What are the Common Problems Associated with Dually Wheels?

4WheelOnline
5 min readSep 4, 2023

Dual or dual-rear wheels (DRW) setups are standard in trucks and other heavy-duty vehicles. The configuration involves having two wheels mounted on the vehicle’s rear axle. The purpose of DRW is to provide increased stability and weight-bearing capacity, particularly when carrying heavy loads or towing trailers.

Dual-rear wheels can add style, utility, and convenience to your ride. But before you commit, it’s important to understand what common problems may arise with this type of wheel setup.

Photo Credit: Saud Al-Olayan

Common Problems Faced by Vehicles with Dually Wheels

While dually trucks have advantages, they also come with their fair share of problems owners may encounter.

Uneven Tire Wear and Alignment Issues

Misalignment is one of the leading causes of uneven tire wear on dual wheels. When the wheels are not correctly aligned, it can lead to excessive tire scrubbing and uneven weight distribution across the tires. It often results in one or more tires wearing down faster than others. Alignment problems with dually wheel setups can occur for various reasons, such as hitting potholes or curbs, driving over rough terrain, or even general wear and tear over time. It is essential to regularly check the alignment of your dual rear wheels to avoid potential issues.

It is recommended to consult a professional mechanic or specialized tire shop with experience working with these configurations to address uneven tire wear and alignment problems with DRW. They have the tools and expertise to diagnose alignment issues and accurately perform the required adjustments. Regular maintenance checks for proper alignment will help extend your tires’ lifespan and ensure optimal performance and safety while driving your vehicle with dual-rear wheels.

Poor Fuel Efficiency and Increased Rolling Resistance

Rolling resistance refers to the force required to keep a tire rolling. In the case of dually wheels, the contact area with the road is larger compared to single rear wheels. The larger contact area increases friction and, subsequently, higher rolling resistance.

The increased rolling resistance on trucks equipped with DRW can decrease fuel efficiency. The engine has to work harder to overcome this resistance, leading to higher fuel consumption. It is noticeable at highway speeds where aerodynamic drag already plays a significant role in fuel efficiency.

Truck owners can consider a few strategies to mitigate the impact of poor fuel efficiency on dually wheels. One option is investing in low-rolling-resistance tires designed explicitly for DRW configurations. These tires are engineered to minimize friction and improve fuel economy.

Another approach is ensuring proper tire inflation pressure. Under-inflated tires can increase rolling resistance, while over-inflated tires can cause uneven wear and reduce overall efficiency. Regular tire maintenance and monitoring are crucial in maintaining optimal fuel efficiency. Reducing unnecessary weight on the vehicle can also help improve fuel economy. By minimizing excess cargo or equipment that adds excessive weight, truck owners can lessen the strain placed on the engine and reduce overall fuel consumption.

Difficulties in Maneuverability and Parking

One of the main difficulties in maneuvering with dually wheels is the wider turning radius compared to vehicles with single rear wheels. The added width between the two sets of tires requires a larger turning radius to navigate corners and make sharp turns. It can be particularly challenging in congested urban areas or narrow streets where tight maneuvers are often required.

Parking a vehicle with dual wheels can also be problematic due to the increased width. Finding suitable parking spots that accommodate the wider stance of these vehicles can be challenging, especially in crowded parking lots or urban environments where space is limited. Additionally, backing up and parallel parking becomes more difficult with dually wheels. The wider wheelbase requires extra caution and skill when reversing or fitting into tight parallel parking spaces.

Despite these difficulties, there are techniques and strategies that drivers of vehicles equipped with DRW can employ to navigate these challenges more effectively. This may include utilizing wide-open spaces whenever possible, planning routes that avoid narrow streets or areas with limited maneuverability, and practicing patience when making turns or finding suitable parking spots.

Risk of Overloading and Exceeding Payload Capacity

Overloading and exceeding payload capacity can pose significant risks, especially for trucks with a DRW setup. These dual-wheel overload issues can lead to various problems affecting the vehicle’s performance and safety. A truck exceeding its payload capacity puts excessive strain on the suspension, braking system, and tires. It can result in reduced maneuverability, increased stopping distances, and decreased overall stability. The added weight can also cause excessive wear and tear on various vehicle components, leading to potential breakdowns or failures.

In the case of trucks with DRW like American Force wheels, where two wheels are mounted side by side on each axle, overloading becomes even more critical. Exceeding the payload capacity on these vehicles can exceed the weight rating for each tire or axle. It puts immense stress on the tires and increases the risk of blowouts or tire failure. Moreover, overloading a truck with a dual-wheel setup can affect its handling characteristics. It can lead to poor cornering stability and increase the likelihood of rollovers or loss of control while navigating curves or uneven surfaces.

Inadequate Suspension Performance and Ride Comfort

One common problem is proper suspension tuning for trucks with dual rear wheels. The additional weight and configuration of the dually wheels can result in stiffer suspension settings, leading to a harsher ride. It is noticeable when driving over uneven road surfaces or encountering potholes. Another issue is the increased lateral stiffness caused by the wider track width of trucks with DRW. It can result in reduced stability during cornering, as well as an increase in road noise and vibrations transferred to the cabin.

Manufacturers have been developing suspension systems specifically designed for vehicles with dually wheels to address these challenges. These systems aim to provide better shock absorption, load distribution, and ride comfort. Additionally, advancements in suspension technology, such as adaptive dampers or air suspensions, offer potential solutions for mitigating these issues.

Sum Up

Properly setting up and maintaining your DRW can lead to a much smoother and safer driving experience. With simple maintenance techniques, you can ensure the wheels last longer and work at their highest capacity. Additionally, having an awareness of the various issues related to dually can help you avoid potential problems in the first place. Taking good care of your dual-rear wheel is just as important as any other part of your vehicle — if not more so. You may think it’s tedious, but it pays off as a secure journey every time you hit the road.

Don’t wait any longer; check your dually truck occasionally and give it the extra attention it deserves.

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