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Old 08-27-2007, 02:44 PM   #1
rreuben
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Default 4 wheel alignment - how often and where to do this?

Hi folks,

How often would a 4 wheel alignment be recommended? I got 2 new Michelin tires at Costco last week and was wondering if I should have this done. The tech at Costco recommended alignment in the service receipt.

Also, the dealer quote is $120+ while I have a GoodYear nearby that is willing to do it for $60. Any difference in what the dealer would do v/s what the GoodYear computerized alignment would get me (both are 4 wheel alignments but GoodYear says it will give a 12 month, 12K mile warranty) Any recommendations on which service to use?

Thanks.

Ron

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Old 08-27-2007, 02:53 PM   #2
adhsc2
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Default Re: 4 wheel alignment - how often and where to do this?

dealership always charges double for the same work. go to goodyear. have your alignment checked every 15k miles. CHECKED...not done. and if your car is pulling to 1 side or the other, or you have premature tire wear and your tires are inflated properly, have an alignment done. $60-$75 is average for a 4 wheel alignment.

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Old 08-27-2007, 02:58 PM   #3
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Default Re: 4 wheel alignment - how often and where to do this?

had a 4 wheel alignment a while ago for $100.00 at a good shop. only reason was because all 4 struts were replaced and the shop that installed the struts does not do alignments so i had to go to a different shop.

i'd also check the front alignment once a year as it is a FWD car.

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Old 08-27-2007, 03:07 PM   #4
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Default Re: 4 wheel alignment - how often and where to do this?

Actually the dealer here used to take it to an indy shop to get done. They're probably charging double so one of their workers can drive the car over and wait.

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Old 08-27-2007, 04:02 PM   #5
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Default Re: 4 wheel alignment - how often and where to do this?

What did your old tires look like? Did they wear evenly?

My tires on my 95 SL2 with 178k miles on it are wearing perfectly even. I've never had an alignment done, and because my tires are wearing perfectly, I'm not going to.

I'm not a fan of paying to have random things fixed when they're not broken.

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Old 08-27-2007, 07:50 PM   #6
kthane
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Default Re: 4 wheel alignment - how often and where to do this?

Wheel alignment is rarely needed unless you jumped the river at the end of Hazzard County. I've got 135K on my car and get it checked for free everytime I get new goodyear tires. They always say everything checks out.

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Old 08-28-2007, 01:11 AM   #7
rreuben
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Default Re: 4 wheel alignment - how often and where to do this?

Thanks for the tips.

My car pulls a bit to the right when accelerating (tire pressure on both front wheels seems to be the same).

The tire wear seemed more on the outer side of the front left.

What worries me the most was that one of the tires had this weird wear pattern on the inner side of the front left tire. There were some patches (almost squares) where the wear was somewhat more than the rest of the tire. Wish I had taken a picture now to post with this response Also, didn't get to meet the tech who changed the tires to ask why he was recommending an alignment.

Ron

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Old 08-28-2007, 01:45 AM   #8
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Default Re: 4 wheel alignment - how often and where to do this?

It sounds to me like he was recommending an alignment because of what your tires looked like. It also sounds to me like you need an alignment.

Find out what type of warranty Goodyear provides. Like for how many miles?

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Old 08-28-2007, 05:13 AM   #9
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Default Re: 4 wheel alignment - how often and where to do this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rreuben View Post
What worries me the most was that one of the tires had this weird wear pattern on the inner side of the front left tire. There were some patches (almost squares) where the wear was somewhat more than the rest of the tire. Wish I had taken a picture now to post with this response Also, didn't get to meet the tech who changed the tires to ask why he was recommending an alignment.
I would take it in for an alignment. It's the best way to get your front end diagnosed by a pro for free. I suspect you may have some worn front end parts causing that wear.

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Old 08-28-2007, 07:27 AM   #10
Bill Murray
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Default Re: 4 wheel alignment - how often and where to do this?

97SC1
10 yrs - 130,000 miles
alignment never touched
tires (3rd set) wearing great - rotated every 10,000
someday I may do new struts.......

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Old 08-28-2007, 08:13 AM   #11
RevoRacer
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Default Re: 4 wheel alignment - how often and where to do this?

If you have some patience and an hour of spare time, you can do it yourself.
Here's a similar method that I do:
http://www.negative-camber.org/jam14...alignment.html

Once you do it, you'll see how easy it is. You'll never want to spend those ridiculous prices for a wheel alignment again.
The only thing extra I had to buy was a digital caliper. I think I paid $20 for it at Harbor freight.

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Old 08-28-2007, 09:34 AM   #12
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Default Re: 4 wheel alignment - how often and where to do this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Murray View Post
97SC1
10 yrs - 130,000 miles
alignment never touched
tires (3rd set) wearing great - rotated every 10,000
someday I may do new struts.......
^^^^ my alignment has not been done since 1996, about 200K miles ago. My tire wear is normal and the car tracks and brakes straight.

