Wheel Alignment Necessary? How often?

Discussion in 'Prius c Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Brad K, Apr 28, 2015.

  1. Brad K

    Brad K Member

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    I went in for my 20k oil change/tire rotation. They told me there is uneven wear (its not that noticable) and a alignment is recommeded for $89. Is it necessary? They said about every 20k miles is normal
     
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    they told me that at 15k, ignored them. at 28k, i still don't see anything. if it steers straight, and no unusual noise, i think you're fine. just a wallet liner for the dealerships.
     
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  3. Okinawa

    Okinawa Senior Member

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    I have an alignment when I buy new tires. I think every 20,000 miles is too soon. That is just my opinion. Interesting subject. I would be interested in the opinion of other forum members.
     
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  4. Easy Rider 2

    Easy Rider 2 Senior Member

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    There is no "normal".
    If there is any detectable extra wear on one wheel, you should get it done.
    That actually is a pretty good price.

    Even if you don't understand what the readings mean, ask for "before" and "after" numbers.
    If no changes were necessary........abnormal tire wear can be due to a defect in the tire.
     
  5. frodoz737

    frodoz737 Top Wrench

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    A good rule of thumb is to have the alignment "checked" at rotation/balance intervals, or sooner as required due to cause or incident, and tweaked only as needed. Every vehicle in my household is on a plan so that my wife or son or who-ever can just take it in and be done at no additional cost. I don't care where you live or what you drive, establishing a good rapport with a good tire/suspension shop is mandatory...even those of us that turn a wrench for a living. You avoid the vulchers that way. YMMV.
     
  6. 00-00

    00-00 Member

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    It sounds as they are practicing preventive maintenance. One would think that in the 20k miles, hitting potholes and bumps, and all of the turning, that it may worth it. If nothing else, it would put your mind to rest. The before and after numbers would be interesting.
     
  7. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    if it's within spec, they shouldn't charge you. but it's a dealer, of course it won't be.
     
  8. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    I had alignment checked once, after an accident. They adjusted the front toe a bit, and that's really all you can adjust, without resorting to replacement parts. Our rear camber seems a bit asymmetrical to my eye (and checking with a straight edge and bubble level): but there's not much you can do about it without going nuts with shims and a lot of effort. I leave it be, tires seem to be doing fine.

    I'm a slacker with alignment, would only do it if there's a problem or accident involving the wheels/suspension.
     
  9. Easy Rider 2

    Easy Rider 2 Senior Member

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    Yes and the vultures too !! ;)

    The problem with your suggestion is:
    Most people don't have "plans" that cover that.
    Most shops charge a flat price for "alignment" whether it needs any adjustments or not.
    Paying $85 (or more) every time you do a tire rotation is a bit wasteful, IMHO.
     
  10. frodoz737

    frodoz737 Top Wrench

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    The only problem with my suggestion is...most people don't want to "buy" these plans. Don't get me wrong, I squeeze that penny with the best within our demographics...I just do it forward thinking as it relates here. The Prius wheels and suspension are no more immune to the wear and tear of driving than any other car/light truck out there.
     
  11. bingee3

    bingee3 Active Member

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    I think some are thinking balancing tires some are thinking alignment ,,, Firestone
    Has a life time alignment plan ,
     
  12. frodoz737

    frodoz737 Top Wrench

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    With the right shop you can get life time (life of the car or tires) for both.
     
  13. Toyotally04

    Toyotally04 Junior Member

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    2004 Prius here.

    Today, I had irreparable damage to one tire on its sidewall, and I had it replaced from COSTCO.

    I asked about the other tires, and the tech said I should get an alignment because of the wear on one of the front tires (it's also pulling a little the car is set slowly in a straight path without my hands on steering).

    So I'm twiddling my thumbs wondering whether I should get a precautionary alignment or shrug it off.
     
  14. Kenny94945

    Kenny94945 Active Member

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    How often?
    I don't think there is a standard.

    From the OP post, their car has uneven tire wear.
    So yes, it is alignment time.

    If I was to offer a recommendation as a shop might, if a sport car, every year would be prudent.
    As a commuter vehicle, I would switch to mileage from time, and recommend every 25K.

    Yet, as a vehicle owner on a budget, when new tires are installed would be my answer.
    If the old tires had good wear patterns, even at that time, an alignment could be skipped,
    but a standard answer to the OP's question, as maintenance ... at tire change time.

    Noting when steering/ handling feels odd, including checking for a bent rim, wheel re-balancing and
    suspension component wear or damage, a visit to a suspension shop in needed.
    That visit may extend tire life (and comfort) with the cost of saving the tires verses alignment/ repair weighed.

    Have fun :)
     
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