Alignment - variance in readings - American Tire Depot vs Dealership

Discussion in 'Prime Main Forum (2017-Current)' started by mistermojorizin, Jul 11, 2019.

  1. mistermojorizin

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    The other day I ran over a parking block that was in an unexpected location (on the side of a parking spot) and that I could not see from the car and that the car's parking sensors didn't warn me about. I'm pretty sure I avoided the wheels, but scraped the undercarriage. I went to an American Tire Depot to get the car lifted and look at the underside. There was a couple scratches, but no damage. They offered a free alignment check.

    I had the alignment checked by an American Tire Depot and was shown a readout that said front toe was 0.3 degrees off and they insisted that my front and rear driver side tires got hit by the parking block.
    Here's the printout from them, I notice just now that they did put 2017 as the year, they didn't ask me what year my car was:

    I took the car to the dealership, asked for a free alignment (p. 14 of warranty manual if anyone's curious). They did the alignment and told me it was barely off. Instead of 0.3, they said the front toe was 0.03 degrees off, and the rears were spot on. They said technically they'd consider this to be within specifications, even though their printout did show some red on the front alignment, but not on the rear. Unfortunately, I didn't get a copy of their printout (I thought it was included in my copy of the paperwork, but it wasn't for some reason).

    Any thoughts on why the large discrepancy? One thought is the tire shop used 2017 spec instead of 2019. Another is that the shop was trying to drum up business. A third is that the dealership is incompetent.
     
  2. ReDave

    ReDave Junior Member

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    WOW, i had no idea you could get a 'free' alignment within 12 months 12k miles that is. thank you for bringing that to my attention!

    as for the variance, seems awfully coincidental that there is the .0 difference.. very curious...
     
  3. Pdog808

    Pdog808 Active Member

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    @mistermojorizin - thanks for the info. Did Toyota decide to check the alignment because you thought there was an issue or did will they do it on request? Thinking about having them check the front alignment on my 1 year oil change.
     
  4. Rob43

    Rob43 Senior Member

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    Go get a fresh alignment, your current numbers are horrible...


    Rob43
     
  5. mistermojorizin

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    I've not posted my current numbers. According to Toyota my current numbers are zeroes. That sheet was before I got the alignment.
     
  6. mistermojorizin

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    I said that the car was pulling to the left so I had a shop check the alignment and it was way off. They drove my car and thought it wasn't really pulling, but did the alignment anyway. To be honest I didn't think the car was pulling before the alignment either.
     
  7. Rob43

    Rob43 Senior Member

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    "I took the car to the dealership, asked for a free alignment (p. 14 of warranty manual if anyone's curious). They did the alignment and told me it was barely off."

    Your original pictured alignment is WAY OFF, so when your dealer says "barley off", that's not accurate at all. Just because your alignment numbers fall "within spec", it doesn't mean you have a good alignment.


    Rob43
     
    #7 Rob43, Jul 12, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
  8. mistermojorizin

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    They still zeroed it out from what they told me. Here is what the paperwork from the dealer says:
    Any idea what that means?
     
  9. Rob43

    Rob43 Senior Member

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    No.

    I need to look at an alignment sheet just like the first one.

    I try to be a trusting kinda guy, but if my dealer told me my alignment was barely off when I knew that wasn't true, and then did not provide a new alignment sheet with the needed empirical evidence; I wouldn't trust it.

    Possible solution:
    Call them & ask if it is still on the Hunter Alignment Machine hard drive so that they can print it for you.


    Rob43
     
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  10. mistermojorizin

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    I was thinking about calling them. They did show me a printout like above, then didn't include it in my copy.
     
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  11. Rob43

    Rob43 Senior Member

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    Try to get it, hopefully it's a great alignment...


    Rob43
     
  12. PT Guy

    PT Guy Active Member

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    1--The alignment system needs to be correctly calibrated.
    2--The tech doing the alignment needs to be competent.

    If either, or both, 1 & 2 are missing, any alignment readings are garbage. Unfortunately, there's no way to know until you see how the car feels when it drives on a flat, level, straight road, and long-term how the tires wear. I think only toe is adjustable, both front and rear. If other settings are off, then something is mis-assembled or bent. There might be aftermarket hardware kits to adjust camber (eccentric bolts). The eccentric bolts, aka cam bolts, don't need to be labeled specifically for this Prius. If they're the same size as our cars use, I'd be happy with them.

    One has a greater chance of winning a lottery than getting true readings of zero on all four wheels.

    I agree with Rob, an alignment can be within spec and terrible. If I'm paying, I want the alignment set at the mid point of each range, and I want that written on the work order before the job starts. I know, things can change very slightly as bolts are tightened, and that's OK. In the case of the original car, I'd try ask about when the alignment system was last calibrated. If there is an alignment specialty shop, not just a tire dealer, I'd talk with them.
     
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