: Why Should You Get Regular Alignments ?



Superjim
08-06-13, 11:06 AM
Just read BillBill's experience at the Firestone alignment shop...
That makes me sad and a little angry... :mad:

My question is... why does almost everyone have their car aligned periodically ???


My car has over 131,000 miles on it and it has NEVER had an alignment.
I have had it checked a few times at my dealer... but it has never needed alignment.

A lady friend of ours got ripped off for almost $1,000 bucks a couple of years ago at an alignment shop for work that ( I feel ) didn't need to be done.

Shortly after that, I had my car in for an oil change and checkup at my dealer.
I "SPECIFICALLY" asked them to check the front end and the alignment to make sure everything was all ok.
I was fixing to make a 6,000 mile road trip and didn't want any problems while I was far away from home.

They said that all mechanical parts were fine and gave me a pretty color printout of where they checked the alignment and it was well within specs... :thumbsup:

Now... "The Rest Of The Story"... :)

Over the next few days I went to "SIX" alignment places that advertise free alignment checks...
EVERY ONE OF THEM found things wrong with my car...

Estimates ranged from $250 dollars to over $1,200 dollars... :hmm: :hmm:

Remember .. I had just had it at my Cadillac Dealer and they said NOTHING was wrong with it.

So that brings me back to me original question...
If it drives good... if it doesn't ROAD WALK... if it doesn't pull one way or the other... if it will stay in your lane for several hundred yards while going down the freeway with your hands just slightly off of the steering wheel...

WHY take it in for periodic alignments ???

Please give me your opinions... maybe I am missing something important about having one aligned...

hazcaddy
08-06-13, 11:27 AM
I too get a regular "results sheet" when I take my car in for its semi-annual check-up, but twice over the last 10 years an alignment has been necessary. I never noticed it while driving, but once it was noticed on the alignment machine and the other time uneven tire wear was spotted by the mechanic, who then checked the alignment.

The most likely culprit was either a pothole or me whacking the curb while parking.

ryannel2003
08-06-13, 01:22 PM
It really depends on how the roads are in your town. For the most part the roads here are fine but there are a few that are trouble and have caused some alignment issues with my previous cars. I know tire manufacturers require an alignment when installing new tires or they will not honor the warranty if there are any issues with the car.

Superjim
08-06-13, 01:56 PM
It really depends on how the roads are in your town. For the most part the roads here are fine but there are a few that are trouble and have caused some alignment issues with my previous cars.
I know tire manufacturers require an alignment when installing new tires or they will not honor the warranty if there are any issues with the car.

I have never heard of THAT before...
I have NEVER EVER had to get an alignment when buying new tires in well over 50 years of driving...
Maybe it's different here in Texas...

grullon10
08-06-13, 05:04 PM
If any one has driving in new york city know that we have to do wheel alligment very 6 month new york street are a nightmare.

TulsaVic
08-06-13, 06:09 PM
If it ain't broke, don't fix it. My first car (1969 Firebird) drove wonderfully for the first 25k miles until I replaced the tires and had the alignment checked. Took four subsequent alignments to undo the damage done by that alignment check. Haven't been a fan of alignments ever since. I think if you have a problem you'll either feel it in the steering wheel or see it with tire wear. If those things are fine, leave it alone.... My opinion.

Tomko
08-06-13, 08:34 PM
I too was disturbed by billbill1's experiences.

In my community Firestone was caught by one of the local TV stations in a sting operation.

They had an inspected car go into Firestone for a check and had it come out with damaged parts and a large repair estimate.

Firestone was exposed and all of their shops in town closed a few months later. This happened a good 20 years ago and they've never come back.

Now I know that they may have been franchises and that it only takes one bad apple - but Firestone was ruined in this town.

Sad, because when I was a kid Firestone was the only place my father would go for wheel alignment and balancing.

TopherS
08-06-13, 09:49 PM
I have never heard of THAT before...
I have NEVER EVER had to get an alignment when buying new tires in well over 50 years of driving...
Maybe it's different here in Texas...

