not cause your wheels to become misaligned, rough off roading might. We will discuss the factors that cause your wheels to become misaligned, the dangers of misaligned wheels, and how to fix the alignment on your truck if the wheels are misaligned.
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How Does Off Roading Mess With Alignment?
There are a few factors that can cause wheel misalignment when off roading. You need to take note of these factors and pay attention to how your truck’s driving changes. If the wheels feel misaligned, you need to have them inspected and realigned as soon as possible. Here are some factors that can cause misalignment when off roading.
1. The Terrain Can Cause Misalignment When Off roading
The first cause of wheel misalignment when off roading is the terrain you are driving on. As mentioned, mild off roading will likely not cause your wheels to become misaligned. However, if you are driving on a terrain with many rocks, hills, and trenches, your wheels might quickly become misaligned.
2. Modifications Can Cause Misalignment When Off roading
Many people who go off roading regularly have modifications done on their trucks to improve their performance. Some of the most common improvements are body lifts and suspension lifts. While these two modifications can improve a truck’s performance when off roading, they can also cause your wheels to become misaligned.
When you have your truck modified, be sure to ask the mechanics to align the wheels when they are done. It is also best to align your wheels with someone who understands truck modifications because you cannot align the wheels as you would on a stock truck. The changes need to be taken into account when the truck is aligned.
3. Age Can Cause Misalignment When Off roading
Older trucks tend to misalign more frequently. As the truck gets older, the parts, such as the springs, can start to get loose. Loose parts can cause misalignment. Therefore, it is essential to have your truck inspected regularly and replace the suspension if necessary.
For more information here’s a great video on 4×4 wheel alignment.
These are some common causes of wheel misalignment. So how do you know if your wheels are misaligned?
How Can You Tell If Off Roading Caused Misalignment?
The most obvious way to detect if your truck’s wheels are misaligned is by trying to drive in a straight line. If your truck pulls to one side, the wheels are clearly misaligned, and you need to have them inspected as soon as possible.
However, even if your truck does not pull to one side, the wheels can still be misaligned. If you feel that your truck is wobbling or vibrating, it might also signify that the wheels are misaligned. It is best to check your wheels regularly to make sure they are still aligned, as misaligned wheels can be very dangerous.
Experts advise that you check your wheel alignment every time you get an oil service on your truck. In addition, if you had an intense off roading trip, you should also check your alignment after the trip.
In many cases, you can check your wheel alignment for free if you have had the wheels aligned within a short period. Various mechanics also offer a lifetime warranty on wheel alignment at a set cost. This might also be worth looking into if you tend to do heavy off roading.
Although checking your wheel alignment regularly might be a bit expensive, ensuring that your truck is safe to use on the road is crucial. It is perilous to drive with a truck that’s wheels are misaligned.
Is Off Roading Bad For Your Car?
Overall, off roading is not bad for your truck. However, it does depend on how you go off roading and what precautions you take when off roading. The most common problems that arise from off roading are:
- Problems with your truck’s suspension.
- Wheels that get misaligned.
- Damage to the body of your truck.
- Tire punctures and damage to the rims of your truck.
- Transmission and clutch problems.
These problems are avoidable if your truck is properly taken care of in most cases. For example, always service your truck on time and inspect your truck for any damage after a rough off roading trip. Check that there are no punctures on the wheels and that your axle has not sustained any damage after every off roading trip.
If you do intense off roading trips that require you to drive through ditches and over rocks or boulders, you might consider getting your truck lifted. Lifting the suspension of your truck will help protect its frame and axle. The chances of the damages as mentioned above will be lessened if you raise your truck’s suspension.
However, be sure to check your wheel alignment after having your suspension lifted. Once the wheels are aligned, your truck should be able to handle any offroad terrain better than it could before. With proper care and maintenance, off roading should not cause severe damage to your truck.
Easy to moderate off roading will not cause your truck to become misaligned. But, intense off roading, where you are driving over rocks or through ditches and potholes, can cause your truck to become misaligned.
If your truck is misaligned, you can potentially be in a lot of danger. For example, your truck can pull into oncoming traffic or burst a tire. Therefore, it is crucial to regularly inspect the wheel alignment of your truck and have it aligned if it is not. Overall, off roading is not bad for your truck as long as you care for it properly and fix any problems as soon as they occur.