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Bad “tire rotors”?

Hey all, I have a 2009 Honda Civic. I’m a little conflicted because I took my car to two repair places today.

The first was for a tune up -oil and filter change, tire rotation, etc. on the sheet it says they “checked brakes and calipers for wear and damage…inspected tie rod ends…drive shafts boots” etc etc. green light on everything.

THEN I took it to another place because I bought a “lifetime alignment” package. Now, right off, this place recommends an alignment every 6,000 miles, when tires are rotated or replaced, and it’s been more than 6k since my last alignment AND I just got my tires rotated. Still, the guy behind the desks tries to talk me out of it - “we just saw you in July, I really don’t think you need it”.

A half hour later he says my “tire rotor” is bad and they can’t do the alignment until they replace it, which will cost about $200. He didn’t have the parts on him so I just left.

Now here’re my questions - what’s a tire rotor (and he said tire rotor, not brake rotor, because at first I thought he said I needed a new tire), and second, how likely would it be to miss this in the earlier inspection that I had (which is a place I’ve gone to for a long time)?

I kind of get the feeling they’re regretting offering a free service and are trying to get my money in another way…


Perhaps he said “Tie rod” end. Do you have a written estimate?

A rotor is generally in my understanding is a part of the braking system. An alignment might be needed depending on tire wear and how many potholes and curbs you run into. It all seems sketchy to me. If it were me I would find a new place to get work done.

Jeez, maybe on a car made from tissue paper. I’ve never found the need to have alignments done that frequently, and if I ever do I’ll be trying to figure out what’s wrong with the car that’s causing it to go out of alignment so easily. That right there makes the shop suspect.

That said, most places that offer lifetime alignment for an upfront price are actually doing it as a sort of road hazard warranty. i.e., if you hit a pothole and knock the car out of alignment, they’ll align it again without charging you. That’s different from “bring it in whenever you feel like and we’ll align it.” They might be making up the “tire rotor” thing (I, too, suspect they said “tie rod end”) to either make you go away, or give them money to make up for having to do unnecessary work without payment.

You don’t need an alignment every 6000 miles unless you regularly hit curbs. There is no such thing as a “tire rotor”

If that is what they actually said… never return, they are crooks.


Actually, that would apply to a lot of women driving SUVs in my neck of the woods.
More often than not, they misjudge their clearances/turning radius, and drive over curbs with their rear wheels.


Sexism is always helpful. :expressionless:

I not only don’t know what ’ tire rotors ’ are but I have no idea what your avatar is or means.

That said, most places that offer lifetime alignment for an upfront price are actually doing it as a sort of road hazard warranty. i.e., if you hit a pothole and knock the car out of alignment, they’ll align it again without charging you. That’s different from “bring it in whenever you feel like and we’ll align it.”

This is what the package advertises:
“With a lifetime wheel alignment service, drivers receive alignments free of charge every 6 months or 6,000 miles for as long as they own the vehicle”. I was told I could even bring it in sooner than 6,000 miles if I wanted. I also live in a state where the roads are more pothole than road, so hitting potholes are a normal thing (can’t avoid one without hitting another)

My car does have a habit of pulling to the right. I was told it wasn’t really a problem, but I drive across country a lot so I do like to get it checked to make sure it’s still the same “not problem”

Thanks all - I really was baffled about “tire rotors” and apparently rightfully so. He was a mumbler, so he may have said tie rods, which I know were just checked.

A fruit salad with banana dolphins - clever…

Dolphin Fruit Bowl

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“Whenever someone offers a deal to good to be true, it usually is”, which for me includes $29 Oil Changes and Lifetime Alignments.

Every business has about the same costs for materials, labor and equipment and needs to make a reasonable profit so if someone is offering the same service at a significant discount they have to make it up somewhere else and in your case it’s unneeded repairs.

It’s the oldest scam in the world, someone offering you “an unbelievable price” on something and it relies on on the Buyer’s “Willing suspension of disbelief”. In hindsight, does it really make sense that someone can offer “unlimited alignments” for maybe twice the price of a regular alignment and still remain in business?

Hopefully you’ve learned that “an honest tradesman will charge you an honest price” and patronize accordingly. And more important, apply that same logic to any other salesman, broker, salesman or consultant who offers you the “deal of the lifetime” or “free services”>.

Whoever’s telling you that is not credible. Same folks offering free alignments (that you paid for in advance)?


Pulling to the right really is a problem, but to some extent it depends on how much it pulls. If you line up your car on a straight road and let go of the steering wheel and it stays in the lane for a 1/4 mile, generally that is OK.

Personally I am not a fan of getting an alignment unless there is a verifiable problem such as excessive tire wear, unusual tire wear pattern, or pulling excessively. But if you bought a lifetime alignment that includes realignment or alignment check every 6k miles, then that is a contract.

This isn’t about whether your vehicle needs an alignment, it’s about getting what you paid for. They have a contractual responsibility to keep up with the terms they agreed to. This is business agreement and you need to treat it as a business transaction. You don’t have to be an expert on car repair.

Now when this person is telling you that you need “tire rotors”, have then show you exactly what they are saying is bad, why they say it is bad and take a picture of it. Tell them that you are going to get a second opinion (good business practice) and if the second opinion (post the picture here) says this is bogus, you will contact your lawyer. This will establish you as a serious business person and a force to be dealt with.

Edit: I’m also a little leery of the place that sold you a tune up. That is an outdated term and does not apply to modern vehicles. Sometimes it is used to mean spark plug and air filter change.

There’s no part on an autombile called a “tire rotor”, so the first thing you need to do is get to the bottom of which actual part the shop thinks is faulty and needs to be replaced. Once you get that info post back.

Normally a faulty “brake rotor” wouldn’t interfere w/ a wheel alignment job. The only way I can think of that might be a factor is if your car uses captive rotors. Ask your shop if that’s the reason the alignment must wait on the rotor replacement. Honda did use captive rotors for a while, but I’d expect a Honda 2009 Civic wouldn’t use captive rotors.

I rotate tires every 6000 miles, but I’ve only had one alignment done in 150,000. Need clarification on what exactly they are talking about but if it is a front end part then yeah likely that would need to be replaced prior to an alignment, but find out what he is talking about. Ask him to spell it if you have to.

I know this is sarcasm but… Shady shops prey on both men and women.

The emoji that @VDCdriver used indicates he was joking about women drivers. You may have missed that. `

The thing is to be woke, this place uses the plural them and their so no one really knows what anyone is. So we just say OP to be sure. Just don’t ever make the mistake of sincerely asking when the baby is due unless you have verified they are actually pregnant. That’s a woke.

I think Nevada nailed it in the very first post because a worn tie rod would stop them from doing an alignment. Regardless of whether or not you get “free” alignments every 6k miles, I think that is way to frequently to go seeking them out. If a free alignment “check” is performed after each service, that would be a decent deal. But most of these deals are designed to get you back into the shop to look for other work they can do.

Almost all roads are crowned to promote runoff. So they naturally cause a car to gradually veer to the right. Pulling to the right would be concerning…could be many things from dragging brake caliper to alignment issues…

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