How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

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tommy85
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How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by tommy85 » Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:38 pm

Just wondering how often Bogleheads get alignment done on their cars routinely if you have no drifting or uneven tire wearing etc.

Thanks
Tommy

Jack FFR1846
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:41 pm

Over the last 30 years, twice. Once when I completed building a Factory Five Cobra kit car and then a few years ago when we bent a control arm in our Subaru Outback, after I replaced it with a new one.
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lazydavid
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by lazydavid » Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:43 pm

Every time I buy new wheels because I broke one (or more) driving in the city. :oops:

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DaftInvestor
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by DaftInvestor » Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:44 pm

When I buy new tires.

bubbadog
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by bubbadog » Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:45 pm

DaftInvestor wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:44 pm
When I buy new tires.
+1

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David Jay
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by David Jay » Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:46 pm

Only if I replace a suspension component (tie rod end, etc.) or when I see uneven tire wear.

I do never done it on a scheduled basis.
Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future - Niels Bohr | To get the "risk premium", you really do have to take the risk - nisiprius

Rupert
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by Rupert » Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:47 pm

When I buy new tires or when I notice that the alignment is off (i.e., the car starts pulling to the right or left).

abner kravitz
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by abner kravitz » Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:48 pm

I have never had one done, outside of any tire installations that included it as part of the deal.

jehovasfitness
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by jehovasfitness » Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:48 pm

David Jay wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:46 pm
Only if I replace a suspension component (tie rod end, etc.) or when I see uneven tire wear.

I do never done it on a scheduled basis.
this.

That or if the car doesn't drive straight

jehovasfitness
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by jehovasfitness » Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:49 pm

abner kravitz wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:48 pm
I have never had one done, outside of any tire installations that included it as part of the deal.
You sure? there's a difference between "mount and balance" and an alignment, which usually incurs a hefty extra cost

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HueyLD
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by HueyLD » Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:52 pm

It depends on where you live.

If you live in an area where you need to call Domino's to help fixing the potholes, you will need to get alignment done at least once a year. No kidding.

GuyFromGeorgia
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by GuyFromGeorgia » Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:53 pm

jehovasfitness wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:48 pm
David Jay wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:46 pm
Only if I replace a suspension component (tie rod end, etc.) or when I see uneven tire wear.

I do never done it on a scheduled basis.
this.

That or if the car doesn't drive straight
I agree. New tires or you notice a drift. For me, I usually get 20-30k miles out of an alignment.

flyingaway
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by flyingaway » Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:53 pm

Never!

mmmodem
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by mmmodem » Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:56 pm

I noticed very little uneven wear on my vehicle driving from new to 144k miles. In fact, I only changed the tires once over that period. So I'll only do an alignment if the vehicle is drifting to one side or if the tires wear unevenly. I haven't had one done in over 10 years.

Rupert
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by Rupert » Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:57 pm

HueyLD wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:52 pm
It depends on where you live.

If you live in an area where you need to call Domino's to help fixing the potholes, you will need to get alignment done at least once a year. No kidding.
It does indeed. My city is known, affectionately :annoyed , as "pothole city." The alignment shops make a killing around here.

123
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by 123 » Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:59 pm

Always when I get new tires. I've had alignments done one or two other times when I've "experienced" a severe pothole or similar situation and the tires were still relatively new.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

abner kravitz
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by abner kravitz » Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:04 pm

jehovasfitness wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:49 pm
abner kravitz wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:48 pm
I have never had one done, outside of any tire installations that included it as part of the deal.
You sure? there's a difference between "mount and balance" and an alignment, which usually incurs a hefty extra cost
Yes, I'm sure. Some tire and auto shops include an alignment, but you don't get a Walmart type price on the tires
Last edited by abner kravitz on Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

turno77
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by turno77 » Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:06 pm

jehovasfitness wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:49 pm
abner kravitz wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:48 pm
I have never had one done, outside of any tire installations that included it as part of the deal.
You sure? there's a difference between "mount and balance" and an alignment, which usually incurs a hefty extra cost
I just had new tires installed and an alignment was recommended (2 of 4 tires were off on the sheet they showed me). Cost was $90 for a 4 wheel alignment. I wouldn't call that hefty.

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Sasquatch
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by Sasquatch » Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:07 pm

bubbadog wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:45 pm
DaftInvestor wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:44 pm
When I buy new tires.
+1
Yup

Mjar
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by Mjar » Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:12 pm

tommy85 wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:38 pm
Just wondering how often Bogleheads get alignment done on their cars routinely if you have no drifting or uneven tire wearing etc.

Thanks
Tommy
Firestone has lifetime alignment every 6k miles as long as you own that car for $200 assuming you have one near you. I have been told when you rotate your tires you should get them aligned, so once a year. Me I get it done when I switch new tires or I see the car pulling one direction or the other.

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wander
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by wander » Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:13 pm

I got alignment for my car several times. It's event-driven, when I replace rack and pinion, inner or outer tie rods. But I purchased lifetime alignment package so it technically has paid for itself.
I don't need alignment after tire rotation.

