Alignment didn't fix anything



Hello! I’m a rural mail carrier, and I live down a rough dirt road, so my alignment never stays right long. The other day I had my alignment done on my CRV at the Honda dealership. I noticed there was absolutely no improvement, it still pulls REALLY hard to the right. I’m taking it back in a couple days, and I just want to know before hand what might really be wrong, because I don’t want them to just do the alignment again and send me on my way and the same process start again. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!!:slight_smile:


Any competent alignment check would include a check of all the front end and steering components. But you should ask them to check those explicitly. And have them check the tires and wheel bearings.


That happens automatically when an alignment is done.

Because once the vehicle is aligned to specs, and steering wheel is turned back and forth and brought back to center, if there are any worn steering/suspension components, the alignment will be out of specs.

And that’s when you check for any worn steering /suspension components.





Don’t go back there! They can’t help you!
Find a legitimate alignment shop even if it’s inconvenient and requires going out of town.

Once the suspension/steering components are inspected and worn ones replaced and the alignment gets handled, return to the original shop and ask for a refund, if it doesn’t black-list you in your town.

Or just forget about it and chalk it up to a down payment on an education. :wink:


I wouldn’t expect a wheel alignment to correct a pull on a vehicle with a strut type suspension unless there are some damaged parts, a pull is usually caused by a tire.

Did they “sell” you an alignment or did you ask for one? You should ask them to diagnose the steering pull.


I would have expected a road-test to be part of the alignment. Depending on what was discussed prior to the alignment, it could have been appropriate to perform a before and after road-test.

Next time I would insist on being in the car during both tests.


Well I’ve had both tire wear still causing a pull, and a bum alignment and a front end falling apart not caught by the bum aligner. I ended up going to an old guy that has had the Bear Alignment shop for 50 plus years with all mechanical systems and no computers to finally correct anything. So if it’s not tires, I’m not sure I’d go back. You can rotate tires to rule that out.


Did you have a 4 wheel alignment done or just the front end? Hondas are notoriously difficult to align.


Make sure the tires all have the same pressure of course, then if that doesn’t do the trick try swapping the tires left to right as an experiment, see if the pull follows the tires or not. If you still got a pull, then check for an asymmetrical the ride height, which could indicate a problematic suspension part or broken spring. In my experience anyway pulls are usually caused by unequal tire pressures or tire tread wear patterns that develop slowly over time. But damaged or worn suspension components always remain a possibility. Sometimes it is very difficult for a mechanic to see that a spring is broken.


I just got new tires at Big O, who told me to get my alignment done. I also got my oil changed at Firestone who told me the same thing. I went to the dealership for something else and they suggested I get it done as well. All of these places had the print outs indicating it was out of alignment.


I agree.

I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t experienced this myself, but I had new tires put on a car several years ago.

What do you suppose the tire shop thought when I immediately returned to tell them that my car had a bad “pull” that wasn’t present when I went in for tires? Of course they thought I was nuts or trying to blame them for a problem I already had.

I got them to ride with me and then swap tires from side to side. On the next drive the car pulled the opposite direction.

After they replaced the defective new tire(s) the car didn’t pull.

Older tires can certainly develop problems with belts/structure that can cause extremely unusual wear (I’ve owned some) and it makes sense that they could cause a car to pull quite noticeably.

Road test, Road test, Always.


It was a 4 wheel alignment.


I vaguely remember this problem being posted before - and I hope the folks here recommended swapping the front tires side to side. A change in the direction of the pull would indicate a tire problem, not an alignment problem.

Further: I am of the opinion that the published alignment specs are too wide by half (the tolerance, not the target value). Alignments need to be within the inner half of the tolerance. Most alignment shops aren’t even aware of this problem - so ask and insist!

And lastly, it is possible to wear a pull into a tire. So if the problem is tire related, it might not be a warrantable condition.


I suspect that bad tire was sold to the next customer.


[quote=“BillRussell, post:14, topic:108512”] I suspect that bad tire was sold to the next customer.

Just so everyone understands, the issue of pull in tires is Conicity - root word cone.

And it isn’t that there is a defective tire - it’s that the vector sum of the front tire conicities exceeds the threshold for the vehicle - and replacing a single tire can change the vector sum - but that particular tire might work with another tire on the shelf.

For example: If 2 tires on the front axle have a conicity value of 10 and -2, the vector sum is 12. If the vehicle has a threshold of 7 = PULL! But if I replace the -2 tire with a +4 (conicity is actually worse!), then the vector sum is 6 = NO PULL! - AND - the worst tire is still on the car!


I hope not, but it’s certainly possible. :blush: If I recall they tried telling me I needed an alignment, but I didn’t bite. :smile:


@CapriRacer You are our "resident tire expert."
This is very interesting. I think I understand what you mean about the conicity and I believe I can picture that. So, a tire with an “opposing conicity” (or possibly just not a similar conicity) on the opposite side could counteract that and make it so the vehicle doesn’t Pull?

Wouldn’t that lead to faster wear? And what happens several thousand miles later when an unsuspecting person rotates tires?

I don’t know if you can explain this to me in laymen’s terms. What don’t I get?


Also realize that a problem in the rear can also cause a pull to one side. A dragging brake, a bad bearing, who knows.

Instead of having it aligned, or telling the shop what to do, take it to a reputable owner-operated shop and have him diagnose the pulling. He might find a cause that will surprise you.


Are all 4 tires and rims the exact same size? (First things first!)


+1. I had a strong pull on one side that an alignment could not fix. Stuck brake caliper on one side.