From our sister publication Fleet Maintenance.
Tire alignments are a critical aspect of a vehicle's preventative maintenance but can also be some of the most time-consuming endeavors in the shop. Here are several tools that shop managers swear by to increase their efficiency and uptime.
The WinAlign HD from Hunter Engineering allows technicians to align trailers without unhooking from the tractor by affixing to the trailer wheels and connecting to a broad specification database for easy alignment. Additionally, the tool features HD QuickGrip Adaptors for fast installation and can produce printouts of the alignment. “It’s a time saver—it allows my alignment guy to be able to squeeze in two more alignments a day,” said Kevin Davis, owner of Cowser Tire & Service. “[The machine] has six heads, [so] you can do all three axles at the same time without having to stop and recalibrate.”
The Bee Line 22000 Rear Axle Aligner lets users position the rear axles perpendicular to the vehicle’s centerline within a few minutes. The tool provides alignment printouts after the job is complete and can be used without a computer while still providing accessible notifications as well. “With the quick glance feature, the light goes from blinking on the target to solid, and that tells you that you’re in,” said Chris Meyer, owner and operator of Meyer Truck and Alignment. “Then you can go to the computer and double check, but it’s kind of a nice quick feature when you’re gauging it out.”
The Enerpac SCR Series Porta Power Kit (SCR102H) is a handheld hydraulic cylinder, enabled by hand pump or air-over hydraulic pump, that allows the operator leverage up to 10 tons of push or pull force to get an axle into alignment. Easy to use and, when paired with air-over hydraulic foot control, the kit leaves hands free for cylinder maneuvering. “These save time by eliminating the need to pull another technician off of what they are doing to help move something that would take more strength than one person can provide,” said Tim Lamoreaux, truck service manager at North American Trailer.
The MAX Series Vibration Reduced Air Hammer from Ingersoll Rand provides up to 3,530 blows per minute to loosen difficult joints for manual alignments and comes with a quick-change retainer and chisel set. “Up here in the snowy Midwest, we run into a lot of rusted, corroded, and stubborn nuts, bolts, and joints,” Lamoreaux stated, explaining how a good air hammer is a tool that all new technicians are shown on their first day and is never far from the alignment bay.