New tire Vs Wheel alignment on 97 Vette


#1

My 97 Vete Coupe was backed into in a parking lot while one of the front wheels was already against a curb. It was backed into by a full size Lincoln, twice from different angles in the same incident. The body shop ( Chev Dealer), said there was no indication of frame damage, BUT the car pulled hard to the right after the accident,( not having any problem prior to the accident I was doubtful about the dealers statement). So I challenged the Dealer, who then said it was the tires. The Dealer claimed to have aligned it to the most complete specs possible, but to me it still pulled. Then they had a tec ride with me who corrected my description saying it “drifts to the right, but it doesn’t pull”. The alignment tec then again claimed it was the tires. I said I just drove 1,000 miles on route 95 and had no issue with any drifting or pulling . However Since the tires were 5 years old anyway ,and showing some dry rot, I bought new tires from the dealer. It took the dealer a day to mount them, but since then all is well .Do you think the dealer" snowed me" on the alignment the first time.


#2

Based on your first statement, I would also agree your alignment was probably off. The fact that it still pulled or drifted afterwards also points to tire damage from the incident. You most likely needed both an alignment and new tire to fix this.


#3

Did they supply you with a printout of the before and after alignment readings?
Honestly, I’d suspect suspension/steering component damage. I’d take it to an independent chassis shop for an assessment.


#4

+1 for TSM.


#5

" aligned it to the most complete specs possible"

To me, that statement=“we can’t align it exactly to specs because of probable damage to the steering components, but we did the best that we could”.

Even if the new tires seem to have cured the problem, the OP needs to take the car to the best independent alignment shop in the county for an assessment of the condition of the front end. Otherwise, he risks putting bad wear patterns on the new tires.


#6

I’ve found new tires can mask alignment issues, I guess because of the “give” with the deeper tread. Certainly keep an eye on those new tires.


#7

It might help to know what those specs are and I agree with the others on their points.

That “most complete specs possible” comment comes across as using wordplay so as to remain vague.


#8

I’d join the local Corvette club and ask around who folks use for alignments.


#9

There are parts of this story that don’t make sense from a tire perspective.

First, is that one can not damage a tire in such a way that affects the properties that cause pull (or drift - same thing) - UNLESS there is also a new vibration.

Second, drifts and pulls are really different ways of looking at the same phenomenon. One fixes them in the same way.

And it is possible to “fix” a pull by changing tires and that really isn’t a fix at all - just compensating.

So I think there was frame damage. It’s possible to tweak a frame, throw the alignment off enough to cause a pull, then re-align it such that it’s within specs, but the frame is still tweaked.

The first step would be to look at the “after” alignment printout. That would be a clue what to look for.

And consulting with Corvette forums is a good idea.