How often do I need to get tire rotation/balance, and wheel alignment?

Firestone auto will do the wheel alignemnt for $200 for lifetime and $100 once only. Since my 07 Sentra is 14 yrs old I think or maybe close to it, is it worth getting the lifetime service? Also should I get one procedure done first, or does the order of doing alignment first and then rotation or balance not matter?

It is your money but just how often do you need an alighnment if you even need one now .

With all due respect, if the car is already 14 years old, how many more years do you think that you’re going to be driving it? '“Lifetime” alignments are a good value for a car that is far newer, but only you can decide if that type of service agreement is worthwhile on a older car.

I get my wheels aligned when getting new struts, and when/if the steering wheel starts “pulling” to the right or left.

Honestly, it’s been years since I had the “pulling” issue.

You get wheels balanced when you get new tires.

Personally…I hate giving money to anybody for “future” costs that may or may not happen. In the end, all you really know for sure is you’ve given Firestone more money now.


I used to work with a woman who opted (against her husband’s advice) to buy a pre-paid 4 year maintenance agreement on her new car because it was “a bargain”. When she traded the car in less than 2 years later, she/they lost a whole lot of money on that “bargain” maintenance package.

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I personally rotate tires every 5K, which is also the interval for engine oil and filter

Easy number to remember

I don’t bother re-balancing unless I literally feel a problem


If you are a Sam’s Club member, you get lifetime balance, flat repairs and rotations when you buy tires from them for free. No additional cost. Same for Costco and BJ’s.

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My tire dealer recommends 6,000 mile free tire rotations. I do alignment when it appears necessary like after parts are replaced or abnormal tire wear. I have had many cars that never needed an alignment at all.

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I get an alignment every time I get new tires. Some people here will tell you not to get an alignment until you see abnormal tire wear, but by then you’ve reduced the life of one or more tires, which will cost you money. Given that my alignment is usually somewhat out-of-spec by that point, it certainly seems to me that it was needed.


Rotate tires each oil change…so you only have to go to the shop once.

Alignment with new tires, when the car won’t drive straight on a level road or after you whacked a curb (be honest with yourself when you DO whack that curb)

Re balance tires when you feel a vibration at highway speeds.

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I’ve taken one vehicle in for an alignment in my lifetime. 1979 Jeep CJ5- took it in for an alignment after I installed a 4” suspension lift in my buddy’s shop. The alignment guy said everything looks good and didn’t charge me anything. I guess I figured if that thing didn’t need an alignment, nothing else would!

I’d get an alignment if I let go of the wheel and it pulled…but everything I’ve owned has driven pretty straight, tires wear relatively even, etc. Also I’d definitely get an alignment if you change suspension parts. Apparently a leaf spring lift with new bushings installed on a 20 year old (at the time) 4wd, it’s not needed though :thinking:.

My brother worked in a shop part time where the owner used to say, “set the toe, let her go, collect the dough.” $80-$100 :frowning:

I haven’t always followed this advice, but here it is: rotate the tires every 5,000 miles or twice a year; for me, that’s in spring when I put on the Honda’s summer tires and in fall when I put on the winter tires. That car needed an alignment soon after I bought it new in 1999, and again after a collision and new steering knuckle in 2017. Never needed any other alignments. Even tire wear year after year after year.

I did not follow this interval for my minivan that has all season tires. The tires wore unevenly on the minivan. I recently had new struts, shocks, links, etc. and of course alignment, and new tires, too. I will be more vigilant about rotation on the minivan from now on, to equalize wear and get more life out of the new tires.

If your tires are wearing evenly and the car does not pull to one side, an alignment is probably not needed and, if not done expertly, may mess up a good thing.

National chainns love to sell “lifetime” alignments. They keep you coming back to be sold more and more "repairs for things that may not need fixing.

A friend of mine was a cost accountant at the local Chevrolet plant. I usually bought a “program” car. ,one a year old that had been driven by a company executive. After he had his 72 Chevy for 2 years, ut needed tires.

He went to a Firestone store, got new tires and was sold a lifetime alignment. They recommended he come back after 6 months foe an alignment check. When he did, they gave him a whole list of things that needed to be replaced before they could do the alignment.

He told them he would have to bring the car back because he did not have time to leave it long enough to get the work done.

He called me and asked me what I thought about it. I called n=my mechanic and told him the story. He gave my friend an appointment for his wife to bring the car in with the Firestone estimate. My mechanic checked it over and said, absolutely nothing on that list needs doing and it is all overprice besides.

My mechanic refused to charge her and said, just bring the car to me if you need anything fixed. He gained a customer for life and my friend never went back to Firestone. They got to keep the extra money for the lifetime alignment though.


What if I drive like only close to 3000 miles a year?

What if I do run across a lot of pot holes and curbs? lol. I take it only matters if you feel issues?

You are making this way too difficult. Your oil changes are at xxxx miles or xx months . Just rotate the tire every other oil change . That is better then a lot of people do .


sounds more like you dont know…

Why would you trust the word of any entity other than the folks who engineered your car?

Your Owner’s Manual (or a separate Maintenance Schedule booklet) will give you both the “normal” schedule for maintenance and the “severe service” maintenance schedule, as well as a description of what constitutes Severe Service. Both types of maintenance schedules will specify…

You can fill in the blanks after opening the appropriate booklet and seeing what it states.

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can you show me where that is? I’m having a hard time finding it