Alignment needed after new tires (with previous alignment)?

Dear all,

Background: A month ago, I had the tie rod ends replaced on my 2003 Volvo V70 T5; the mechanic said that an alignment was required to make the car driveable after this repair, so he did a 4-wheel alignment.

The question now: Yesterday, I had all four of my tires replaced at Costco. They don’t do alignments in house, and the sales guy up front said I need an alignment done elsewhere within the next week. Since I got that 4-wheel alignment done a month ago, do I still need to do an alignment now?

If it makes a difference, I’ve been out of town, so the car has been driven less than 200 miles since the alignment a month ago. Thanks!

The alignment done a month ago should have a warranty. You could go back and have them do an alignment check to make sure it is still good. Get a report from them that shows the alignment is within spec.

Otherwise, no, I would not pay for a new alignment.

I don’t get an alignment with new tires. I do have it checked periodically, that’s pretty easy/cheap to do.

Next time you visit Costco, ask to speak to the manager and tell him about this. It is not their policy to require alignments for new tires.

It maybe the tire tech at Costco was looking at the wear pattern of your old tires and thought you needed a new alignment. Did you tell him that you just had new tie rods installed and a full alignment done?

One last thing, if you told him that and he said something like the alignment would have been affected by the bad wear pattern on the old tires and has to be done, he is wrong. That was true 50 years ago when alignments were done with the tires on the “ground”, but now alignments are done with the vehicle suspended in the air by the control arms, so the tires no longer affect the alignment.

“It is not their policy to require alignments for new tires.”

Of course, they cannot require an alignment.
However, the paperwork that you receive at Costco when you pick up your car after tire installation does state, “alignment is recommended”. The guy at the desk even reiterated this to me.

I always get an alignment done when I get new tires, but, for many folks (you know, the ones who never check their tire pressure and/or who never lift the hood to check their oil), it really is a good idea for somebody to remind them that it is advisable to have alignment done after installing new tires.

At least, that is my opinion. You can differ if you wish.

I have bought a lot of tires at Costco and never has anyone there suggested that I get an alignment. BTW, 264k miles on my Saturn, never been on an alignment rack and its only on its third set of tires, and those have 80k on them and are only about half worn. I had no hesitation with taking them on a 7000+ mile journey this summer, only checked the pressure before leaving.

“I have bought a lot of tires at Costco and never has anyone there suggested that I get an alignment.”

I think that this is a case of, “That was then, this is now”.
On the second page of my Costco tire invoice from 7/26/13, the first line is:
*Check Alignment.

Following that, is information about rotation, inflation, and the recommendation to return after 25 miles to have the lug nuts re-torqued.

I don’t recall all of this verbiage when I last purchased tires at Costco (most likely in 2007 or 2008), but this wording does appear on their current print materials, and–as I mentioned–it was reiterated by guy who checked me out at the tire counter.

Things change, and I think that, because of their liberal replacement policy, Costco’s management got fed up with people who don’t do a periodic alignment, and tried to blame uneven tire wear on the tires, thus leading to this hard copy and verbal reminder about the importance of alignment.

This car is also 10 years old and the mileage has not been stated nor the conditions under which it’s being driven.

The car may have seen the alignment rack but if certain things such as the suspension, wheel bearings, etc were not checked and there is any looseness involving even one component any setting of the alignment could have been “close enough”.
Close enough can wear tires and the Costco guy was probably just trying to cover his bases by recommending an alignment.

That is new, I took a couple of tires in either late June or early July for balancing and I did not see that on the paperwork, but it was only a balance and not new tires so it was only one page.