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Old 03-08-2013, 07:18 AM   #41
amc49
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I for one do not buy that 'MUST have all 4 wheels done at once' line, I never do it every time and my cars drive fine and tires last forever. While nice for peace of mind it has NEVER been necessary and you couldn't do it at all on RWD cars, they can be off too. But then I do all my aligning myself and with no machine at all, in fact for 30+ years now.
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Old 03-08-2013, 09:40 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amc49 View Post
I for one do not buy that 'MUST have all 4 wheels done at once' line, I never do it every time and my cars drive fine and tires last forever. While nice for peace of mind it has NEVER been necessary and you couldn't do it at all on RWD cars, they can be off too. But then I do all my aligning myself and with no machine at all, in fact for 30+ years now.
With a four cylinder engine, would changing just two spark plugs be a tune up? Would changing half the oil be an oil change? Would replacing the brake pads on the left front only be a brake job? Of course not. So it goes with only doing half an alignment. That's a half-assed job and it's a total rip off to pay for a half-assed job. With a vehicle that is designed for rear adjustments in toe and camber, to only align the front doesn't do a darned thing, as the out of alignment rear wheels are out of alignment with the front, so the vehicle isn't aligned.

Here is a video that explains why four wheel alignments are needed -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6wwjy0I77s


-- B.F. Goodrich T/A Certified Tire Specialist
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Old 03-08-2013, 11:31 PM   #43
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Subtle propaganda video and I found plenty of holes in it. Such as even if owner cannot tell the car is out of alignment (generally signifying no problem), he should still get it aligned for piece of mind. After EVERY POTHOLE HIT if you take the video literally. Worried about getting all your money's worth out of car? Align it to be sure. Never can tell, it may go out by itself just sitting in the driveway. The video expressly designed to cater to the fears of the uninformed.

Magic stuff to be sure as the average layman has not a clue. Anything to get the car on the machine and then scare them into more work based on errors of say one or two tenths of a degree when a car can run for years like that and be perfectly safe.

Uh, the major manufacturers consider changing only part of transmission oil now a complete service. Surely they can't be wrong..........

And yes, I have done a 'tuneup' that only consisted of one plug or one wire, when the car proceeded to run fantastic, I quit right there to save money. I haven't done a complete and full tuneup on a car in several years and all 4 cars I have run quite well and 99% of the time. Much of this thinking you have to change myriad parts to keep razor sharp tune is now false, the PCM keeps things so well in check that changing only one part can have you up and running and for long periods of time. I don't hesitate to change any part needed but it must prove out as a problem before I do. About the only regular maintenance I do is oil change. Most of my maintenance is schedule unplanned but done with a close eye on car to catch things before they go bad to bring car down unexpectedly. Watchful waiting and fix it when it gets close. Same with chassis/align work, the car will tell you when it needs it.
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Old 03-08-2013, 11:33 PM   #44
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Yeah, everything is a scam! Don't buy anything, as it's all a scam!

Right.
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Old 03-08-2013, 11:50 PM   #45
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I have personally driven a car that had someone back into it to bend the strut shaft so that a rear tire visibly went out of camber and tracking with front. Somewhere between 5-10 degrees out of plane my guess. Drove it maybe 3-4 weeks until got time to fix it, working 12-7 at the time. The car drove virtually the same as when not damaged, I was quite surprised. A good case that had me looking at rear and its' effect on FWD cars, whereupon I realized that the rear really does nothing, it simply pulls in straight to the front like a trailer once the car moves straight. Anything wrong in back simply makes the rear track slightly out of center to front track one way or the other depending on the error. That damaged car drove nicely, even panic braked well without crossing up, the first thing I checked before starting to drive it long term. Once strut fixed and car realigned by me I could tell hardly any difference other than back pulled back into center with the front again as proper. Of course the strut started working right, the very slight caddy corner roll from damage stopped. Most people I think wouldn't have really noticed that. The biggest effect I've seen from careful rear alignment is the effect on tire wear. It can be set where tires wear horribly and it can be dead right and they last forever, but car drives almost the same both ways as far as feel.
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Old 03-09-2013, 12:06 AM   #46
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If you knew how little money I spend on cars to produce far better result that those who take cars in for every single little thing and spend entire paychecks doing so...........

I look at the world in a very jaded fashion, but it has served me very well. I spend maybe $500-$700 average total in parts on a car from getting it to releasing it to go to the junkyard, and with a very full life in between. Of course I do 100% of the work on them so that's free.

I worked in the parts business twice and I pretty much know how the wind blows in retail auto.....................MUCH of it is quite literally scam in the fullest sense of the word. I watched our tire shop clients quite literally rip off people left and right with some of the most incompetent work I've ever seen. The local Ford house did the same. It opens your eyes. Don't like it that way but I didn't create the planet, just making my way through it hopefully with as little damage as possible.

I know it may not sound that way, but no personal insult or injury meant to anyone here.
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Old 03-09-2013, 10:49 AM   #47
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Best way I handle alignments is to buy a Firestone Lifetime Alignment (~$170) in the first 10,000 miles. Then every 6,00 miles (every oil change) I get it realigned at no additional change. When the first set of tires wear I look out for a Firestone sale. After that every 6,000 miles I take it to Firestone for realignment, rebalancing of the wheels & wheel rotation at no additional charge. If they ever find a worn part I will replace it and bring it back for realignment. My local Firestone does the 4 wheel alignment. My current Focus has had 11 alignments in a little over 80,000 miles.
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