I have my tires rotated every six months and at that time I have the wheels balanced too. I was wondering, would it be reasonable to pay to have an alignment done at that time too?
It’s totally unnecessary. Having the alignment checked about every 40-50k miles (or more often if the car has hit a lot of potholes or curbs) is a good idea though.
When the mileage gets up there a bit suspension componenents should be inspected for wear when an alignment is performed and a good alignment tech will do this during the alignment.
Align your car when you get new tires-not when you rotate them. Also, balancing is not required either during rotation.
Tire rotation every 6 months is a good thing!
However, re-balancing the tires each time that they are rotated may or may not be necessary. I have occasionally had to have a tire re-balanced, but generally speaking, it is not necessary as a routine procedure when a rotation is done.
As for alignment every six months, that is really overkill. Even if you have unusually bad roads in your area, I believe that it should not be necessary to routinely do an alignment that often. If you begin to notice an uneven wear pattern on your tires, or if the car begins to wander, or if your handling deteriorates, or if you hit a curb, I would suggest that you have your alignment corrected, but as a routine procedure every six months, I believe that you are wasting your money.
Unless there is some indication (like strange tyre wear) there is no need for all those alignments. In fact there is no need for a rebalance unless there is some indication of a need.
Many cars live their entire lifespans without ever needing a realignment.
You can usually tell if your front wheels are misaligned. If all seems well, leave it alone. Some shops manage to misalign wheels that were perfectly aligned when you drove up.
I vote no. Alignments are expensive and seldomly necessary that frequently. If you get free lifetime rotation and balancing (or you pay for it when you buy new tires), go ahead and get them balanced and rotated regularly. If you have to pay for balancing each time, stick with rotation only unless you suspect you have a wheel out of balance. The same goes for alighment. If you have bought a “lifetime alignment,” go ahead and get the alignment checked as often as you want. It will cost nothing. If you have to pay for it, though, it is another story.
Do you drive off-road? Are there a lot of potholes on the roads you use? Do you hit a lot of curbs? If not, you should not need alignment that often.
I assume that your mechanic did not suggest this by the tone of the question. If not, keep him. If he did suggest alignment at every tire rotation, consider looking for another mechanic.