Dodge Avenger 2013 Needs new struts for alignment?

My Avenger was in an accident and when I got it back from the body shop which is also the dodge dealership they had not performed an alignment, which I had been told was done. The damage was generally limited to the front bumper and radiator. They told me they could not align the tires without placing new struts because the struts that came installed from the factory did not have the necessary hardware that allowed for adjustments. Do factor installed struts on an Avenger lack this feature? Do the struts play a role in the alignment? They said there was no damage to the struts or any part of the wheels from the accidents (which I would tend to believe from how I was hit). The front end does not ride rough.

But they could check the alignment. Did they do that, and what were the results? If not, request that. It’s a standard part of any front end work.

If it’s out, then you can check into this strut issue. Which sounds like bull to me, but I’m not an expert.

They haven’t done much to earn your trust. Is there a competent frame and alignment shop, locally owned, that can offer a second opinion?

If they have not had the car on the alignment rack yet then how do they know any specifications at all are out of whack?

It’s quite common for many vehicles to have no provisions for adjusting camber or caster. Toe is adjustable on all cars but toe would have nothing to do with the struts unless one or both were damaged.

The toe can be checked and adjusted. Camber and Caster can be at least checked to see if they are within specs. Unless the struts were actually damaged, new struts will NOT make it able to align correctly if the caster and camber are out of spec.

The caster and/or camber can be out of spec if the struts are damaged, but if they are not, that means the frame or the lower control arms are still not straight. More likely the lower control arms.

If the frame or control arms are only very slightly off, there is a concentric strut bolt that can correct small changes in the camber, I believe it is around 2 degrees total of correction that it can supply. Even if you replaced the struts with new ones, you would still need this bolt, one per strut, to make any corrections to the camber.

The caster probably cannot be adjusted but if it is off, I think the lower control arms would have to be replaced or the frame is really out of wack

Replacement struts have elongated lower mounting holes to accommodate the adjustable bolt package. You have to consider if this adjustment is worth while, if the camber is only off by a small amount you may just want the toe set to specs and forget about the camber adjustment, this is not a touring car or race car.

Struts play a structural role, so yes they could affect the alignment. Unlike a shock absorber or coil spring, which by themselves usually wouldn’t. However the place that even a non-alignment related part mounts might be a place where the alignment for something else that mounts there too is adjusted. I expect Nevada’s comment above is how it pertains to your dodge.

If a camber or caster is way out of spec on a vehicle with non-adjustable camber and caster it should be assumed that something is badly worn or bent.

i like the check alignment point and have them tell you if it needs to be adjusted. will they do that?

That sounds suspect to me , how would you ever align it then ??? Of course then you have to pick your battles, is it worth the hassle or spend 80 bucks to have it aligned somewhere else . I think they are full of it.

There is nothing nefarious going on here. Over the past 30 years with uni-body cars caster and camber is built into the stamped steel floor pan which includes the shock/strut towers. In theory caster/camber never changes unless something is badly worn (ball joint say…) or is bent due to impact.

If the caster and camber is more than a little out of spec then something is out of whack due to wear or damage. If it’s very slightly out of spec then there may be enough slop in the bolt holes to bring it back into spec.

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I wouldn’t install new struts on the off-chance it can’t be aligned. The alignment might already be within specs after all. A diy’er can check camber and toe with enough accuracy to determine if the alignment is way out or not in their driveway with a tape measure and level. Googling will show some links how to do it I expect.