I've never had to get an alignment done when buying tires...but I have had to fix steering/suspension components when buying tires...and I've had to get periodic alignments to avoid voiding out my warranty...

A few years ago, I bought Goodyear ComforTred tires for my Buick Park Avenue. They are advertised as 80K mile tires...and they were shot after 33K. The local Sears Auto Center was great about helping me with invoking the warranty...however...Goodyear tried to claim I voided the warranty by not aligning my tires every year and rotating them, as well. I argued that the one alignment that I did not have a receipt for was done at a different store and that the one tire rotation was done in my driveway...whilst the rest were all done at the Sears Auto Center...and were documented as so. Goodyear conceded and honored the warranty...and I got new tires for free. I did, however, have to pay for mounting/balancing...and at that time, because Sears said one of my tie rods (or something like that) was worn, I had to replace that...otherwise, Sears said it would void my warranty...and pointed it out in the warranty information sheet.

By the way, the second set of ComforTred tires lasted well over 50K miles and were still good at the time I traded that car in.

Tom's Caddy
08-09-13, 12:20 PM
I agree with not having alignments, maybe (New York City) drivers. In most cases with the factory specs you don't even need to have the alignment done when replacing most front end parts.(REALLY):yup:

billbill1
08-10-13, 09:07 AM
Superjim
My alignment, with Firestone, is one of those, "Life Time" things. I usually watch tire ware,and handling, as
you noted. My concern, on this last alignment, was that I changed, R&L front struts and strut mounts, at
100,000 miles. The ride improvement, was quite noticeable, the only change I might make next time, would be to go with the total, strut, strut mount, spring, package.

jazoo
08-11-13, 06:22 PM
Wheel alignment and tire balancing may not be necessary on a frequent basis unless you live in the north snowy country or in the large city where chuck/pot holes are predominant. You may have to realign your vehicle after you hit the curb hard while parking. You may have to realign your vehicle following the replacement of one or more front end components. You could tell if you need alignment or tire balancing when driving. I have not had wheel alignment/tire balancing done for over two years.

tjwhite721
10-15-13, 11:00 PM
Can you rear end alignment be off, but your front end alignment be good? My tires weren't rotated probably and cuff (spelling) on two tires were noticeable. They said it could be from uneven pressure from the rear.

Superjim
10-15-13, 11:51 PM
Can you rear end alignment be off, but your front end alignment be good? My tires weren't rotated probably and cuff (spelling) on two tires were noticeable. They said it could be from uneven pressure from the rear.

Yes, the rear alignment CAN be off... but not usually.
If it is your car will be running down the road kinda sideways.
One way I check the front to rear alignment is, when the tires are wet and I pull into my garage... I look to see if the back tires are tracking straight with the front tires or if they are off a little bit to one side.

Cupping on tires are usually caused by improper alignment of the FRONT wheels or not rotating them often enough... not the rear.
It is POSSIBLE for them to do it on the rear, but that would be very unusual.

MrZoSo
10-16-13, 12:38 AM
in NJ with 110k + miles and never an alignment.

aghgrn
10-17-13, 07:11 PM
I honestly get tired of all the constant rotate/balance/align stuff as well. Basically buy all "life time" rotate/balance/align with my first tire change and bring it back there every time to change the oil. If they want to align it, fine because I bought the lifetime alignment. I personally feel the tire shops (Firestone/Tires Plus/NTB/etc) can handle all the oil change/brakes/suspension/tire stuff on almost any car. They will almost all offer the lifetime alignment for about the price of 3 regular alignments. I'm more wary of other mechanical work though. My previous good independent mechanic that knew Northstar's in the Kansas City area has just retired so I'm looking for one if anyone has a recommendation.

purelux
10-18-13, 09:34 AM
My 2003 deville was aligned less than a year ago front was off but barely rear was way off. Car went in due to replacing a front tie rod end ironically toe was fine in front picked up 1.5-2 mpg avg since.