Alignment and Balancing

alignment

#1

Does one need to do an alignment and balancing every 10k miles? I just took my Lexus 2011 CT200h in for the 20k service maintenance. The service agent recommended an ‘alignment + balancing’ because he said it is recommended for every 10k miles. He had not even taken it for a test drive or anything. His recommendation was solely based on the mileage on the vehicle. I drive on average 10k miles per year, and mostly on well paved roads (rarely come across potholes or speed bumps). My car doesn’t veer to one side when I drive. And I have had the same Michelin tires that came with the car when I bought it new in Dec. 2011. Was the service agent just trying to make an extra $200 for a service I do not need right now?


#2

Not saying it won’t need it but I have 100K on one car and never aligned it yet. 30K on another without one, and the one before that had 60K without an alignment. Same with balancing. On the one though I think I have about 20K on the tires and noticed a little vibration so I think I will have them balanced. I do rotate the tires though about every 5-10,000 and pay good attention to any irregular wear on the tires. If there is irregular wear developing or you notice any change in handling, such as pulling to one side, then get it aligned. Otherwise I think you can pass.


#3

I agree with @bing. Do the alignment and balancing when you need it. At least in the cars I have know, there is no mention of doing it at regular intervals in their maintenance manual. If a service agent though he could make extra money, he would tell you to upgrade the nitrogen in your tires every 10 k miles too. Have you read the manual yourself ?
In reality, you could need an alignment after running into a curb tomorrow or never during the life of your car. Your car and your tires will tell you, not a money grabber.


#4

This “service advisor” was recommending the wrong service, at the wrong time.
Instead of stating that you need balancing & alignment on a routine basis every 10k miles, he should have recommended that you have your tires rotated every 10k miles.

If there is no feeling of vibration at higher speeds, there is no apparent need for balancing.
If the tires are wearing evenly, and if the car is tracking straight, there is probably no need for alignment. However, if the OP wants to get the maximum number of miles from his tires, he needs to have the tires rotated as per the mfr’s recommendation, which could be every 5k, or every 7.5k, or every 10k miles.

The OP REALLY needs to open his glove compartment, take out the Owner’s Manual, and read the Toyota/Lexus maintenance schedule. More than likely, he will not see any reference to tire balancing and wheel alignment, but he most likely will see a reference to tire rotation.

Read and follow what it says in the mfr’s maintenance schedule!


#5

Follow VDC’s advice.

The term “alignment” makes my teeth cringe right now. I just got my car aligned Wednesday and, wouldn’t you know it, late last night in the pouring rain I whacked a large pothole. Everthing seems to have come through okay except for that brown spot in my Y-fronts.


#6

@thesamemountainbike–Despite my best efforts to avoid them, I have driven through a few fairly big potholes recently, luckily at a walking pace. Some of them are spaced so close together that straddling them is impossible, and the best that you can do is to take it very slowly and aim for the smallest ones.

That being said, I am waiting for some time around April to have my wheels aligned. I think that I would just be wasting my money to do it right now.


#7

Well, in the interest of full disclosure, it’s free for me. The main reason I got it done was because a friend who teaches in the degree-bearing automotive technology program at the college I retired from had just replaced my slightly-throbbing 209,000 mile rear bearing & hub assemblies and was teaching his students to do a complete and thorough job as well as how to do alignments.

Perhaps I jinxed the car by doing more than was really necessary?


#8

Unless someone is actually paying you to do it on your car, free wins hands down.


#9

A tire balance might be called for. An alignment every 10k miles is a bit of overkill unless there is a suspected problem, odd tire wear, or concern because of pothole or curb strikes.
An alignment check every 40 or 50k miles is a good idea even with decent roads as things can change over time and also provides a good reason for an alignment tech to inspect suspension and steering components while underneath the car.


#10

It’s good for the students too. The experience of working on as many different cars as possible produces a more knowledgable graduate. I did it as much to support the program than to have the wheels aligned.


#11

Among other work, I had body work done years ago at a local vocational education facility. Was it absolutely perfect ? No, but the car was old, and they effectively brazed in new metal and did a pretty decent job and obviously put in lot’s of time. They did a much better job then I could ever have done. The advantage of a task like an alignment is, it never gets out of the shop till it passes the muster of the instructor who is most qualified. I have had nothing but good experiences having cars worked on by these educational institutions.


#12

KKish, you could really have some fun here if you wanted too. If you still have the name of the service writer who recommended the alignment every 10k miles, then go into the dealers showroom and ask to see the general manage. Then ask the general manager if he would like it if the word got out that Lexus was such poor quality that they need a wheel alignment every 10k miles. Tell him that you have the consumer affairs reporter from a local TV station on speed dial.

Watch the tap dancing begin.