One of the most important maintenance tasks on your motorcycle is to align its wheels regularly. However, the question arises as to how and when you will know that your motorcycle requires a proper alignment. The solution is your motorcycle will notify you with some wheel alignment symptoms to align the wheel as soon as possible.
Perfect alignment for your motorcycle wheels is essential to have a comfortable ride and to increase safety and stability while riding. That is the reason you should emphasize the wheel alignment symptoms so that you can align them early before anything wrong happens. The symptoms are very easy to identify and you can feel them while riding your motorcycle.
By the way, in this article, I have shared my personal experience on how I identify the motorcycle wheel alignment symptoms and overcome them by following some easy techniques. Don’t ignore the symptoms and adjust the alignment as early as you can.
6 Motorcycle Wheel Alignment Symptoms: Need To Observe During Riding
Motorcycle wheel alignment symptoms are easily noticeable when you ride your motorcycle regularly. Your riding experience will show you the symptoms and notify you about the urgency of your wheel alignment. The following symptoms will indicate that you need to align the wheels of your motorcycle.
1. Pulling To A Particular Direction:
When the wheels of your motorcycle are not properly aligned, they do not perform in a balanced way. You will not be able to ride the motorcycle in a straight line. The front or rear type will pull your motorcycle in a particular direction either right or left, though the handle of your motorcycle is focused straight. If something like this happens, you can be sure that the wheels are not aligned and you need to align them immediately.
2. Uneven Wear Of A Certain Tyre:
Most of the time, if the wheels are not accurately aligned, a certain tire of a particular wheel will be getting worn through an uneven way. That means the particular tire will wear quicker than the aligned one. This will result in flattening the tire and losing its grip and traction eventually. So when this kind of circumstance happens to the tire, make sure you align it as early as possible.
3. Vibration In The Handles:
Sometimes you will feel an unnecessary vibration in the handles of your motorcycle, even if you are riding a straightway. This will create an uncomfortable experience for you to hold the handle properly while riding the motorcycle. This is another of the wheel alignment symptoms that indicate you have to align the wheel quickly.
4. Squealing Tyres:
Squealing tires means the tires of your motorcycle are making a huge amount of sound because of the uneven acceleration. The louder sound produced by the tires of your motorcycle, the more uneven wearing they face. This is a very important symptom that your motorcycle will show you at the early stage of misalignment of the wheels.
5. Handles Seem Crooked:
If the wheels of your motorcycle are not properly aligned, you will find it difficult to move the handle in your desired direction smoothly. This happens because the tires don’t support the handle to be moved in the same direction. This is also a major symptom you can feel when you move the handle of your motorcycle while riding.
6. Restrict The Movement:
One of the most common wheel alignment symptoms of your motorcycle can be the restriction you feel while moving the motorcycle, either right or left. When you ride the motorcycle in a straight way, it will not hamper the movement, but as soon as you try to move it in any other direction you will find it uncomfortable to move.
6 Steps To Check Motorcycle Wheel Alignment Symptoms On Your Own:
Sometimes you don’t find the symptoms of wheel alignment accurately because of the modification of the motorcycle. Even if you have noticed the symptoms, but don’t have any idea how to measure them. If you are not able to notice the motorcycle alignment symptoms naturally while riding it, you can check and measure the alignment on your own by completing the following steps.
Step- 1: Gather Necessary Tools
To measure the alignment of both sides of the tires, first of all, you need to arrange a stand for your motorcycle so that you can keep it standing vertically equal. Then you need a lightweight rope to measure the alignments of both the sides of the wheel. You can use a measuring tape instead of using a rope. In the end, you just need a wrench to loosen or tighten the axle blocks.
Step-2: Stand Your Motorcycle
The first step of starting the measurement for checking the alignment of the tire is to stand your motorcycle vertically equal. You have to use the equalizer stand for your motorcycle in this process. Make sure that each of the wheels of your motorcycle is equally above the floor. Keep enough space below the wheels to move your hand comfortably.
Step-3: Wrap A Rope
The next thing you should do is to wrap the lightweight rope around both tires. Start wrapping the center part of the tires to the end of the brake disk. Make sure the rope is equally wrapped from both sides of the wheel. You may use a measuring scale to ensure the accuracy of the rope. You have the option to use a measuring tape too. Wrap the rope from the front wheel in the rearward direction. Keep it as high as possible.
Step-4: Pull The Rope Tight
Then you need to pull the rope as tight as possible from the front wheel towards the rear one. Make sure it does not slip aside or loosen its tendency. If you are facing problems doing this, try to use duct tape to keep the string aligned to the front wheel. The tighter you will keep the rope, the better alignment you will have. But don’t tear the rope apart while tightening it. Keep a balance on both sides of the wheel.
