Thursday, September 22, 2011

How do I know if my car needs an alignment?

The last time I brought my car in for an oil change the techs told me my tires were wearing and I needed to think about getting news ones. When I informed them that the tires had just over 20,000 miles on them and that their store had given me a 60,000 miles guarantee they backpedaled and decided I must need an alignment then. The car has 86,000 miles on it but it handles fine. I have had the tire rotation and balancing done religiously every 6-10k miles. I don't want to get jacked out of 80 bucks because I'm a 'clueless woman.'

also what is diff between wheel alignment and front end alignment?

also can anyone recommend a national chain (Saturn dealer is expensive and takes 3 hours for oil change) that doesn't rip people off as a general rule?How do I know if my car needs an alignment?
the fact that you burned through a set of tires in 20 k miles says you need an alignment also if the steering wheel is not straight, car drifts to the left or right ( a hard pull is usually a tire issue) where i work in northern wi we charge 42.95 for a 2 wheel alignment and 64.95 for a 4 wheel alignment truck are 79.95 as for front end align or wheel align same critter.How do I know if my car needs an alignment?
If you went 80,000 on a set of tires that is amazing dont align it.How do I know if my car needs an alignment?
an alignment fixes the 2 common problems with tire wear caused by bad wheel alignment,

%26quot;TOE%26quot; (usually comes out of alignment becuase you hit a pothole, curb, or something with one tire really hard)

If the tires wear heavily on the inside, the tires are pointing to far outward

(so looking down from above the car it would be like \--/ )

on the outside, tire are point to far inward

(so looking down from above the car it would be like /--\ )

a way to check if the toe is right

(this will take 3 people to do, one on each front tire and one turning the wheel)

step 1 set the tires so that they appear to be straight

step 2 measure the distance from the outside of the front of the tire to the fender. do this on both sides of the car.

step 3 now go turn the wheels slightly in the

1: direction of the bigger measurement if the wheels DO NOT stick out from under the fender

2: direction of the smaller measrement if the wheels DO stick out from under the fender

(here is why you need three people to do this)

step 4 have the 2 people call out there measurements, repeat steps 3 %26amp; 4 until measurement are even.

step 5 next measure the distance from the outside of the back of the tire to the fender.

They should be even to eachother and no more than an 1/8%26quot; (for car tires fitting 15%26quot; rims) bigger that the measurement taken from the front of the tires.

It ain't the best way to do it but it will show you if the toe is set really bad.

%26quot;CHAMBER%26quot; (usually happens from the suppension sagging)

If the tires wear heavily on the outside, the tires are leaning to far outward

(so looking straight into the headlights \--/ )

on the inside, tire are leaning to far inward

(so looking down from above the car it would be like /--\ )

as for checking the chamber on you own, if the chamber is set so that you can notice than it is excessive. Except in the case of some cars like the Honda civic have a real heavy positive chamber (leaning inward) because it is a %26quot;racing%26quot; kind of car, and having the wheels like that helps with traction while turning.

alignment only needs to be addressed if you still have a fair amount of tread on a good area and no tread on the problem area.

As for the tire shop take it to %26quot;Discount Tire Co. or America's Tire%26quot; ( depending on what state you live in. They have never done me wrong. I have used them for about 10 years now. If you ask they even match competitors prices. But they only do tires, so you will have to find another place to do oil.

Can't help you much with the oil though I just get it done at a local place or do it myself. but don't go to the dealer, they always take forever and rip you off.How do I know if my car needs an alignment?
If the car doesn't pull to one side when u let go of the wheel, then i would suggest that u take some lead outta ur foot while going around cornersHow do I know if my car needs an alignment?
If you are not comfortable with the job the garage you are going to is doing, go somewhere else.

I would suggest that if they claimed you needed new tires and then changed their minds and recommended an alignment, have them put it in writing. Then go somewhere else and ask another mechanic for a second opinion. If they agree that an alignment is the cause of the premature wear on your tires, then it is probably best to get it done. If not, you can go back and see about getting the tires replaced under their 60K mile guarantee.

One of the ways to determine if an alignment is due is to drive on a level road and remove your hands from the steering wheel. If the car drifts to one side or the other, you probably have an alignment issue (although it could also be low tire pressure in one tire or even a loose tie-rod).

Keep in mind that like someone else mentioned, even if the car is not drifting left or right, the wheels may be out of alignment. For example, if both the driver and passenger side tires are angled inward /---\ or outward \---/, the car may drive straight, but the gradual wear on the tires will be noticeable pretty quickly.

Find a service center that you can feel comfortable with, and always ask them for the old parts back. Good garages will supply these to you automatically, or some will ask if you want them.

