2017 Camry - alignment problems been to dealer twice and still bad

This is my first post. I have a 10 month old 2017 Camry LE with Firestone OEM tires. It started pulling to the right about a month ago (about 1000 mi after last service (oil change and tire rotation)). I don’t remember doing anything to cause this alignment problem (no curb hits, no curb drop offs, no major pot hole hits, etc). Steering wheel must be held towards left to drive straight (about 5-10 degrees off level). Letting go of wheel pulls right. Had it aligned by dealer a week ago and still pulls same way and still cannot have steering wheel at 0 degrees without pull to right (road “crown” does not matter - tried in a flat parking lot, same behavior). Returned and they re-aligned. Seemed better but still not the way it was before issue occurred (wheel still can’t be left at 0 degrees without it pulling to right). Today I had the two front wheels swapped side to side by a local shop thinking I may have a radial pull issue. After swap things are “better” but something is still wrong. I can’t say it pulls to the left now (or if it does it’s very slight). I would have expected it to pull about the same in opposite direction right? I can now hold the steering wheel almost at 0 degrees without pull to right (but at zero 0 degrees still produces a slight pull to right). Do I just have an improperly done alignment or a bad tire? Assuming this is a tire issue, what would be next steps for troubleshooting? Should I just swap the front wheels with the rears? Should I “cross” swap the fronts and rears (left rear to right front, right rear to left front)? The last alignment from dealer gave me a report and all the “after” values are green (right front toe was out of spec before alignment). I read up on steering pull issues which are primarily caused by caster and camber being too different from side to side - and it seems that caster and camber are within spec (including side to side are close) and individual toe and total toe are OK.) I can provide the details of the alignment if necessary. The odd thing to me is swapping the front wheels seemed to make it feel more like “normal” rather than causing the same type of pull effect in the opposite direction. Any ideas???

Try swapping tire’s front to rear my pickup had the same problem before & after alignment swapping tires solved the problem.

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Your owner’s manual came with a protocol for elevating problem analysis when a dealer can’t solve a problem. I’d recommend that you find it and move the problem up the ladder. And keep all of your copies of the shop orders.

In addition, you may want to research your state’s “lemon laws” in case it falls under them and the problem continues. It could be argued that this is a safety issue.

Were the car mine, I’d want to see the four wheels checked for a dragging brake (including the parking brake), checked for a bad bearing, and I’d want to see the “Steering Angle Inclination” numbers. The SAI isn’t directly adjustable, but it’ll tell you if there’s a manufacturing error. The SAI is the angle to the ground that the steering rotates around. There is a specification for it, even though it’s a second-order angle. And yes, it can affect how well the vehicle tracks.

But understand that this is not your problem to solve… it’s Toyotas. And if you have the records to show that you’ve brought he car in for the problem and it hasn’t been resolved, it will have to be covered under warranty regardless of mileage, no matter how long it takes them.

It’s a mystery to me…

This may or may not have any significance…
Toyota Technical Service Bulletin T-SB-0042-16 (2 pages) covers pre-delivery information for 2017 models.
It is, to me, unusual and discusses the importance of factory mounted “matched sets” of tires remaining in their locations and direction of rotation to avoid pulling and drifting.

How is one supposed to rotate tires and when on a 2017 Toyota? Also, ToddKOC says his pull didn’t begin until about 1,000 miles after his tire rotation.
CSA

Hi Terry,

Thanks for the reply. I will try your suggestion. Any idea why this fixed your problem? Maybe tread bias or ??? Just trying to understand what causes this sort of problem :slight_smile:

Thanks!!!

Todd

The reason I had the alighnment was it was pulling to the right & wearing the outside of the tire when he took it for a test drive it was still pulling to the right so he swapped the tires from front to rear & problem was solved he said 90% pulling & abnormal tire wear was because miner defect in a tire not alignment problem.

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By the way I did need an alighnmemt as the camber was of that was what was causing the tire wear but not the pulling to the right.

Dd they check the alignment of the rear tires? Without a four wheel alignment you can’t really tell anything.

Hi wenwest,

Yep they did a 4 wheel alignment both times.

