Toyota Nation Forum banner

1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can someone provide me with details on what is done when a shop does a wheel alignment to a car. I'm wondering why it's a MUST to have a shop do it.

Thx.


Hhhhmmmm, maybe I shoulda posted this in general forum?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
567 Posts
Not just any shop can do an alignment! They have to have the proper equipment to measure and set your camber, caster, toe etc.

Gary
 

·
Moving Forward
Joined
·
3,144 Posts
Like Gary said it is not jsuta ny shop that can do it. The machinery used to get the measurements and do the adjustments are not cheap. There is a way you can do it without an alignment machine but pretty much all you can do is set the toe.

One of my first jobs out of tech school was at Firestone store here inthe nashville area. One of the old guys there did work on some older cars and used a broom stick to set the toe on cars. SOmetimes you find older ones the specs are not in the computer sysytem that the machine manufacturer uses. When I say older cars I mean like mid 60s and the like. However the only adjustment he could really do was the toe in or out. Cmaber and caster are a lot harder to do without the machine. Toe is what will normally cause the most tire wear though. The other two can casue it but not normally to the extent that toe will. On most vehciles nowadays the camber and caster are not easily adjustabel without some kind of kit anyway.
 

·
02
Joined
·
4,180 Posts
Question

Cyorke,
Since you seem to have some good knowledge. I bought an alignment plan for 5 years unlimited. I usually have it done when I rotate and balance every 6k. Do you think this is overkill if my car is tracking straight and not pulling? Any harm on getting it done too often? Im thinking sticking to every 12k because it's time consuming. Jon.
 

·
Registered
1998 Camry CE
Joined
·
2,073 Posts
These alignment hardware pieces give you more range than the oem part.

Sometimes you will replace the hardware (with oem / equivelent oem spec / aftermarket performance kit), ie eccentric cams/washers/shims etc. because they do wear out or corrode and cannot bring correct alignment to the suspension.

On a side note:
Shims, are not often found in strut type suspensions now. If I recall, leaf spring suspensions used shims.
 

·
The Cool Guy
Toyota Camry 02
Joined
·
2,564 Posts
when getting an alignment should i,

1. go to the dealership or
2. thinking about going to the local tire kingdom
 

·
Moving Forward
Joined
·
3,144 Posts
JMSinMD said:
Cyorke,
Since you seem to have some good knowledge. I bought an alignment plan for 5 years unlimited. I usually have it done when I rotate and balance every 6k. Do you think this is overkill if my car is tracking straight and not pulling? Any harm on getting it done too often? Im thinking sticking to every 12k because it's time consuming. Jon.
Every tire rotation is probably overkill. IF the car is tracking straight and you do not notice any abnormal wear on the inside or outside of the tire tread then you can probably get away with doing it twice a year. Normally after winter is over, since all the potholes seem to appear after winter, and then again at the end of summer going into fall or winter, since you ahve probably done more driving for vacation and things like that. You can do it every 12k but like you said it can be time consuming. Definitely get it done every time you ahve new tires installed.
 

·
Moving Forward
Joined
·
3,144 Posts
DailyDriveCamry said:
If it requires so much special equipment what is a $29.99 kit like this for?

http://www.tirerack.com/suspension/...mended+Align.+Kit&partNum=5.81290K&perfCode=A

These are used for actually adjusting the alignment. IF you dont have the machine to read what the measurements are then they do you no good whatsoever. THose partucular bolts are used in place of the normal strut bolts that hold the hub assembly and all those parts onto the strut. They are eccentric allowing the alignment tech to adjust the camber of the wheel.

Just so you know camber is the amount that the wheel will lean in or out, look at old ZX model nissans rear wheels and this will give you an idea of waht camber is.

Toe in or out is the amount that the front of the tire points in or out from the car. Toe in, the front of the tire will poin towards the center of the car. Toe out, the front of the tire will point away from the center of the car.

Caster is the amount the the strut will lean to the front or back of the car.
 

·
Moving Forward
Joined
·
3,144 Posts
Super Kaioken said:
when getting an alignment should i,

1. go to the dealership or
2. thinking about going to the local tire kingdom

If you plan on keeping thecar I would go somewhere that offers a lifetime alignment policy. Each time you get it done and you pay out of pocket it will probably cost you somewhere in the neighborhood of 50-60 dolalrs. ALot of companies that offer lifetime charge 100 or so for the lifetime and then you can have it done as oftern as you like for as long as you own the car.

SO if the dealer can offer you a lifetime policy then let them do it, if not I would go womewhere that does. If you ahve it aligned twice a year for the next 5 years that can get pricey paying out of pocket each time. Whereas with the lifetime you will ahve ti paid for after your first two alignments.
 

·
TN Pussy Man
Camry
Joined
·
13,302 Posts
^ I don't know if they have these over here in Canada....never found one yet.....

but that is probably due to the fact that most bigger companies such as places that also sell tires will not touch a lowered car

over here, it's tough enough just to find a shop that will do lowered cars
 

·
The Cool Guy
Toyota Camry 02
Joined
·
2,564 Posts
they both offer the lifetime alignment, but the thing is.....i've never had it done before O_O i know i'm bad =/

I want to know if they do the same thing when doing an alignment though.
 

·
02
Joined
·
4,180 Posts
Alignment

I bought a 5 year unlimited alignment package from Merchant's Tire/Tire Kingdom/NTB. It was $170 and it is transferrable (sp.) to any car that might replace my current car for the 5 year period. I also found a 50% off coupon for alignment/alignment package that I was able to use. Woo hoo. I usually will get it aligned after winter when my 16" comes off and my 18" goes on, that way my 18" won't get scratched and then when I put my 16" for the winter. I think I might cut back on the rotation and balance to when I get the alignment to save myself time. No reason to get it done just based on mileage. Jon.
 

·
Moving Forward
Joined
·
3,144 Posts
they both should do the same thing. alignments are not like electrical and major diagnostic type repairs. SO they should both be capable of doing the alignment. I woudl jsut go where you can get the best price. another nice thing about using one of the tire store policies is they may beopen when the dealer is not. Like saturday and sunday so it gives you more flexibility when you need to have it done
 

·
The Cool Guy
Toyota Camry 02
Joined
·
2,564 Posts
oic. it's just that some people mentioned adjusting toes? or something. i'm noob when it comes to alignment.
 

·
Moving Forward
Joined
·
3,144 Posts
Super Kaioken said:
oic. it's just that some people mentioned adjusting toes? or something. i'm noob when it comes to alignment.

adjusting the toe is jsut one of the adjustments that can be made to suspensions. all cars do it so it is not specific to one make or model or anything crazy like that.
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top