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Alignment should follow Tie-rod work, right?

After a shop does work on the inner or outer tie rod, shouldn’t the shop do more than just count the turns or measure the distance to make sure the car is in alignment? Shouldn’t they do a proper alignment with the lasers or, at least, the piece of string?? The shop I went to didn’t do a “proper” alignment after the inner and outer tie rods were replaced. Now they want to charge me $70.00 for an alignment. Is this normal practice?

The car should be aligned. And you should pay for the alignment. Replacing a tie rod and aligning the car are two different jobs. If you don’t want to pay for an alignment, ask them to count the number of turns.


An alignment and replacing the tie rod ends are two separate jobs, so you should pay for the alignment. Some shops will do an alignment as a goodwill gesture if you are having a lot of suspension work done totaling several hundred dollars or more, but even that is not the norm. Counting the number of turns will get you in the ballpark, but will still be far from properly aligned. I would always count the number of turns and still do an alignment, and the toe would usually be off by at least a degree, usually more like 2 or 3 degrees. The closest I ever got put the side I worked on around 0.85 degrees while the other side was in the green. That is certainly off enough to cause unusual tire wear.

Alignment should always follow tie-rod replacement and the customer should pay for the alignment.

Tie rod work would affect only the toe adjustment, not the camber or caster. You don’t need a complete alignment, just toe and steering wheel centering. If that can get you a price break, go for it.