Step-5: Measure The Gaps
If you have wrapped the rope tightly, you will be able to notice the gap between the wheels from being properly aligned. So next thing is to focus on the rope and measure the gap between the alignment of the wheels. You can use a measuring tool or measuring tape to measure the gaps. Again, if you have an alignment tool, then use it to identify the amount of gap between them.
Step-6: Observe The Alignment Of The Rear Wheel
The rear wheel is the most important wheel to be aligned first. As the rear wheel holds the chain and is directly operated by it, the alignment of the rear wheel is more important than the front one. So check the alignment of the rear wheel of your motorcycle properly. If you find any imbalance there, you can be sure of the misalignment of the wheels of your motorcycle.
There are some measuring tools available in the market to measure the alignment of the wheels of your motorcycle, you can use them to measure the alignment. But it will be better to measure this in an analog way if you don’t have the wheel alignment symptoms early.
3 Methods You Can Follow To Align The Wheels Of Your Motorcycle:
Motorcycle wheel alignment symptoms will let you know when to align the wheels of your motorcycle. But it will not show you the method of alignment. You can align the wheels of your motorcycle by following one of these 3 methods described below. So follow one of them and align your motorcycle wheel properly.
Method-1: Use Measuring Tape
In this method of aligning the wheels of your motorcycle, you need to use a measuring tape to measure the gaps between the wheels and the wracks. Use the measuring tape to measure from the center of the swingarm pivot to the rear axle on both sides of the wheel.
Check the measurement, if the measurement from both sides is not equal, adjust the wheel position with a wrench until the measurement is equal. Make sure that they maintain proper chain slack. This method is very simple and accurate for only motorcycles that’s bodywork or pivot will not come in the way of measuring both sides.
Method-2: Use Chain Alignment Tool
If the first method of using a measuring tape does not work accurately or your motorcycle does not let you measure both sides because of its bodywork, you may shift to method number two. Using a chain alignment tool will let you visually check the chain alignment as well as the wheel alignment of your motorcycle.
To use this, you need to remove the chain guard and place the tool on the rear sprocket of your motorcycle. Then you have to sight a line down the motorcycle. If your front and rear sprockets are in line, you may be sure of the straight alignment of your rear wheel. But if they are not in line, adjust the wheel to keep it aligned.
Method-3: Parallel Straight Edge Method
This method needs a setup for measuring and aligning the wheels. It relies on two parallel edges running along both the sides of the wheel that you use to make sure your front tire and rear tire are perfectly aligned. The autocratically set up ropes will help you to measure the gaps properly.
Once you have placed your motorcycle in this setup, just measure how much adjustment your wheel needs. The gaps between the wheels and the rear sprockets will determine the adjusting measures. Then adjust them according to the measurement. Make sure that your motorcycle is vertically standing on an equal floor.
These three methods are equally accurate to adjust the alignment of the wheels of your motorcycle. When you have noticed the motorcycle wheel alignment symptoms, align them properly by following one of these methods.
How Do You Know If Your Motorcycle Wheel Needs An Alignment?
The motorcycle wheel alignment symptoms will tell you when you need to align the wheels of your motorcycle. You will feel these natural symptoms while riding the motorcycle. The symptoms may be like facing problems in handling the motorcycle or controlling its movement or the tires can produce unnecessary loud sounds etc.
Another way you may know about the urgency of aligning the wheels of your motorcycle is by measuring both the sides of the wheel from the front tire to the central part of the swingarm. You can also use a wheel alignment tool to measure the amount of adjustment for the wheel of your motorcycle. But most of the time you will feel the symptoms while riding the motorcycle if you ride it regularly.
Why Are The Motorcycle Wheel Alignment Symptoms Important?
The wheel alignment symptoms shown by your motorcycle determine the urgency of aligning the wheels as early as you can. Look, the alignment of the wheels of your motorcycle ensures the safety and stability of your motorcycle when you ride it. It decreases the possible damage to the tires of your motorcycle.
So if you can determine the misaligned tire or wheel early, it will protect you from damaging your tires. The fuel efficiency will be increased. The early symptoms also defend the stability of your motorcycle and safeguard you from facing any unwanted accident. These are the main importance of the motorcycle wheel alignment symptoms.
Does Wheel Alignment Affect Acceleration?
Wheel alignment always plays a vital role in accelerating your motorcycle. A bad or poor wheel alignment will not let you accelerate your motorcycle to your desired way. It may pull your motorcycle in a definite direction, and make your movement tough and risky because of the fraction between the wheel and the handle of your motorcycle.