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mhc
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by mhc » Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:17 pm

Every time I have my carburetor cleaned.

tesuzuki2002
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by tesuzuki2002 » Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:21 pm

David Jay wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:46 pm
Only if I replace a suspension component (tie rod end, etc.) or when I see uneven tire wear.

I do never done it on a scheduled basis.
+1 Or hit something really hard!!

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Sheepdog
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by Sheepdog » Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:25 pm

flyingaway wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:53 pm
Never!
ditto
It's not what you gather, but what you scatter which tells what kind of life you have lived---Helen Walton

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Sheepdog
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by Sheepdog » Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:26 pm

mhc wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:17 pm
Every time I have my carburetor cleaned.
:D
It's not what you gather, but what you scatter which tells what kind of life you have lived---Helen Walton

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FrugalInvestor
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by FrugalInvestor » Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:28 pm

My car has 112,000 miles and has never been aligned. It tracks well on the road and the tires have always worn evenly (I have them rotated every 7,500 miles or so which equates to about 2x per year). I got 70,000 miles out of my first set of tires and have over 50,000 on this set so far. My last vehicle had 140,000 when I traded it in, was on its second set of tires and had never been aligned.

I did have my last "fun" car aligned when the front tires exhibited excessive wear on the outside edges. This is common with sports cars because an aggressive alignment improves handling. But I don't race my cars on the track and for my everyday driving style there is no real benefit of this type of alignment and it does cause the (expensive) tires to wear prematurely.
IGNORE the noise! | Our life is frittered away by detail... simplify, simplify. - Henry David Thoreau

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sunny_socal
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by sunny_socal » Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:43 pm

Only if I see the tires wearing unevenly

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Gort
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by Gort » Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:47 pm

mhc wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:17 pm
Every time I have my carburetor cleaned.
Or when I get the distributor points changed.

furikake
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by furikake » Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:54 pm

I mean to do it every month, I even put it on my calendar to remind myself, but I always forget. :oops:

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jabberwockOG
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by jabberwockOG » Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:59 pm

David Jay wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:46 pm
Only if I replace a suspension component (tie rod end, etc.) or when I see uneven tire wear.

I do never done it on a scheduled basis.
Agree - alignment usually necessary when any repair work on front suspension is performed (and sometimes rear suspension). Unless car starts pulling to one side or the old tires are showing uneven wear there is zero need for an alignment when buying new tires.
Last edited by jabberwockOG on Tue Sep 11, 2018 5:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

camaro327
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by camaro327 » Tue Sep 11, 2018 5:00 pm

On my previous car I did it twice before I sold it. It had over 200K miles on it when I sold it.

I did it once around 150,000 miles and the dealer did it again slightly after 200,000 miles. My car was is in for repairs and was returned to me with an upside down steering wheel and had to be fixed. :oops:

jehovasfitness
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by jehovasfitness » Tue Sep 11, 2018 5:06 pm

mhc wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:17 pm
Every time I have my carburetor cleaned.
lol :sharebeer

tommy85
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by tommy85 » Tue Sep 11, 2018 6:14 pm

mhc wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:17 pm
Every time I have my carburetor cleaned.
How often do you get your carburetor cleaned? Just kidding :P

iamlucky13
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by iamlucky13 » Tue Sep 11, 2018 6:34 pm

I had mine done after I replaced the front struts. I did a basic rollout test and adjustment on my own, then had a shop do a proper alignment. I didn't notice any pull while driving to the shop, although that's only a partial indicator.

Other than that, I habitually pay attention to how my car is tracking in the lane, and watch for tire wear bias or excessive wear when I rotate or check inflation.

So far, I'm over 200,000 miles, have only had the one alignment mentioned above, and have gotten better than warrantied tire life on the last two sets of tires. The current tires seem to be doing fine, too.
Mjar wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:12 pm
Firestone has lifetime alignment every 6k miles as long as you own that car for $200 assuming you have one near you. I have been told when you rotate your tires you should get them aligned, so once a year.
Do you mean alignment, or balancing?

Silk McCue
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by Silk McCue » Tue Sep 11, 2018 6:36 pm

I buy a multi-year (discounted) alignment and have it checked with each oil change at no charge. Very inexpensive proposition.

Cheers

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bottlecap
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by bottlecap » Tue Sep 11, 2018 6:39 pm

Basically never.

I probably had it done twice in my life and that was when I was young and got conned.

In the last 18 years, zero times.

JT

IowaFarmBoy
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by IowaFarmBoy » Tue Sep 11, 2018 6:48 pm

+1 to those saying:
  • When I have suspension/front end work done.
  • When I have uneven wear.
  • When the car is pulling.

