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Do You Need an Alignment?

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This topic contains 21 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by Michael Michael 9 months, 2 weeks ago.

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    Topic
  • #849087
    Eric The Car Guy
    EricTheCarGuy
    Keymaster

    After I got new tires for my Vigor, I took it to get an alignment. I decided to take the opportunity to shoot a video on the basics of alignments while I was at it. This is the result.

    What are your thoughts on alignments?

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 21 total)
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  • #849092
    Rereonehundred
    Rereonehundred
    Participant

    Don’t forget the effects of wind on car tracking.

    My wife’s 1999 CRV presents a big broadside to cross winds and you’ve got to steer into the wind considerably.

    Oppositely my 2003 Accord Coupe hardly feels cross winds unless mother nature is really howling.

    The issue being…………not to get tricked into thinking you need an allignment on a windy day

    #849093
    Andre
    Andre
    Participant

    Great video as always Eric, very informative and detailed.

    Interesting point about 4-wheel alignments. On my Yaris (and many other economy cars) there is a trailing arm set up in the rear, its a very simple design and I don’t think there are any adjustments in the rear. Do you think it is still worth paying extra for the 4-wheel alignment on vehicles like this? Is there anything that can be done if something is misaligned in that situation?

    Also, what are your thoughts on DIY alignments with string/tape?

    #849119
    Eric The Car Guy
    EricTheCarGuy
    Keymaster

    [quote=”Dizplay” post=156606]Great video as always Eric, very informative and detailed.

    Interesting point about 4-wheel alignments. On my Yaris (and many other economy cars) there is a trailing arm set up in the rear, its a very simple design and I don’t think there are any adjustments in the rear. Do you think it is still worth paying extra for the 4-wheel alignment on vehicles like this? Is there anything that can be done if something is misaligned in that situation?

    Also, what are your thoughts on DIY alignments with string/tape?[/quote]

    Everyone seems to question the 4 wheel alignment. I stand firm here. Even if there isn’t an adjustment, there could be sagging springs, worn bushings, or bent parts causing the rear to be out of line. You won’t know until you check it. Since the rear needs to line up with the front, there really aren’t any short cuts here.

    4 wheel alignments are best. Always.

    As for DIY. I’ve never done one. Never had to. Using the right equipment is so much better. That said, I was thinking about trying something DIY alignment wise when I finish the Fairmont. Not in stone yet, just a consideration.

    #849156
    none none
    none
    Participant

    lmao @ larger person alignments…I’ve weighed anywhere between 270-315 over the last three years. While I was still at the higher end of that weight range, I’d occasionally find a pull to the left in small cars after I got done with an alignment. I used to grab any available skinny guy and make them go for a second test drive without me & I’d tell them they were testing for a fat guy pull. I’m not even remotely kidding about that.

    Another thing to keep in mind for the large person alignments is that the alignment is adjusted specifically for said large person. Anybody else that’s of average or less than average weight drives the car, they’re likely to experience a crooked steering wheel and a pull to the right.

    #849157
    Dylan
    Dylan
    Participant

    I agree with your video Eric alignments are essential in a car.

    #849160
    none none
    none
    Participant

    [quote=”Dizplay” post=156606]On my Yaris (and many other economy cars) there is a trailing arm set up in the rear, its a very simple design and I don’t think there are any adjustments in the rear. Do you think it is still worth paying extra for the 4-wheel alignment on vehicles like this? Is there anything that can be done if something is misaligned in that situation?[/quote]

    On a car like that with a dead solid axle, there are sometimes shims available that correct rear toe and camber. It’s usually an upsell that would cost you extra money during the alignment. It’s worth it to spend the extra money if you know a rear tire has been having irregular wear problems or the car still pulls after a recent alignment. One thing to be leery of, is the potential that a hub & bearing is going to be seized to the axle. In my experience, not many models have this trouble aside from one or two specific vehicles. Dodge/Chrysler minivans have always been terrible like this and it’s almost always impossible to remove the bearing without just destroying it. That is likewise an added cost that usually deters a customer from buying a shim adjustment. Talk to your shop to find out what your options are to find out what’s best for your car.

    #849181
    Andre
    Andre
    Participant

    [quote=”EricTheCarGuy” post=156632][quote=”Dizplay” post=156606]Great video as always Eric, very informative and detailed.

    Interesting point about 4-wheel alignments. On my Yaris (and many other economy cars) there is a trailing arm set up in the rear, its a very simple design and I don’t think there are any adjustments in the rear. Do you think it is still worth paying extra for the 4-wheel alignment on vehicles like this? Is there anything that can be done if something is misaligned in that situation?