Alignment problems can be tricky. When I was in graduate school back in 1970, my 1965 Rambler needed an alignment. I was new in the area so I went to Sears. The car drove worse. I went back to Sears and the service department refused to do anything. In desperation, I asked the proprietor.of the service station that maintained my car. Fortunately, he had a friend at the International truck dealer and the proprietor took my Rambler to him at 6 a.m. because the alignment specialist’s days.wree booked way ahead. Sears had set the toe the opposite of where it should have been set–the wheels toed out instead of in.
I was telling my problem.to the proprietor of an alignment shop in my hometown. He pulled an appointment book out of his desk and showed it to.me. He had appointments.from dealers and.chain tire shops that shall remain un-named. He said if the customer squawked enough, the dealers sent the alignment jobs to him to make right
That shop is.long gone, but I have an independent tire store that does good alignment jobs. They don’t want the tires they sell.to.wear.out prematurely. A good independent tire shop may be able.to identify your problem.

No Way!!! How can I get hold of the bulletin? This is frickin CRAZY. As you stated, how could one ever rotate tires (and that is standard SOP on cars today) and not have a problem!?

I totally understand directional tires, for standard tires too!?. Would really like to read this in full so I have some ammunition to go to Toyota with and get new tires.

How can cheap tires come in “matched sets”?

The first thing out of the guy’s mouth who did my side-to-side wheel swap was “you need to get rid of these Firestone’s - they’re terrible”. - he went on to say that they’re not resilient - he said, for example, if you hit a pothole, they stay deformed due to poor quality of materials and poor construction techniques. He said Bridgestone that are made in Japan (guess some aren’t) Toyo (only ones made in Japan) and high-end Michelin (ones not made in China) are best. He said to stay clear of all Costco tires as most are the lowest-end range of models/quality of each brand they sell, and are (or most) made in China. He wasn’t trying to sell me tires - just giving his opinion. Personally never had any issues with Michelins from Costco.

Anyway, after going over my alignment report (the “after” settings) the only thing that looks odd is a combination of more rear toe-in for the left rear (l=.14 degrees vs. r=.06 degrees) plus front-right caster being slightly negative vs. left side. Front right caster = 2.4 degrees and Front left caster=2.5 degrees. Maybe this combination + a defective tire is amplifying the issue. The variations are pretty small. Camber on both rears is very close (-2,4 right, -2.5 left) and front camber is .8 dgrees right and 1.0 degrees left (all settings mentioned are “green” on the report). Oddly their report has no extra info like SIA. Can anybody pass the Toyota “preferred” specs for the 4wheel alignment for the 2017 Camry LE?

Thanks to everyone who has responded! :blush:

LOL - man that is sad that they did the opposite of what was required :disappointed: I totally get this and have heard of such things in my travels. In my opinion chains/dealers are worthless for troubleshooting issues - not necessarily the techs - it’s all about time and money - they probably tell the techs not to spend more than 30-60m on any one thing. The chain/dealer can’t be bothered with thorough troubleshooting when they have 50 oil changes to do. I found a guy in La Habra, CA who seems good (according to overwhelming positive Yelp reviews) - I called him and described my problem (before having wheels swapped). He said he would do a thorough check before considering doing any adjustments. He’s booked out an entire week - so I’m sure this proves your point about the shop that cleaned up the dealers/chains messes :blush:

The forum rules say not to call posters names. Therefore I think I can say who ever said that to Todd is an idiot.
Todd, your problem should be on record at the dealer. I would talk to them before using anyone else for an alignment and also politely mention you are going to contact corporate and see what they think about the problem.

copyright ©
I can see the bulletin (it is copyrighted) because I have access to them, but because of copyright laws I don’t want to reproduce it, sorry.

These bulletins are published by manufacturers to help their technicians. They are not intended for customers.

Most shops and mechanics have access/subscriptions to service bulletins, including dealers. See if somebody will let you have a look or make you a copy. It would be good if somebody at the dealer could look at it and discuss it with you (and hand you a copy?).

I have searched that bulletin by number online and found excerpts of it. Perhaps our more computer savvy guys can find a link of the whole bulletin and post it.

The bulletin was a bit strange and unusual to me. We have a tire expert (tire engineer) who cruises this site, CapriRacer is his computer name. Perhaps he’ll be checking in here.

Sorry I’m chicken :chicken: to post the bulletin. It may or may not mean much or help you, but see if you can find one.
CSA