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Nestegg_User
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by Nestegg_User » Tue Sep 11, 2018 6:53 pm

Gort wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:47 pm
mhc wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:17 pm
Every time I have my carburetor cleaned.
Or when I get the distributor points changed.

you should do it every time you have the commutator ground on your generator
...and after every time you have to readjust your float valve in your carburetor (and, of course, at that time you should take out and clean your jets on it as well)

as for the distributor points, don’t dwell on it

stimulacra
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by stimulacra » Tue Sep 11, 2018 6:54 pm

I think once in my adult life. Saab 92x aero, car was pulling and the service guy suggested an alignment. Loved the car but it ate tires for lunch, I was lucky if I got 20k miles out of a set. Drove it for 160k miles before it got totaled.

mariezzz
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by mariezzz » Tue Sep 11, 2018 7:11 pm

Never had one done in 11 years of owning a Toyota Corolla. My brother (a mechanic) said when he turned the car over to me (7 year old car at the time) there was a slight pull to one side & could have an alignment done if I wanted, but not really necessary. Never had one done and never saw any problems from not having one done.

Had rear struts replaced some years ago, and a motor mount, but nothing else on the car outside of brakes, tires, and oil changes in 11 years. Brother's a good mechanic.

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FrugalInvestor
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by FrugalInvestor » Tue Sep 11, 2018 7:21 pm

mariezzz wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 7:11 pm
...there was a slight pull to one side & could have an alignment done if I wanted, but not really necessary.
Cars are often aligned to pull slightly to the left. This compensates for roads being crowned in the center for water drainage.
IGNORE the noise! | Our life is frittered away by detail... simplify, simplify. - Henry David Thoreau

Mjar
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by Mjar » Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:13 pm

iamlucky13 wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 6:34 pm
I had mine done after I replaced the front struts. I did a basic rollout test and adjustment on my own, then had a shop do a proper alignment. I didn't notice any pull while driving to the shop, although that's only a partial indicator.

Other than that, I habitually pay attention to how my car is tracking in the lane, and watch for tire wear bias or excessive wear when I rotate or check inflation.

So far, I'm over 200,000 miles, have only had the one alignment mentioned above, and have gotten better than warrantied tire life on the last two sets of tires. The current tires seem to be doing fine, too.
Mjar wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:12 pm
Firestone has lifetime alignment every 6k miles as long as you own that car for $200 assuming you have one near you. I have been told when you rotate your tires you should get them aligned, so once a year.
Do you mean alignment, or balancing?
alignment

AlphaLess
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by AlphaLess » Tue Sep 11, 2018 10:35 pm

David Jay wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:46 pm
Only if I replace a suspension component (tie rod end, etc.) or when I see uneven tire wear.

I do never done it on a scheduled basis.
Upvote.
"You can get more with a kind word and a gun than with just a kind word." George Washington

Nissanzx1
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by Nissanzx1 » Tue Sep 11, 2018 10:50 pm

I only do it when there is a symptom. Other than that, $ wasted...

NoHeat
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by NoHeat » Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:11 pm

At every oil change. And when I change tires.

I buy the Firestone lifetime alignment when I first get a car. Thereafter, there's no charge for an alignment at a Firestone Complete Autocare store. So I do it whenever the car is in the shop.

When I gave a car to my daughter, who moved to another state, the lifetime alignment deal moved with her. I think it's a great deal.

My car never pulls to the side, my steering wheel is always exactly straight, and my tires wear evenly.

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whodidntante
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by whodidntante » Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:39 pm

Is the "service manager" a fiduciary?

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jazman12
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by jazman12 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:22 am

bubbadog wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:45 pm
DaftInvestor wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:44 pm
When I buy new tires.
+1
new tires or when tread shows uneven wear
Act soon... time is running out

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N1CKV
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by N1CKV » Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:26 am

whodidntante wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:39 pm
Is the "service manager" a fiduciary?
No.

My opinion:
I was a Service Manager for a large national chain tire and automotive service company right after college, before that while in school I worked in an automotive shop. We would always check tire wear for customers on every visit, even if just an oil change, it was too easy and could cost the customer a good bit if not caught quickly. This is a check for consistent wear across the tread, bad spots, punctures, etc. You would be surprised how many people had nails in tires and didn't know it.
...anyway: If we found uneven wear indicative of an alignment problem we would recommend an alignment check (free), and sell the alignment if it was needed. Any time we put new tires on a vehicle we would recommend a free alignment check. Any time we changed certain suspension components or any steering component we would include an alignment as part of the estimate, it was necessary.

All of that being said: On my personal vehicles I have rarely needed an alignment. My last truck, a 2009 Sierra: I bought new, I put a lift on it and of course had to have it aligned afterward (around 30,000 miles at the time). I drove that truck through two sets of tires and to 109,000 miles and had the alignment checked several times and it never needed it. I was amazed considering that truck went on a lot of miles on logging roads with oversized tires. I had specifically requested that they do an alignment and front end component check (where steering and ball joints are evaluated), nothing was worn and alignment was straight. It made me wonder what some of my previous customers were doing to their vehicles!
I have met a lot of people that claim to love money, but they also seem to be the same people that are in the biggest hurry to get rid of it.

Jersey-guy
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by Jersey-guy » Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:43 am

Everytime I get new tires the installer suggest alignment. I don't believe alignment is necessary unless you have uneven tire wear or you notice your car drifting with the steering wheel held straight.

Frisco Kid
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Re: How often do you guys get alignment done on your cars?

Post by Frisco Kid » Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:57 am

+1 for when buying new tires or if there is a handling issue if by chance you hit a curb hard, etc.

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