    Also, what are your thoughts on DIY alignments with string/tape?[/quote]

    Everyone seems to question the 4 wheel alignment. I stand firm here. Even if there isn’t an adjustment, there could be sagging springs, worn bushings, or bent parts causing the rear to be out of line. You won’t know until you check it. Since the rear needs to line up with the front, there really aren’t any short cuts here.

    4 wheel alignments are best. Always.

    As for DIY. I’ve never done one. Never had to. Using the right equipment is so much better. That said, I was thinking about trying something DIY alignment wise when I finish the Fairmont. Not in stone yet, just a consideration.[/quote]

    I see what you mean about sagging components. I will be getting new tyres in a few months so I will definitely get a 4-wheel alignment along with that.

    It would be interesting to see you do a DIY alignment on the Fairmont and then take it to the laser alignment shop and see if they need to make any adjustments. Could make for an interesting video.

    #849182
    Andre
    Andre
    Participant

    [quote=”no_common_sense” post=156673][quote=”Dizplay” post=156606]On my Yaris (and many other economy cars) there is a trailing arm set up in the rear, its a very simple design and I don’t think there are any adjustments in the rear. Do you think it is still worth paying extra for the 4-wheel alignment on vehicles like this? Is there anything that can be done if something is misaligned in that situation?[/quote]

    On a car like that with a dead solid axle, there are sometimes shims available that correct rear toe and camber. It’s usually an upsell that would cost you extra money during the alignment. It’s worth it to spend the extra money if you know a rear tire has been having irregular wear problems or the car still pulls after a recent alignment. One thing to be leery of, is the potential that a hub & bearing is going to be seized to the axle. In my experience, not many models have this trouble aside from one or two specific vehicles. Dodge/Chrysler minivans have always been terrible like this and it’s almost always impossible to remove the bearing without just destroying it. That is likewise an added cost that usually deters a customer from buying a shim adjustment. Talk to your shop to find out what your options are to find out what’s best for your car.[/quote]

    Yes, I have seen camber shims and I have also seen people using washers to produce similar effects.

    #849213
    Ian Williams
    Ian Williams
    Participant

    Where I live at least , roads are cambered slightly to allow for run off during rain which can be torrential , sometimes the camber is more than you’d expect , so the vehicle may creep in that direction .

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    #850460
    Jason Alex
    mckrishes
    Participant

    In the video I believe Eric said that suspension components may need to be changed to get the rear wheels into alignment. Is this the case for most vehicles?. I have a 1998 Honda Civic LX and the tires are slanted outward (with the bottom portion of the tire being outward).

    #850928
    Jake F
    Jake F
    Participant

    Eric, awesome video with well-attached demonstrations. Easily the best explanation on caster I’ve seen or had explained to me. Nice shout out to ChrisFix too during today’s broadcast. Didn’t know you two were pals!

    I was wondering if front wheel alignment issues could possibly be the culprit of pulsations at 15mph – 7mph while braking from speeds of 30mph or higher with tight suspension. I’m keepin’ dirty brotha!

    #850938
    Eric The Car Guy
    EricTheCarGuy
    Keymaster

    [quote=”mckrishes” post=157968]In the video I believe Eric said that suspension components may need to be changed to get the rear wheels into alignment. Is this the case for most vehicles?. I have a 1998 Honda Civic LX and the tires are slanted outward (with the bottom portion of the tire being outward).[/quote]

    The rear trailing arms are adjustable on that vehicle.

    #850939
    Eric The Car Guy
    EricTheCarGuy
    Keymaster

    [quote=”creativepotato” post=158431]Eric, awesome video with well-attached demonstrations. Easily the best explanation on caster I’ve seen or had explained to me. Nice shout out to ChrisFix too during today’s broadcast. Didn’t know you two were pals!

    I was wondering if front wheel alignment issues could possibly be the culprit of pulsations at 15mph – 7mph while braking from speeds of 30mph or higher with tight suspension. I’m keepin’ dirty brotha![/quote]

    Alignment issues do NOT cause vibrations.

    http://www.ericthecarguy.com/faq/determining-the-causes-of-vehicle-vibrations

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoxa9Ae-EtfxIOO1PMSqjwg

    #895630
    Michael
    Michael
    Participant

    After an alignment, my truck is pulling to the right. I checked my alignment print-out and discovered that the caster numbers on left and right were both in spec (+2.42º and +2.14ºrespectively). My question is: Will the 0.28º difference in caster cause a constant pulling to the direction of the side with less caster, as Eric said in his video?

    #895635
    Eric The Car Guy
    EricTheCarGuy
    Keymaster

    Yes, caster could be an issue, but try switching the front tires from one side to the other to see if the pull follows it. If it does, it’s a tire problem.

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