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Old 08-28-2007, 12:03 PM   #13
PaulN64
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Default Re: 4 wheel alignment - how often and where to do this?

Mine is done every 6k. Price, now it's free since I bought the lifetime alignment from Tires Plus. Paid $99 and hadn't had to pay for an alignment since then. That was in Jan 05.

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Old 08-28-2007, 12:06 PM   #14
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Default Re: 4 wheel alignment - how often and where to do this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RevoRacer View Post
If you have some patience and an hour of spare time, you can do it yourself.
I'm sure they could do it themselves, but $60 really isn't that much, and those guys use the laser guided huge complicated expensive computerized things that they mount to all 4 tires to make sure they get everything perfect. I think that's worth the $60 when you actually do need an alignment. If you don't need one, it's a waste of money.

I'm pretty convinced that rreuben needs an alignment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulN64 View Post
Mine is done every 6k. Price, now it's free since I bought the lifetime alignment from Tires Plus. Paid $99 and hadn't had to pay for an alignment since then. That was in Jan 05.
That's a good deal (for both you and them). Now you get free alignments for the rest of the life of your car and since you're there anyway, you're probably going to buy your tires from Tires Plus.

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Old 08-28-2007, 01:33 PM   #15
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Default Re: 4 wheel alignment - how often and where to do this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by oseberg View Post
I'm not a fan of paying to have random things fixed when they're not broken.
I concur.

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Old 08-28-2007, 01:59 PM   #16
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Default Re: 4 wheel alignment - how often and where to do this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rreuben View Post
What worries me the most was that one of the tires had this weird wear pattern on the inner side of the front left tire. There were some patches (almost squares) where the wear was somewhat more than the rest of the tire.
this happened to me because of a bad alignment one time...i believe its called "threading", and it should come along with a sound similar to a bad wheel bearing at high speeds.

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Old 08-28-2007, 04:19 PM   #17
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Default Re: 4 wheel alignment - how often and where to do this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by oseberg View Post
I'm not a fan of paying to have random things fixed when they're not broken.
Only problem is that sometimes you can't really tell an alignment is off until it's checked. When I use to have my Camaro SS, the car didn't pull at all and rode fine. I never really thought about an alignment. One day just happen to look at the front tire and there was more wear on the outside part of the tire. The camber was way off but you couldn't tell from how the car drove. In the end I had to buy new tires prematurely and I had an SS so tires were $200 a piece. I figured probably lost about 10k miles from the tires due to the alignment.

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Old 08-28-2007, 04:25 PM   #18
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Default Re: 4 wheel alignment - how often and where to do this?

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Originally Posted by PaulN64 View Post
One day just happen to look at the front tire and there was more wear on the outside part of the tire.
Apparently you were able to tell. You should always look at your tires before you replace them and when you fill air. If you can't tell that you need an alignment, then you don't need one.

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Old 08-28-2007, 04:48 PM   #19
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Default Re: 4 wheel alignment - how often and where to do this?

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Originally Posted by oseberg View Post
Apparently you were able to tell. You should always look at your tires before you replace them and when you fill air. If you can't tell that you need an alignment, then you don't need one.
That was by chance that I looked at the tire and not that I was specifically checking for it. The wear happened over a period of time and I couldn't tell from how the car drove. The point is that you don't want to wait until there is visual evidence that the alignment is off. It'll be too late by that time. Like me, you'll loose a few k's worth of use from your tires.

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Old 08-28-2007, 05:09 PM   #20
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Default Re: 4 wheel alignment - how often and where to do this?

Well, you sort of always have old tires on your car when you go to buy new ones. And if your old tires look fine when you replace them with new ones, then you don't need an alignment at that time.

I doubt that they'll accidentally screw up your alignment when they install the new tires, so as soon as they're installed you still don't need an alignment.

Then, if you go get an alignment you're wasting your money.

Then a week later you lend your car to a friend and he drives up a curb and doesn't tell you, and somehow the alignment is screwed up in a way that it'll wear out your tires, but you can't tell.

Then 6000 miles later you've been filling your tires with air without looking at them and suddenly you need new tires because your old ones are worn all crooked and you got your alignment that you didn't need and you still wasted your tires.

Now how probable is this scenario? Especially considering that I've never had an alignment in any of my cars and I've hit speed pumps pretty hard several times, and I've also clipped the curb on my way into parking lots a few times and my tires have always worn evenly enough that by the time I've needed new tires my tread has been pretty evenly worn.

I guess everyone can be paranoid and go get their alignment checked every 6 months and then nobody will have to waste rubber, but the total amount of money spent on checking their alignment by all those people would be far more than the amount of money currently spent on wasted rubber.

I don't know what you did to your car to screw up the alignment, and I don't know why you weren't able to notice, but you should've been able to notice by looking at the tires like you did. And you probably could've noticed the wear on them sooner if you had looked at them sooner.

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