- On the other hand, a proper and accurate alignment of the wheels of your motorcycle will ensure you a stable and comfortable ride. This will provide better riding movements and smooth accelerations. Better alignment of the wheels also enhances better tire protection for your motorcycle. So yes, wheel alignment affects the acceleration of your motorcycle.
Does Wheel Alignment Affect Performance?
Wheel alignment affects the performance of your motorcycle. If the wheels of your motorcycle are properly aligned, then they will be able to run together harmoniously. This will result in a great experience of riding your motorcycle. It will increase the stability and reduce bumpy rides for you.
On the contrary, when the wheels of your motorcycle are not aligned accurately, the tires can wear unevenly. This will make the engine of your motorcycle work harder by using more fuel. This will also reduce the lifespan of both the tires and the engine of your motorcycle. So wheel alignment plays an important role to stabilize the performance of your motorcycle.
How Often Should You Check The Motorcycle Wheel Alignment?
Naturally, you will see the wheel alignment symptoms of your motorcycle by riding it regularly and feel it in your hands while moving the handles. But still, you need to check the alignment after every 6000-8000 miles of your motorcycle riding. Usually, the user manual includes directions for this.
But if you are a regular motorcycle rider, you need to check both the tires and search for any uneven pattern of tire wear regularly. But sometimes tire wear is a late symptom for most of the damaged tires of your motorcycle. So all you need is to check the tires after every 6000 miles ride. This will not cost you anything but save you from a lot of unwanted difficulties.
Is Checking The Motorcycle Wheel Alignment Symptoms A Time Consuming Process?
Checking the motorcycle wheel alignment symptoms is not a very time-consuming process. It will cost you not more than an hour. Most of the time, a regular motorcycle rider will be able to check the symptoms within half an hour. But it depends on the type of motorcycle you ride.
If the motorcycle you ride has a swing arm in the middle part of its bodywork, then it will let you measure the sprockets of the rear wheel easily. Again, if you use an alignment tool then it will be less time-consuming. So it depends on how and what kind of motorcycle wheel alignment you are checking or measuring. But it will never cost you more than an hour.
How Much Does Motorcycle Wheel Alignment Cost?
A motorcycle wheel alignment will cost you about $80 for a single alignment and not more than $150 for a full alignment. Although it depends on where you are making this alignment process done. It varies from place to place and mechanic to mechanic. So better do it yourself, it will cost you a smaller amount of money.
The most important thing you need to keep in mind is that motorcycles require different types of alignment according to the size and shape of their bodywork. So the variation of the cost will also depend on what kind of measuring tool you are using to adjust the alignment. But don’t worry, whatever you may do to align the wheels, it will not cost you more than 200 USD at a maximum rate.
Does Motorcycle Wheel Alignment Reduce The Damage Of The Tyres?
A properly aligned motorcycle wheel alignment reduces the possibility of damage to the tires. The basic reason behind this is that the accurate placement of the tires reduces the fraction in between. The tires run smoothly with stable conduct with the road when they are properly aligned. This ensures the protection of tires from uneven wearing.
What Happens If You Ignore The Motorcycle Wheel Alignment Symptoms?
If you ignore the motorcycle wheel alignment symptoms, it may result in an unwanted accident or colossal damage to the tires of your motorcycle. The misaligned wheels cause unstable motorcycle riding and reduce the fuel efficiency of your motorcycle.
Moreover, the engine has to work harder because of the misaligned wheels. This creates a huge possibility of reducing the lifespan of the engine. If you ignore the symptoms you will not be able to handle your motorcycle the way you want it to be. This can hamper the acceleration and the performance of your motorcycle.
What Should You Do If You Notice The Motorcycle Wheel Alignment Symptoms?
The first thing you should do when you notice motorcycle wheel alignment symptoms is to check the alignment of both wheels. Then if you find any misaligned wheels there, you must fix them by adjusting the alignment of the wheels accurately.
To adjust the alignment of the wheels you may use an alignment tool or measuring tape method on your own. But if you don’t feel it is safe you can contact an experienced mechanic and get the wheels of your motorcycle aligned. So right after you notice the wheel alignment symptoms, adjust them as soon as you can.
Motorcycle wheel alignment symptoms are the natural indicators to determine the urgency of adjusting the alignment of the wheels or tires of your motorcycle. To enjoy a smooth and stable ride, you must give proper importance to these symptoms and immediately adjust the alignment.
However, I have shared my entire experience regarding the motorcycle wheel alignment symptoms. You should never ignore them. Adjusting the alignments is very easy and simple for experienced riders. Hopefully, you will be able to do this yourself now.
You might be interested in: