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Old 12-06-2017, 05:38 PM   #1
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Default Wheel Alignment Experts

(I don't believe I asked this here before. Then again, I can't recall all the threads in XX years).

Is going to the dealership the best place to get a 4 wheel alignment? Car is OEM, no mods. I know it may be more expensive.

I'm old, and been to a lot of places, and find it rather hit and missed. It's either ok, aweful, or somewhere in-between and acceptable. I've never got that OEM feel.

Maybe I've been cheap. And that have cost me more when I had to pay for another alignment (at another shop).

I get the feeling most tire shops don't know the specs, or don't want to look it up.

Is the dealership the best place to get an alignment?

What do you Experts say?
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Old 12-06-2017, 05:40 PM   #2
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Default Re: Wheel Alignment Experts

100% true story. I had an alignment done not long after lowering my 97 Civic. The shop aligned it based on Honda Accord specs. And it actually track rather nice. So I never complain about it. What can I say, I was young then,,, The guy couldn't tell the difference between Accord and Civic, I guess. Or searched under Honda and pick the first one.
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Old 12-06-2017, 05:47 PM   #3
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Default Re: Wheel Alignment Experts

Last alignment I got was from the dealer.

They were within $20 of the local shop I usually go to, just added it in with whatever other service was being done.
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Old 12-06-2017, 05:47 PM   #4
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Default Re: Wheel Alignment Experts

Also, I think it made a difference, but it was probably more peace of mind, since it was done by the dealer.
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Old 12-06-2017, 06:42 PM   #5
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Default Re: Wheel Alignment Experts

It all depends on the tech, I think the dealer usually is best because they know where all the adjustements are
I went to forestone and the guy said the rear toe has no adjustment, the fromnt camber, canter has no adjustment. When they all obviously did.

Only thing to be wary of at the dealer is the tire inflation. They always overinflate tires and that creates lil bulges on the sidewalls. So if you do go to a dealer, be real firm not to have them touch your tires. Say that if they overinflate them, you informed them and any resulting damage will be liable by them.
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Old 12-06-2017, 07:04 PM   #6
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Default Re: Wheel Alignment Experts

^what dealer is overinflating your tires? They should be going by the door placard...

edit: I like the idea of going to a dealer because if they **** something up, you have a huge chain of people you can go through to get it resolved.
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Old 12-06-2017, 07:18 PM   #7
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Default Re: Wheel Alignment Experts

Well idont know if all dealers do this. But we took our crv for a recall and they inflated the tires to something like 80 psi.

and the tires got these humps on the sidewalls. They were brand new and the costco tech said that it was user error and not covered under warranty. So we went back to Honda to confront them. And I asked to speak with the manager. The tech basically shot himself in the foot when in front of the manager, he said that this is normal and that all dealers do it all the time to all vehicles.
So the manager is face palming as the tech is confessing to negligence or whatever this might be called.
He arranges to issue use us a prepaid visa card for something like 780.00 dollars.

So that's why I thought all dealers do it.
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Old 12-06-2017, 08:03 PM   #8
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Default Re: Wheel Alignment Experts

Jesus H Christ most 3/4 ton trucks donít even call for over 65psi lmfao.

Yeah that was just TERRIBLE workmanship. But your experience is why I go to the dealer, they made it right. There are def shady dealers but plenty of good ones too.

Those tires are probably rated at like a max of 55psi or so or something... holy nutballs lol, INSANE.
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Old 12-06-2017, 09:37 PM   #9
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Default Re: Wheel Alignment Experts

Would focus more on what kind of rack they use.

Modern Hunter racks pretty much tell the tech everything they need to do from tire pressures, inputting the VIN for specs, what tools are needed, etc.

