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Old 08-19-2016, 07:36 AM
 
3,762 posts, read 2,934,871 times
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It really depends on the car. Some cars are designed from the factory with aggressive specs for camber and toe, and if either of those specs gets off even a little bit, you can get rapid tire wear until it's brought back to factory spec. Even then, you typically experience shorter than average tire life. Other cars are designed with more neutral suspension geometry, the wheels are more "squared up" to the road surface, and they can fluctuate quite a bit from the factory suspension settings before you'll start to get any uneven wear.

I've noticed that all the Mercedes cars I've had in the past have never had an alignment problem, they track straight with no uneven wear. The alignment spec sheet shows that most of the parameters are nearly zeroed out, it's not an aggressive alignment at all. This was for non AMG versions, those may have a different alignment spec, seeing how they are the "performance" models. Same thing goes for Jeeps, never had alignment problems with them either, very neutral specs.

Asian cars have been a mixed bag. Some (like Acura in my experience) have been terrible and need to be rechecked a lot. Others (like Lexus and Infiniti) have fared much better.
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Old 08-19-2016, 07:45 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan
2,226 posts, read 4,112,600 times
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on a as needed basis...if it ain't broke don't fix it
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Old 08-19-2016, 08:02 AM
 
4,315 posts, read 3,275,506 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by topher5150 View Post
on a as needed basis...if it ain't broke don't fix it
best answer yet !
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Old 08-19-2016, 08:04 AM
 
7,255 posts, read 4,410,144 times
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I rotate and balance every 9,000 miles. Alignments I do when I feel a left/right pull that's noticeable, or if during the the rotate/balance unusual wear is noted on tires and the balance wasn't far off.
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Old 08-19-2016, 08:30 AM
 
7,699 posts, read 8,117,374 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David A Stone View Post
best answer yet !
P T Barnum would love folks as this.
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Old 08-19-2016, 08:51 AM
 
4,315 posts, read 3,275,506 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unit731 View Post
P T Barnum would love folks as this.
No, PT Barnum would love folks who part with their money $$$$$$$$$$$ for a wheel alignment when it wasn't needed.


I rotate my tires every 10,000 miles and would get a wheel alignment...IF...my tires had uneven wear or if it was pulling to the left or right at highway speeds.


Oil change places telling customers they need an alignment is many times what PT Barnum meant when he said.........." there is a sucker born every minute "
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Old 08-19-2016, 06:25 PM
 
Location: on the edge of Sanity
14,267 posts, read 17,373,032 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David A Stone View Post
Oil change places telling customers they need an alignment is many times what PT Barnum meant when he said.........." there is a sucker born every minute "
Just a note. I don't know if you were referring to my post, but I had the oil change in a NAPA Collision Center. It isn't what you referred to as an "oil change place." It's a very modern state-of-the-art facility. It took them over an hour, so possibly they did all the checks. I'll never really know. If they mentioned brakes or my air filter, I would have been suspicious, since I just changed my engine air filter and cabin air filter and my brakes were measured @ 85% only a month ago.

I was only asking for opinions, not criticism.
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Old 08-19-2016, 09:00 PM
 
1,950 posts, read 2,879,689 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueDay1 View Post
How often do you do wheel alignment on your car?

A) Every 5,000 miles
B) Every 10,000 miles
C) Every 50,000 miles
D) Whenever you change tires
E) Never
I am a shop owner. Many years ago I attended a front end repair/alignment seminar. The instructor started off getting the attention of the class by asking: "What is the number one cause of misaligned wheels?" The techs' answers were "hitting curbs," "potholes, etc." He said "No, the number one cause of misaligned wheels is WHEEL ALIGNMENTS."

I agree wholeheartedly. Many alignments are both unnecessary and poorly performed. Normal bumping curbs, potholes, etc. do not produce forces that exceed what is called the "elastic limit" of suspension components and so should not compromise alignment at all.

Alignment is called for under certain specific circumstances:

1. Uneven tire wear, but NOT tires wearing approximately the same on both outside edges more than the center. This is caused by underinflation or lack of tire rotation or both. "Cupping" or "scalloping" is not caused by alignment, but by over-inflation perhaps combined with lack of rotation. Tires wearing on one side but not the other DO indicate an alignment problem.

2. Steering wheel is notably off-center. Alignment advised. Should be on all four wheels unless truck or other vehicle with convention solid rear axle.

3. Car pulls to one side. MAYBE, but LIKELY NOT. Try rotating tires or replacing worn tires first as this fixes the majority of instances of steering wheel pull in modern automobiles.

4. Replacement of steering/suspension components that could impact alignment. Particularly anything in the steering linkage such as tie rod ends will cause the critical "toe" setting to be lost. This does NOT include simple shock absorbers or sway bar components. Replacement of ball joints, control arm bushings make alignment afterwards advisable, but you might well get away without doing it.

5. Collision repair that involves suspension or steering repair or repair of suspension attachment points. Any collision repair that is major and extensive. Collision repair where a bent wheel had to be replaced means alignment could well be compromised.


Alignment is NOT called for by these circumstances:

1. Replacement of tires that were NOT worn unevenly.

2. "Shimmy" This is caused by out of balance or out of true tire/wheels, NOT by alignment.

3. Any number of miles accrued with tires still wearing evenly, steering wheel centered and no suspension/steering repairs that could change alignment needing to be done.


So out of the choices A-E, I have to answer "None of the above."

Don in Austin

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Old 08-19-2016, 09:03 PM
 
1,950 posts, read 2,879,689 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by notnamed View Post
When getting new tires or whenever it needs it. With it being relatively pothole free here that generally means just when I get new tires.
You are throwing money away. Tire replacement is no reason to get your car aligned unless the old tires exhibit alignment problems. A proper alignment can easily last 100,000 miles on most cars.

Don in Austin
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Old 08-19-2016, 09:06 PM
 
1,950 posts, read 2,879,689 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by las vegas drunk View Post
I have found alignments to be useless on older cars because they cannot hold. One bump and they are out of alignment. My car pulls hard to the right, and always has. I have never done an alignment in the 5 years I have had it.
A car with viable suspension and steering linkage will hold an alignment for years. "One bump" will not throw it out of alignment. The hard pull if it has lasted through more than one set of tires indicates an alignment problem with likely something bent.

Don in Austin
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