CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Alignment of tahoe

i’ve heard conflicting advice on wheel aligning on suv’s ,trucks and cars. i’ve been told that cars should be aligned every so many miles but suv’s and trucks don’t worry about them. what’s the scoop? tia

I periodically check my tires for any abnormal wear. As long as the vehicle drives straight, remains stable and the tires are wearing normally, I do NOT allow anyone to even check the alignment.

My Nissan pickup has had one alignment when it was new due to abnormal tire wear. After the alignment, those tires lasted 102k miles. My Saturn has never been aligned and I get over 100k miles per set of tires. Our Honda has been aligned 5 times due to tire wear and I think it is finally right. The tire wear has slowed down considerably.

I don’t know where you’re getting your info from, but all vehicles eventually require an alignment. It could be because a steering/suspension component wore out, or because of an accident.

Suv’s and trucks have alignment spec’s too.

Tester

As long as you don’t hit a parking curb too hard, don’t go through a really deep pothole, don’t go over large bumps or through potholes with the brakes heavily applied, you may never need a wheel alignment. Works for me but occasionally take a look at your tire treads as an easy precaution to make sure that nothing has changed. Also, note, of course, if your vehicle develops steering pull. My last compact GM car went 140,000 miles when I traded it with no alignment needed. My 80s GM compact needed one alignment as I had to take it apart to replace the clutch friction disk. I have no resistance to getting alignments done if needed as I do them at home in my garage.

This is all about risk. Most people don’t have problems with alignment. But there are some that do.

But a difference between cars and trucks/SUV’s? Not much - although cars tend to have alignment specs that will cause tire wear issues and that’s likely where the idea of a difference comes from.

But the real question is: Are you willing to risk sacrificng a set of tires to avoid the cost of doing an alignment.

Somewhere between meticulous and oblivious is the safest and most economical place to be but many are uncomfortable anywhere but at one extremity or the other and the tire sellers and alignment shops are so very grateful for both extremes.

Fearmongering is not a valid answer. If you succumb to that and get an alignment done, ask for the before and after settings to help your future judgement capability. Also, if you are in the process of buying new tires, the wear patterns on the old ones will tell you if an alignment is indicated but I would not judge a tire unless it was in one place for a full rotation cycle.

It is possible that with more than one driver of a vehicle, the owner may not be told if an alternate driver did something regarding a road hazard to affect the wheel alignment. With no accounting for this, the need for an alignment does become more of an unknown.

I want to know where and what kind of tires keith buys. Must live in kansas or the texas panhandle where there are no hills or curves, but i digress. I’m with tester all vehicles eventually are going to need an alignment for one reason or another. I know alignment shops that will not warranty an alignment for more than 30 days or 3000 miles. Factory warrnaty as far as GM anyway is only good for 7500 miles from the day you buy the vehicle new.

I’m with keith. We’ve had this discussion on here before so I won’t spend a lot of time typing it out on this dinky keyboard. I have never paid for a professional alignment EVER. Had to stand my ground a few times when I had new tires installed. As long as it tracks correctly and the tires wear evenly and last as expected, don’t touch it.

I’ve replaced all kinds of front end parts too that could affect alignment. Just was careful to get it back close enough using my own methods. Never had any issues but YMMV.

Done dozens of my own alignments on vintage restores too but they are pretty forgiving compared to some designs on my daily drivers.

BTW, potholed Boston roads…

I buy Michelin, BF Goodrich and Bridgestone tires at Costco, but some of the long lasting tires were OEM Firestones. I live in Tennessee and most people cannot keep up with me on the curvy roads I drive on.