It’s nearly dummy proof, and that existed 7 years ago when I still worked for a dealer. I’m sure they are even more advanced today, just like the no touch tire mounting systems.
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Old 12-07-2017, 04:06 AM   #10
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Default Re: Wheel Alignment Experts

agree with you guys. It's all about the tech doing the alignment. Even if it's the most advanced machine available, an inexperienced idiot can **** it up.
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Old 12-07-2017, 04:14 AM   #11
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Default Re: Wheel Alignment Experts

The biggest problem you are going to find is techs who don't give a **** and don't understand their equipment.
For some reason I was able to stand right next to my car when it was being aligned at a race car shop with the latest in alignment equipment. The tech was installing the heads on the wheels and I noticed one of the clamps was not flush against the wheel, you could see a gap on one of the heads. I told the guy and he said the machine would compensate for that....WTMF OVER!

The idiot believes the machine somehow can measure a gap between the wheel and the head, I asked him... how? How does the machine know you put the head on twisted, and exactly by how much? The machine relies on the head being perfectly aligned with the wheel, there are no extra sensors on the head to measure the gap. The guy said, because it uses "lasers"
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Old 12-07-2017, 04:20 AM   #12
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Default Re: Wheel Alignment Experts

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Originally Posted by ForceFed Motorsports View Post
Would focus more on what kind of rack they use.

Modern Hunter racks pretty much tell the tech everything they need to do from tire pressures, inputting the VIN for specs, what tools are needed, etc.

Itís nearly dummy proof, and that existed 7 years ago when I still worked for a dealer. Iím sure they are even more advanced today, just like the no touch tire mounting systems.

Find a good shop with a Hunter. The problem is that anyone doing an alignment goes by the factory spec range, which can be pretty wide from what I've seen. Like as long as they get it within 1.5į of camber and toe, then it says they are "within spec".

I always go into the shop and watch them do it. If you want a good alignment, tell them it needs to be right in the middle of the range or as close as possible. They might charge you more for a custom alignment, but it may be worth it.
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Old 12-07-2017, 05:40 AM   #13
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Default Re: Wheel Alignment Experts

Depends on the car, stupid M I had to take it to the dealer or else everyone else was like duhhhhhhhh we can't do diisssssssssss
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Old 12-07-2017, 05:55 AM   #14
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Default Re: Wheel Alignment Experts

dealership were the only ones capable of doing an alignment on an is300, an integra.
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Old 12-07-2017, 09:06 AM   #15
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Default Re: Wheel Alignment Experts

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Originally Posted by Spaceballsthelunchbox View Post
The biggest problem you are going to find is techs who don't give a **** and don't understand their equipment.
^^ THIS! ^^
Have been to a few of the local shops and had enough of them not knowing or not caring.

Finally found a shop where they know what's up and actually seem to want return customers.
Able to avoid going to the stealership for now.
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Old 12-07-2017, 09:12 AM   #16
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Default Re: Wheel Alignment Experts

The last alignment I got on the M5 was done at the dealership. They did a great job and gave me a printout of specs and categories that even I had to look up. They were certainly good enough that I don't plan on getting an alignment for the M5 anywhere else.

Just have to do it when they have their $99 special.
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Old 12-07-2017, 09:18 AM   #17
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Default Re: Wheel Alignment Experts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spaceballsthelunchbox View Post
The biggest problem you are going to find is techs who don't give a **** and don't understand their equipment.
For some reason I was able to stand right next to my car when it was being aligned at a race car shop with the latest in alignment equipment. The tech was installing the heads on the wheels and I noticed one of the clamps was not flush against the wheel, you could see a gap on one of the heads. I told the guy and he said the machine would compensate for that....WTMF OVER!

The idiot believes the machine somehow can measure a gap between the wheel and the head, I asked him... how? How does the machine know you put the head on twisted, and exactly by how much? The machine relies on the head being perfectly aligned with the wheel, there are no extra sensors on the head to measure the gap. The guy said, because it uses "lasers"
:slowclap:
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Old 12-07-2017, 09:18 AM   #18
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Default Re: Wheel Alignment Experts

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Originally Posted by GoLowDrew View Post
... after lowering my 97 Civic.
The car you are using now, if it is also lowered, you probably want to decide what specifications you want and get them to align it to your specifications.

