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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
About to shoe the family runabout car (195/60/15), and was wondering if you guys always get an alignment when you buy new tires?:confused:

I don't see any serious wear probs on the old tires, but on the fence as to the additional cost of an alignment.

So... opinions here would be appreciated.

Thanks.

capt
 

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Wherever you buy them, they will probably offer a free alignment check.....get it, you never know...I run a tire store and always offer a free check.

Rex
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Wherever you buy them, they will probably offer a free alignment check.....get it, you never know...I run a tire store and always offer a free check.

Rex
Got a ques re. brands...check for PM,OK?

capt
 

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I have always got the alighnment checked and adjusted when getting new tyres...for the last 40yrs, be it the Camaro, one of the vintages or the wifes corrolla..
This is where one builds up a good relationship with your local workshops tyre shop...
Generally not only do they do a full balance and fit free for me, but run the car up on the alignment machine....but do so inbetween jobs for free....well a few beers for after work lol
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Sounds good Steps:thumbsup:...but up here have checked on the free alignments, and all I get in return when I asked if the alignment could be free...is a blank stare, and a..."I don't think so!" That's after I have been told that the bill will be $600 plus, eh?

But thanks for the input on getting the alignment done.

capt
 

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I always figure that if the old tires wore evenly without obvious alignment issue problems then a new alignment is not needed. Cars keep their alignment now much better than ever before. Put them on and go.
X2.

IMO, a waste of money if no unusual wear is found on old ones.
 

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I put 200,000 on a Chev Berretta and never aligned it. Only had 4 sets of tires in that time and they all wore out at the same time and evenly so never considered alignment.
 

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..."I don't think so!" That's after I have been told that the bill will be $600 plus, eh?
This is where one builds up a good relationship with your local workshops
$600 US dollars?? crap thats about a grand NZ Thats more than a full set of tyres....Full alignment on full lastest model computerised equipment with full qualified technitian is about $65 NZ about $40 US
Someone has to be pulling you tit m8

Takes about 20 mins to check caster, camber and toe, and adjust toe in...and get full readout of front centerline and rear....
Getting caster camber is a bit longer and harder on these older cars with shims..even then older posts have all the info right down to what shim to put in front/rear to make what change... and roll up with that info.
 

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A Ted,

As a GENERAL rule, if your tires are wearing even and the car is not pulling to one side, you don't need an alignment with new tires and a good suspension. If you have neither one of these conditions, then it just becomes a question of perfection. My comment above assumes that people really know what good/even wear on a tire is!!

If your tires are not showing wear, here are the questions you can ask yourself in an effort to perfection: But, these questions assume you are dealing with an alignment guy that is capable of improving your alignment.

1) Is my steering wheel straight (parallel to the ground) when I am in the right lane on a 4 lane highway? You could still have a “good” alignment with this off. New cars are always parallel. If all of a sudden this changes, then you for sure have a problem. Most alignment guys don’t get this right today. Sad! Even though it is easy. A good one will always get this right.
2) Does the car pull to one side on the road above again when you are in the right lane? You can request something different than this, depending on where you drive and how you drive. But, if you don’t know what I am talking about, just use this as your guide.
3) Do I have any bad suspension parts? Or have I replaced any suspension parts since the last alignment? Fix any bad suspension parts before the alignment. A good alignment guy will not miss ANY bad parts.
4) Are there any weird noises coming out of the front of the car.
5) Do your old tires have any “sharp” edges on the rubber? Make sure you have no steel belts exposed before doing this test. Push your hand from the outer edge of the tire slowly to the inner wheel well side. Now slowly pull your hand back. If you hand is kind of being “grabbed” by the treads as you do this, there may be something wrong also, even if the threads look pretty even.
All my questions above assume that each one of the “problems” above means something to the alignment guy. AN ALIGNMENT MEANS NOTHING IF THERE IS ANYTHING WRONG WITH YOUR SUSPENSION OR THE GUY DOING IT DOES NOT KNOW WHAT HE IS DOING.

I have discussed this before, but my opinion is that there are more bad alignment guys then good. Like anything else, the good guys live by a different standard then the bad or average guys. You often times find that the more expensive alignment is worth it. But, like anything else, if you know less than them, you have no way of verifying quality. Ask the guy his qualifications and any certificates he has. Then after you ask when he last calibrated his machine he will hate your guts. A guy that keeps all this up to date, will still like you. He will be glad you asked, but he will be worth more.

FYI: Invest in a tread gauge if you don’t have one. Keep track of your thread thickness on outer edge, inner edge and center. They should be the same. If your center is thinner and the outers are the same, you have too much air in your tires. The tire pressure from the manufacturer is not always right on these old cars.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks Dale, for your intensive/extensive report on this topic... and the rest of you guys for your contributions.

With the economic tough times that we are experiencing, I think that most of us are feeling the "pinch"...I know that I am. That's why I went to the mountain in asking this question of addition cost of alignments and the need to have them done.

And... you are right, Dale, when it comes to either inexperienced staff... or at worst unscrupulous staff providing services that wasn't needed in the first place.

And as some have pointed out, it is so important to know the people that you're dealing with. I think that this is a key point...but often difficult to do today compared to the past.

I was hoping that the degree of error would have lessened over the years, with the advent of simpler machines to guage the degree of error that the wheels were out of whack, but this may not be the case.

So, will a careful look at the tires, consider the steering traits and decide after that, and not just follow through with an alignment.

capt
 
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