"Free wheel alignment inspection"

Am I being paranoid, or is this just a sure way to hear my car’s tires are out of alignment and would I like to have it done now as long as the car is already in the shop?

I had four new tires installed a thousand miles ago. Before and after, the car handled well (no pulling to one side, etc) and the tires had even wear.

The dealer is offering a free alignment check that ends in a week. The car will be in the shop for other work anyway. Would you have the check done?

Yes the price is right. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

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This is one of those just say No or I will have the work done later.

If your vehicle does not pull to one side or another, feels stable at speeds, the tires wore evenly AND they lasted as long as you expected them to, then I would not have an alignment done.

As far as a free check goes, I have a general mistrust of things that are free, especially when the entity that is providing that free check has a vested interest in the outcome. But it isn’t costing you anything and you can decline having them do an alignment even if they claim your vehicle is out of spec. I’d still worry though that they might make it out of spec.

Myself, I’d decline.


agree with Keith. and it is a free check not a fix. I bet they will say something is wrong, even if it is not.


The OP can decline having any front end work done no matter what they say.


true but then you won’t know if your car is out of spec. or if they just said that. then with that in the back of your head you will want to bring it somewhere to have it checked out. only to find out nothing was wrong. his vehicle does not pull or have uneven wear. free is never free. it is to find something wrong and make money. and not everyone is honest. unfortunately. just my thoughts.


If I trusted the dealer enough to have other work done, I’d have the alignment checked. No obligation to have them fix anything.


And it is not a bad idea to get it checked as you have new tires.

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At both the Subaru dealership that I use, and the Toyota dealership that my friend used to use, every car has its alignment checked in the drive-up area where you check-in for service. In the 3 years that my dealership has been doing this, they have only advised me to get an alignment on one occasion. That was once out of 4 or 5 visits.


If you get the alignment check done, insist on a printout of the results. You can post it here if you want help interpreting it.


My thoughts, too. Thanks.

That’s helpful. Thanks.

My Toyota dealer runs every car over a toe plate before you even get out of the car. That is the only easily adjustable alignment for a Camry anyway.

Do you know if the dealer has the Hunter Quick Check Drive alignment check?

If so, then just by driving into their dealership, your alignment will be checked, along with a nice printout.

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I would NEVER trust on of those. Back in the 70’s, the safety inspection station at NAS Memphis in Millington, TN had one of those. It was never calibrated and it showed every vehicle as out of alignment. The local alignment shops had to toe out every vehicle that came in with a failed inspection from this station. Every car on base had the inside treads of their front tires worn out when the other treads were near new.

They would NOT fix it.

Anything can still go wrong but computers calibrate alignment now (as almost everything else on our lives). It’s kind of hard to screw up. The computer prints out what the toe in and toe out should be (as determined by the car manufacturer) and what it actually is. The tech adjusts accordingly and retests it after the adjustment.

No they don’t. Computers calculate the alignment based on inputs from sensors. Calibration is checking and correcting the sensors so that the computers get correct information. Calibration is done by hand by comparing the sensors against standards from the next higher class of standards that in turn are checked against a higher standards eventually leading to standards held by NIST.

A technician usually can do a cal check by mounting the sensors to fixed locations that have been calibrated. If the computer readout is with the specs, the machine is ready to go.

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I took a friends Toyota to the dealer for free service during the warranty and they installed a device onto each wheel and got a printout at the service entrance that indicated the need for an alignment on the front that I declined and with the owners consent I continued to decline for the next trips. The car needed tires a few years later and I took it to a Goodyear store and as expected they checked the alignment on a rack(free) before installing the tires and their printout indicated that all wheels were within factory specifications, luckily. Since they showed that alignment of the front required replacement of the steering knuckle and alignment is not covered under warranty.

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I find it interesting that the OP is willing to have the car in the shop for a week for “other work”, but is suspicious of a free alignment check. Maybe we should know more about the “other work”, and whether it also is suspicious.

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