@ToddKOC Unfortunately, the proprietor of the alignment shop where I had such good service retired and has passed away. A younger fellow who apprenticed with him took over the shop and was also quite good. However, the building was sold and became a liquor store. I guess since you could no longer get a good wheel alignment, you could get something to drown your sorrows. The building was sold again and has been torn down. A big car wash is going in its place. This, I guess will allow one to wash away one’s troubles.
I did have a similar problem with to your problem with your Camry on a 1993 Olds 88 that I once owned. I took the car to my independent tire shop and had a 4 wheel alignment performed. The car was pulling to the right–the problem came on suddenly, but the 4 wheel alignment solved the problem.
You said your Camry came with Firestone tires. My 2011 Toyota Sienna and my present 2017 Sienna both came with Firestone tires as original equipment. On the 2011, the original Firestone tires lasted as long as the Michelin replacements. I am not particularly enamored with Firestone tires after my experience with Firestone 721 radials that came as original equipment on my 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass that were really troublesome and Firestone gave me the runaround on adjustment, but have had no problems since that time with Firestone tires. That is not to say that you don’t have a tire problem. I had a Ford Aerostar van that had Michelin tires. I was driving along one day and a motorist pulled along side me, honked his horn and said that my right rear wheel was wobbling. It turned out that the tire had a broken belt. The van drove much better after I replaced the tire.

Even a car with perfect tires and perfect alignment there still tends to be a slight pull to the right due to the road crown. But that’s usually barely noticeable on modern cars like yours except on highly crowned (sloped) roads. Crosswinds can contribute to a pull sometimes too. Driving the same road in the opposite direction at the same time of day can test the cross wind theory. I drive on a certain freeway routinely, and that road tends to have a crosswind in the morning and it causes the Corolla to pull noticeably to the right, but only during that segment of the trip.

From what you say it sounds like you have a tire problem. Either the front and/or the rear tires can cause a tire pull. Moving the tires around can usually pinpoint which tire or tire is the cause of the problem, but it may take a number of tire swaps and a good deal of experimentation

There is some truth to that, but I also don’t fully agree with your second statement

Anybody can pay the roughly $20 fee and gain a few days access to the Toyota technical website, and see all the bulletins they want, during that time frame

So, in essence, a “customer” could see that information, were he willing to pony up the money. Information is a commodity, and I suspect that is the real reason there is a subscription fee to these websites. As far as I know, for the last several years, auto manufacturers have been required to make their tech websites available to anybody, for a reasonable fee.

Yes, the websites are available to the public, by law. But the law didn’t say access needed to be free

I’m not sure on what you’re disagreeing with me or why. Of course I realize customers or anybody can gain access to the bulletins. I have access to and read bulletins from all car manufacturers, daily, and I have been for years. I am a customer and a member of the public, not a professional mechanic/technician.

What I meant was that the audience the bulletins are primarily intended for is the technicians. They were not published to help customers or the general public directly, although that does result, secondarily.

Some manufacturers even write a statement to express that concept at the bottom of the bulletins.
Lets’ see… here’s one of those that illustrates my point:

"GM bulletins are intended for use by professional technicians, NOT a “do-it-yourselfer”. They are written to inform these technicians of conditions that
may occur on some vehicles, or to provide information that could assist in the proper service of a vehicle. Properly trained technicians have the
equipment, tools, safety instructions, and know-how to do a job properly and safely. If a condition is described, DO NOT assume that the bulletin
applies to your vehicle, or that your vehicle will have that condition. See your GM dealer for information on whether your vehicle may benefit from the
information."

However, I agree with you. I have access at home and use them all the time when I work on cars. :slight_smile:
CSA

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a brief SUMMARY of that particular 2 page bulletin, that has me scratching my head, on their website.
Summary

“DURING THE MANUFACTURING PROCESS, TIRES ARE MOUNTED ON THE VEHICLE AS MATCHED SETS TO HELP REDUCE CONDITIONS SUCH AS PULLING OR DRIFTING. IF THE WHEELS ARE REPLACED OR REFINISHED BEFORE VEHICLE DELIVERY, IT IS IMPORTANT THAT THE TIRES REMAIN ON THE VEHICLE IN THE SAME LOCATION AND IN THE SAME DIRECTION OF ROTATION.”

Link:
https://www.nhtsa.gov/vehicle/2017/TOYOTA/CAMRY/4%2520DR/FWD#manufacturerCommunications
CSA

I’m agreeing with your notion that the bulletins are not intended for the customer. The manufacturers know that some customers will undoubtedly pay to see this stuff.

As a professional mechanic, I’m well aware that a customer could walk up to me at any moment, and mention such and such tsb, which specifically applies to their car. At that point, there would be no point in questioning where they got the information, because they have the right to access it. The main thing is diagnosing and repairing the vehicle correctly, not fixating on a tsb, which may or not have the solution. Sure, read any information which might apply, but if you realize it doesn’t apply to your situation, move along

In fact, it has happened a few times. And more often than not, the bulletin was not the solution for the vehicle’s problem, at least in those situations where the customer had the bulletin in hand and was convinced it was the solution.