I usually play the part of the %26quot;clueless guy%26quot; and tell the garage I want to see the parts because I want to learn more about my car and what pieces they are referring to when they tell me something needs changing. In actuality, I check to make sure that the part they gave me is actually a Saturn part, and that it is the same part number that was stated on my bill.

Once you find someone you can trust, don't give them a hard time about the bill. All parts and service are expensive on a car nowadays, and you are only hurting yourself if you give the honest mechanic a hard time.How do I know if my car needs an alignment?
your car will pull to either the left or right, look at your tires do they look like they are wearing more on one sideHow do I know if my car needs an alignment?
If your car is out of alignment, it will show wear on the tire. Either the inner wall (tread closest to the vehicle) or the outer wall (tread away from vehicle). This would be a good starting point. Also when you apply the brakes, the steering wheel may pull to the left or right. Another test would be the let the wheel go to see if the car drifts to left or right. When trying this, it may take a few times to make sure the wheels are actually straight. Also make sure the street you do this on has good pavement. Shop around for alignments...generally they run from about 50 to 100, depending on your car and what type of alignment it may need, i.e 2 wheel or 4 wheel. If you have a Les Schwab in your area, they are very dependable.How do I know if my car needs an alignment?
I get you right away about being a %26quot;clueless woman%26quot; Under these circumstances, the best thing you can do is take a man, preferably one that knows something about automobile mechanics, but if not, one who can fake it. If they're backpeddaling as you say, all the more reason to take a man, or a good female mechanic. They're out there. Good luck.How do I know if my car needs an alignment?
If you stop at a light or a stop sign and your car pulls to one side.

If you're on a straight road tale your hands off the wheel and see if it veers to one side.How do I know if my car needs an alignment?
The best thing to do is to find a local reputable chain (six or seven local stores). A front end alignment is part of a regular alignment. A regular alignment is all four wheels. You can usually tell if you need an alignment because your car doesn't track straight or pulls to one side. It is possible for your camber/caster to be off without the car pulling.

The local shops here charge $60 - $100. The best and most comprehensive alignment I've ever had was from a Nissan Dealer. Dealerships usually have the best alignment equipment (laser-guided and so forth) - so it may be worth the extra $$ to go to the dealer, if you can't find remedy anywhere else.How do I know if my car needs an alignment?
Front tires worn on the inside and/or stering wheel off centered.How do I know if my car needs an alignment?
Your alignment could be off by an enormous amount and you would never know it by driving it - the car will seem %26quot;fine%26quot;. No pulls, no tendency to wander or drift to the next lane. It only shows up over time in uneven and premature tire wear. Most people think that an out of spec alignment will always cause the car to pull or have some other issue but 98 times out of 100 that is not true.

The shop where I work does on average, 7 alignment checks per day. On average 5 of those vehicles checked have an alignment that is out of spec. Less than one of them came in with a customer complaint that something might be amiss with the alignment. The rest had no idea anything was amiss - the car seemed to drive just fine. Most modern cars have very narrow margins for error on the alignment - 0.20 of a degree or less is often the allowable range of adjustment for an alignment to still be %26quot;in spec%26quot;.

For those reasons you should have the alignment checked at least once a year. I do mine every 6 months. Not only does a bad alignment cause uneven tire wear but it can prematurely wear suspension and steering components and cost you gas mileage.

There are basically two different types of alignments. What is often called a %26quot;front-wheel alignment%26quot; but is more accurately referred to as a %26quot;thrust angle alignment%26quot; is for vehicles that have no adjustments in the rear axle. This would include solid axle vehicles like pickup trucks and some minivans. Most passenger cars have 4-wheel independent suspension with adjustments at all four wheels. These obviously then require a 4-wheel alignment. Most shops charge a few dollars more to adjust 4 wheels.How do I know if my car needs an alignment?
steering wheel off center

car pulls in a direction when the wheel is released

abmormal wear on the inside or outside of the tire

for the most part expect about $50-75 for an alignment depending on where you liveHow do I know if my car needs an alignment?
it handles fine--with your hands on the steering wheel. what happens when you let go--------if it starts swaying to one side or the other (and the tires are inflated to the proper level) then you need to get them aligned. and yeah it costs some money to have qualified technicians work on the vehicle that you trust your life on.

people are so fraking cheap and want to save 5-10 dollars when working on something like their car but think absolutely nothing on spending the same amount on some thing like dinner, shoes,a hair cut or other life threatening purchases.

get a clue!!!!!!!!!!!!

you don't say what make or year is your car but take it to the maker and they will do it right.

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