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1999 STB Automatic
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Had 4 wheel alignment done today (hunter system) and despite having it aligned just over 12 months ago (c 7,000 miles), both rear toe angles were out of alignment and needed bringing back within acceptable tolerances.

Question is how often do you have an alignment done and what would cause both toe angles to go out?

Only changes i've made since last alignment are 2 pots and 4 pot brake upgrade and different wheels and winter tyres (same size and width as summer wheels/tyre combo)
 

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1997 forester stb manual
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1,434 Posts
Beat me to it , speed humps are the worst culprits especially the ones that you can straddle and still do a decent speed over (what's the f..ing point in putting them in!) they will gradually knock it all out of bonk
 

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2019 Crosstrek 2018 XT
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14,717 Posts
I find that alignments are 99% of the time un-necessary. Propagated by the industry just like oil companies promote 3K mile oil changes. I have put over a million miles on many many vehicles and have only had 2 alignments. And one was worse than when I took it in.

Unless you have a definite problem you can positively attribute to alignment (and not suspension)..pass on alignments. (Just an Opinion)

I doubt if your roads are worse than those in the U.S.
 

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2006 STI
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6,972 Posts
I find that alignments are 99% of the time un-necessary. Propagated by the industry just like oil companies promote 3K mile oil changes. I have put over a million miles on many many vehicles and have only had 2 alignments. And one was worse than when I took it in.

Unless you have a definite problem you can positively attribute to alignment (and not suspension)..pass on alignments. (Just an Opinion)

I doubt if your roads are worse than those in the U.S.
I have a slightly different experience to you.

On my Forester I have had uneven tyre wear which was caused by the alignment being out. Having had it put back in line it also handles far better. It was clear to me something was amiss and the uneven tyre wear supported this. If I had done checks and had the alignment tweaked more regularly I would have probably never experienced the uneven tyre wear.

As to the roads, I haven't driven in the US, but the roads here are markedly worse than when I started driving fifteen years ago and in particular potholes are an ever increasing problem... this will whack your alignment (and a lot worse too), together with speed bumps, as they pop up everywhere now.

I personally think an annual check is no bad thing as most places do it for free and then give you the option of correcting it if necessary. If it is not majorly out, just wait for the next check.
 

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2015 XT CVT.....sadly !
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I find that alignments are 99% of the time un-necessary. Propagated by the industry just like oil companies promote 3K mile oil changes. I have put over a million miles on many many vehicles and have only had 2 alignments. And one was worse than when I took it in.

Unless you have a definite problem you can positively attribute to alignment (and not suspension)..pass on alignments. (Just an Opinion)

I doubt if your roads are worse than those in the U.S.
Strongly disagree with this and get my allignment done every 18 months and the car always handles better and feels more stable. That applies to any car I have owned.

As for the condition of the roads: I can't speak for all of the US but the roads in the UK are worse than the areas of the states that I've visited.
 

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2008 GRB 20th anniversary 6 MT
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6,576 Posts
I find that alignments are 99% of the time un-necessary. Propagated by the industry just like oil companies promote 3K mile oil changes. I have put over a million miles on many many vehicles and have only had 2 alignments. And one was worse than when I took it in.

Unless you have a definite problem you can positively attribute to alignment (and not suspension)..pass on alignments. (Just an Opinion)

I doubt if your roads are worse than those in the U.S.
Honestly, are you serious?!?!

The alignment is the cheapest modification you can do to your car to transform the handling, from unpredictable to predictable/planted and fun.

Most of the places don't know how to adjust it or what they are doing though so it looks like you have had bad experiences.

As Gareth said, an annual check is worth it.

Start by adjusting the toe and you will immediately see the difference it makes in steering feel and willingness to turn-in and stability of the rear axle.
 

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2004 Forester Xs 5 Speed
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30 Posts
Firestone has a lifetime alignment. Which means they will align your car ad often as oil changes...after hard offroading..all for a decent price... my civic and truck were onlt 90-120$ and last the life of the Vehicle. At least thats what I was told haha

Sent from AutoGuide.com Free App
 

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1999 STB Automatic
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I definitely noticed an improvement in the car feeling more planted, and wasn't happy with how the car was cornering / turning previously (which was why i took it in). Also had some uneven wear, so there would be a saving in terms of stopping premature tyre replacement.

It can just become a very expensive adjustment if it ends up being knocked out of alignment so easily and needing to be done multiple times a year.

Once a year seems a reasonable compromise, but that's still £50 minimum in my area, assuming no adjustments are required (which is probable from my experience).
 

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2006 STI
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Really? £50 just for a check? That is ****.

Most of the places around here do a free alignment check. Whereabouts in Kent are you?
 

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2015 XT CVT.....sadly !
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Really? £50 just for a check? That is ****.

