Short drive to shop after struts replaced?

After replacing front struts, alignment is essential.

As long as everything is put back together properly, is the only downside that steering might be a little strange, making freeway speeds a bit less safe? Or would even that be undetectable? I’m about 4 miles from the shop, and can avoid freeway easily.

Taken at reasonable city speeds 4 miles is nothing.

Just take your time and glad you asked.

Don’t worry about it. Tire wear is the only issue and 20-50 miles won’t matter much. I recently did my shocks and struts and as careful as I was to mark the old positions, I was way off as well as the steering wheel.(rep tie rod ends too). No problem for a few days before I could get an alignment.

Some vehicles don’t need an alignment after replacing the struts because there’s no camber adjustment.

And some do because there’s a camber adjustment on the struts.

Either slotted holes or eccentric bolts for the adjustment.


Thanks @Beancounter and @bing for confirming my thoughts.

There’s a much better alignment shop – a dedicated frame specialist – about 40 miles away. Based on your responses, I might go for that. Unfortunately, I can’t avoid high speed roads for most of the way.

Flatbed truck is one option. If everything is otherwise solidly installed, can usually get a pretty good assessment of alignment using strings and spirit levels.

Thanks @tester. That’s very helpful.

Some vehicles don’t need an alignment after replacing the struts because there’s no camber adjustment.

I’ll look around for info on camber adjustment for my Sienna.

I just found a good quality video for my specific vehicle and no mention was made about camber adjustment, and I didn’t notice slots resembling those in the clear picture you sent. I didn’t detect eccentric bolts either, but I do think I understand the principle involved.

Just mark the location of the old struts and put the new ones back as close as possible. I use a magic marker, scribe, or even a nail. Not rocket science.

Edit. The bolts themselves are the essentrics, but put the struts where you want them and tighten the bolts and drive to the shop.

OK, thanks!

Most struts don’t have camber adjustment these days from the facrory. It can be added afterwards if needed.

But toe will need to be set after strut replacement. Not dangerous to drive it a little out of spec.


Replacing tie rod ends require an alignment because they effect the toe.


Toyota struts don’t have camber adjustments however special bolts that allow adjustment are available.

The clearance between the stock bolts and the strut/steering knuckle can provide enough movement to change the camber up to 0.3 degrees. The lower ball joint mounting bolt clearance can allow a small amount of camber and caster adjustment.

Anytime the suspension is disassembled, the toe should be corrected, or you may find tire wear 20,000 miles later.

Thank you @Nevada_545. I appreciate your confirmation about camber adjustment.

There was never a question for me about getting the alignment.

What evolved as the key question was how much change in steering I’d experience in driving to the shop for the alignment after replacing the struts. And then, was there any safety issue for traveling a longer distance at higher speed, to the specialty frame and alignment shop I preferred, rather than to the local chain tire store.

For me, having a skilled professional do an alignment periodically is partly to catch any front-end problems that I might not have detected before they become a safety issue. So after replacing struts, I regard alignment as essential.