Alignment problem...arrgghh...Toyota Sienna 2002/ 83,000 miles

After removing studded snow tires last month, my shop can’t get the alignment of my vehicle right…I bought new tires, had them balanced, rotated, the front driver’s side bent tie rod replaced, checked brakes, and three alignments so far with all of this…and it still pulls to the left. Thinking about asking the mechanic to just “over compensate” his adjustment when I take it in again tomorrow…is that a bad idea? Any other thoughts on what he should be looking for? THANK YOU!!

A tire bias can cause this. Try swapping the 2 front tires from side to side. A tire shop should be familiar with this little glitch.

That being said, this bent tie rod thing raises a red flag. If a tie rod is bent then it’s quite possible something else is.
Lower control arm, strut, or even something more serious like a subframe or strut tower.

I’m willing to bet something else is bent, but like ok4450 said, first try switching the tires side to side to determine if it is the alignment or the tires.

Tie rods don’t bend all on their own, you know.

So, I take it the van hit a curb on an icy road one day?
Have they shown you the alignment printout results?
Can you tell us which one of the wheels it is that they can’t get into alignment according to their machine?


Well, of course, Erie, PA wins the snow and pothole award every year, and I have two teenagers that take their turns with it as well, so it’s had its share of pounding.

Just picked it up again, but haven’t really had the chance to drive it yet. The test printouts before/after the last two alignments have been normal. Their machine doesn’t show a problem with any of the wheels. They tell me the machine is in calibration (and no other customer problems). They are straight up guys and I believe them…they’re as aggravated as I am (almost). The mechanic doesn’t see any other damage to control arms, struts, etc. He did do some over compensation on today’s alignment, “but not too much…don’t want to create wear on the tires”…so we’ll see.

So, this is not my thing…I don’t really get what connects “A” to “B”…wondering (if not resolved)if it could be a steering column thing somehow? Or something somewhere in between?

Just discovered this site (have always loved the radio show)and it is a boon to those of us who are bumbling along in the world of car stuff. Really appreciate the suggestions you guys have made…thanks for taking the time :slight_smile:

If the issue isn’t resolved, then it would point to the new tires being the source of the issue. If you have the snow tires mounted on a second set of wheels, tell the teenagers to break out the tire changing tools, and swap the wheels/tires, and see if the pull then goes away.

If yes, there’s all the proof you need.
Take the new tires back to the shop, and have them swap out the new tires for something else.

Also, what brand/model of tire are they that were put on the van?


Take a tape measure and a helper and try this. With the wheels straight ahead measure from the back of the front wheel rim on one side to the front of the back wheel rim on the same side. NOT the tire, the rim.
Repeat this on the other side and compare the measurements. They should be very close.

If not, something is bent.