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2017 Forester 2.5i CVT
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
And so it was time Friday for the dreaded annual NY-DMV Inspection. Examining my tires and other things the day before, I spot what looks like both excessive toe in and cupping wear on my right front tire, though not severe.
I am still pissed from my last service because I did not as usual covertly number each wheel before like usual with black marker, and suspected from looking at my tires that the tech who replaced my AC condenser did not do the tire rotation paid for.
But Westchester Subaru had a savings coupon now for a four wheel alignment, balancing and the rotation package, so whether toe in, camber or balance are cause, I'd be set. And with the car under warranty, any other issues would be on Subaru, so it made no sense to go independent yet.
I also get real lucky. I get both a new Service Manager who is both gorgeous, and also sharp as a whip, and a conscientious technician who actually labeled my tires with yellow marker to make certain he rotated them to correct position. (Confirmed by my own secret markings.)
In addition to the DMV inspection is the free Subaru multi-point including checks for CVT/differential leaks, and a brake wear report (the rear ones are coming but are OK for now.)
I am in and out in less than three hours with a set of saved tires and my inspection. And to top it off, have an increase in combined local/highway gasoline mileage from 28.5 to 31.0 according to the car's computer just from the wheel alignment. Maintenance pays!
The only draw back was that the Service Manager was upset that due to a mix-up I didn't get the free car wash they give to regular customers and wanted me to come back this month for that.
I think I might just look her up.
 

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2012 Forester X Auto
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2,238 Posts
.... And to top it off, have an increase in combined local/highway gasoline mileage from 28.5 to 31.0 according to the car's computer just from the wheel alignment. Maintenance pays!
I'm a big fan of maintenance, but to attribute a wheel alignment to a mileage improvement....
Seems a bit of a stretch unless your car was really pulling. I'm wondering why you never noticed..
Cupping can also be a wheel balance problem.

It's probably more likely than not that minor environmental and/or situational change(s) also occurred to affect your MPG. It wouldn't take much.
If you make a few lights rather than stopping, or press the pedal a bit lighter on startup, or cruise at a slightly reduced speed, even winds can have an affect. There are a lot of factors input into the MPG equation, and MPG is the outcome of all of them..

If it makes you feel better about spending the money - great - and maybe you needed it.
An expectation of mileage improvement from getting an alignment is probably not typical, unless it is noticeably out of whack.

It's pretty easy to tell if you need an alignment by driving back and forth over a relatively flat parking lot. You don't need to wait for tire damage.
If your car tracks straight both ways, or pulls slightly but equally both ways in the opposite direction (because the surface isn't exactly level) the only noticeable improvement from the alignment will be to the finances of the dealer.
:wink2:
 

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Sahuarita, Arizona USA 2018 Forester Limited
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2,630 Posts
Perhaps the increased mpg is due to a higher psi in the tires. Whenever I get my tires rotated, seems like the shop always over inflates them to 36 psi.
 

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2012 Forester X Auto
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^^ FB ^^
Yep, I was just thinking the same thing when I read your post..
Filling (or overfilling) tires, especially if they were under inflated to begin with (hmmmm weather colder = lower tire pressure) significantly reduces the rolling resistance most likely orders of magnitude more than a minor alignment change...
 

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2017 Forester 2.5i CVT
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193 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Actually I have been reading for many years that a poor wheel alignment can cause loss of gas mileage and that this is fairly typical. I had just not expected the increase. Keep in mind it was only about 5% but is pretty definite, tires are at same pressure. Also I was watching the damage to the tires but also aware of a slight steering pull. I did not act earlier as my DMV inspection month was coming up in November and I didn't want to come in twice, also with this dealer you have to schedual a few weeks in advance to get the best time. Toe in thread loss was about 1/32, minimal, but would have gotten much worse in another month. Cupping was why I got the package including the balancing. I have over four decades of checking tires.
 

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2012 Forester X Auto
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2,238 Posts
John,
Considering the cost of tire replacement on a Subaru (all 4, even if one is damaged, or shaving a new tire) it's a great idea to get an alignment when you notice it.
Since you noticed the car was out of alignment, I agree that would have an impact on your MPG when corrected..
I assumed you wouldn't be driving it in a noticeable out of alignment condition. It doesn't take long for tires to get chewed up.

Considering your situation, I would probably have done the same or taken it to a properly equipped alignment shop.
So the dealer does the annual inspection?
That's something that doesn't happen out west - as far as a required inspection - there isn't one, except for smog checks in urban areas, but you can be cited for an unsafe vehicle, theoretically at least.
 

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2019 Crosstrek 2018 XT
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14,583 Posts
In my 1,000,000+ miles of driving many cars I have only had one alignment done and then another bc it was not done right.

Its just my opinionh that alignments are simply overdone. And I truly believe once they are changed parts are unloosened from factory tightness and the alignment can then go out quicker/more. They are like the un-necessary 3,000 mile oil change.

But again..just an opinion.
 

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2017 Forester 2.5i CVT
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193 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Dragon, in New York we have a pain in the behind safety and emissions inspection that must be done by a NY-DMV approved shop, dealers are included. If under warranty you go to the dealer as even premature breakpad wear is covered, along with a lot else, so going to Mavis etc. makes no sense.
I used the car for one month with poor alignment but watching tires carefully until required inspection month.
 

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2014 Forester CVT
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193 Posts
Dragon, in New York we have a pain in the behind safety and emissions inspection that must be done by a NY-DMV approved shop, dealers are included. If under warranty you go to the dealer as even premature breakpad wear is covered, along with a lot else, so going to Mavis etc. makes no sense.
I used the car for one month with poor alignment but watching tires carefully until required inspection month.
The Long Island dealer, Riverhead Bay Subaru, my wife and I (and also our son) purchased from gives free NYS inspections for as long as we own our cars. That's a nice little benefit they offer. Now that I live in Tennessee, I don't have to worry about any yearly inspection. On the flip side, I take note of vehicles in parking lots that have really worn tires on them, that makes it dangerous for other drivers on the road when they are around vehicles like that on slick roads.
 

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2018 Forester Limited Auto
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23 Posts
I purchased a new 2018 Subaru Forester LTD the end of May 18. Six weeks later (864 miles) I noticed the front tires were feathering. I brought it to the dealer and was told the alignment was good on 3 of the 4 wheels and slightly off in one back tire.
I was told to call customer service..... An impossible task.
I brought it in for the 6 months service today (3000 miles), making a point to address this issue with the Service Dept. and it's now noted. The tires are excessively feathering. I asked Subaru corp. be notified and address this issue as I'm NOT going to be hit with a pro-rated cost when I need tires replaced in a few months.
* I had this issue with my last Volvo XC90. Volvo issued a new set of specs and the dealer put new tires on, gratis.
 
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