Most of the places around here do a free alignment check. Whereabouts in Kent are you?
Yeah, maybe for a check with a ruler at kwik fit on the fronts, but you are wanting a 4 wheel laser allignment which doesn't come cheap.

Can't remember what I paid last time but certainly more than £50
 

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2006 STI
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My last check, i.e. no adjustment, on a Hunter machine was free.

When I then agreed to have adjustments to the toe, it was £60 I think and they used the settings I requested. Camber adjustments would have been extra.
 

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1999 STB Automatic
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
West Kent - Tonbridge area.

I'd quite like free checks, but i'd then become more suspicious that they might then 'engineer' the need to carry out an adjustment just to make it worth their while.

There are very few garages i trust generally in the area, and of the 4 that i know of that do 4w alignment i would never use two of them ever again, which narrows my options a fair bit. The best one (and cheapest) also happens to be crazy busy, which can be a pain when just wanting something done without having to wait around for ages or having to go back at a later stage as the guy ran out of time.
 

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2006 STI
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If you stand with them it is hard to engineer anything, as the readings are printed out, but I can understand the point you make completely.

I have a friend not too far from you. I'll see who they go to, assuming they go locally.
 

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1999 STB Automatic
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks. The guy i rate most highly and who is fairly local to me is Dean Larkins, but he's mobile and so doesn't have a hunter aligment kit.

Generally i don't use garages much as i do servicing and basic jobs myself, but things like aligment, plugs and cambelt i wouldn't take on as it's too much hassle v the cost of getting someone else to do it and the consequence of messing up.
 

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1998 Forester SF5 Manual
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76 Posts
I find that alignments are 99% of the time un-necessary. Propagated by the industry just like oil companies promote 3K mile oil changes. I have put over a million miles on many many vehicles and have only had 2 alignments. And one was worse than when I took it in.

Unless you have a definite problem you can positively attribute to alignment (and not suspension)..pass on alignments. (Just an Opinion)

I doubt if your roads are worse than those in the U.S.
When you drive in a country with corners, wheel alignment really does help. :raspberry:
 

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2017 BRZ Manual
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436 Posts
Id say pretty much an essential check even if you have owned the car for a while. Whilst most folks wouldn't notice a gradual geometry change any enthusiast should :icon_eek:

Most tyre fitters will offer you an alignment with new tyres but you have to remember that even if they have a half decent alignment machine its pretty much guaranteed the monkeys operating them will have limited or zero experience of operating it to its full potential.

A good mate of mine is a machine code engineer and works extensively with lasers so he's a real tolerance junky. He works a lot down at McLaren and loves cars but has very little mechanical sympathy or knowledge about them.

He's not quite up to Pindie's mileage antics but he piles the miles on his Skoda Octavia Estate pretty rapidly and he recently contacted me for advice on tyres.
He needed to replace all four 'all season Continentals' of which are alarmingly cheap. (Probably due to the extremely common 205x55x16 size) He has always sniffed when I mentioned winter tyres so I advised him on the benefits. I also asked him to check his tyres for any unusual wear of which there was none and whether he thought it steered as well as the day he bought it. He said it did and I warned him that the tyre jockeys were likely to advise an alignment (as they are instructed by head office to do) but to politely decline as their operators struggle with their tyre machine :icon_eek:

We decided on winters and picked a few products for him to quote against and I left him to it.

45mins later he called to say they didn't have our preferred products in stock but had advised him on there own preference. These turned out to be M & S marked but had NO snowflake on :icon_rolleyes:
I spoke to the office monkey myself and politely requested he find a winter tyre of which they eventually found from another local branch

Again I left him to it

He called me after he was done and told me of the alignment fiasco that unfolded. They pressurised him to have the alignment done with £offers etc and he gave in. He might be a walkover when it comes to negotiating but he knows his engineering stuff. After the new tyres were fitted a young monkey got the alignment apparatus out and started setting it up. My mate was asked to park his arse in the waiting room of which he refused. He told them he felt the alignment was unnecessary and wanted to watch there magic in action ! First set up he was told 22mm out !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My mate laughed, the monkey looked confused and an explanation of his experience with lasers went flying over the young lads head. A second set up was attempted. 2mm out this time with the head monkey at the helm. Still not convinced my mate asked the head monkey to replace the devices on each wheel and take another reading. It now read 3mm out :confused:

He took his leave
 

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2015 Fiat van Man stick
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When my sti was out of true it was a barely measurable amount at the rear but it was enough to chew the inners of the rear tyres out in about 8k miles! It was set like this from new.

I had a geo check by the people Carstins use and it was re set properly to OEM spec - Yeah right, I thought.

33k later and two different set of tyres later the tyres are still wearing squarely and evenly. Geo checks and re set are worth it.
 
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