The bane of my existence for a little while was walking up to a car with a novice driver and finding that his car was lowered, very stiff, but without correction on the rear.

So the car would have negative camber on the rear that would overcome the settings on the front, and the car would hopelessly understeer while also being prone to very radical changes in attitude on lift throttle.

If you want to talk this all the way through, we'll go several pages. :-)

To get the best handling out of a basic front bias Honda, you will want more negative camber on the nose, and less negative camber on the rear. This way, when you're going into a close hauled heel, the tyre that will get the hottest and take the greatest load will tend to be able to put the most patch onto the ground.

How quickly your car turns will also be affected by the toe front and rear, remembering that if you are having to drive on a track that will require you to go from full throttle to threshold braking, you can improve the car's tendency to wander under threshold braking by using these toe settings.
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Old 12-07-2017, 09:27 AM   #19
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Default Re: Wheel Alignment Experts

It's not how you stand next to your car. It's how you......
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Old 12-07-2017, 09:30 AM   #20
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Default Re: Wheel Alignment Experts

Baffles me how so many people could screw something up that’s so easy. Did hundreds of alignments, many of them to custom specs for the local performance shop that didn’t have a rack.

These modern racks are super intuitive. Factory toe set maybe took 15 minutes start to finish. Paid two hours flat rate. Was a good day if I could squeeze two or three in plus my regular work.
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Old 12-07-2017, 09:49 AM   #21
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Default Re: Wheel Alignment Experts

When I finished my build, I took it to a local Nissan dealership to get aligned because everyone said this place was incredible, had an in-ground rack, the best techs who all have heavily modded vehicle of their own, etc. Well I call ahead and tell them it's heavily modified (coilovers, camber arms, toe arms, basically everything you can adjust under a 98 Civic chassis) and they said it's no problem. Mind you I powdercoated all the suspension parts, undercoated the car, got brand new OEM bolts, it literally looked like a resto-mod under the car.

I show up at the dealer and they tell me it will be about an hour. Two hours later the manager comes up to me and tells me they're still working on it. An hour later he comes back and says they can't honor the military discount they offered me because it's taking them so long. Then he comes back a half hour after that and says it's done but they couldn't get things into spec. One of the worst dealership experience of my life.

I get under the car the same day to work on a couple things and everything is smeared with grease, oil, fingerprints, etc. **** that place, I'm getting mad just thinking about it.
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Old 12-07-2017, 10:31 AM   #22
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I took a Honda to a NISSAN Dealership and, as expected, had a bad day. I'm getting mad just thinking about it.
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Old 12-07-2017, 12:20 PM   #23
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Default Re: Wheel Alignment Experts

It shouldn’t matter. The sequence is the same, just different wrenches to adjust a couple different styles of toe links. It’s the easiest job you could imagine. Only things I fought were adjustable upper control arms due to no access. McPherson struts made front camber adjustments so much easier.
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Old 12-07-2017, 12:32 PM   #24
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Default Re: Wheel Alignment Experts

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It shouldnít matter. The sequence is the same, just different wrenches to adjust a couple different styles of toe links. Itís the easiest job you could imagine. Only things I fought were adjustable upper control arms due to no access. McPherson struts made front camber adjustments so much easier.
I used to do toe adjustments at home, but since I get firestone lifetime alignment and they're about 3 minutes from my location I said **** it.
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Old 12-07-2017, 12:34 PM   #25
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Default Re: Wheel Alignment Experts

Quote:
Originally Posted by ForceFed Motorsports View Post
It shouldnít matter. The sequence is the same, just different wrenches to adjust a couple different styles of toe links. Itís the easiest job you could imagine. Only things I fought were adjustable upper control arms due to no access. McPherson struts made front camber adjustments so much easier.
To be honest a ton of people were bringing their cars to this place for alignments, all different kinds of makes/models. They got sloppy/shitty and people stopped going shortly thereafter.
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