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Tire wear on an AWD vehicle

The discussion on tire cupping leads me to this question: I have a 1.5 year old Forester. I have rotated the tires twice now, and each time I notice some excessive tire noise after the rotation, for the next hundred miles or so. The tires look OK. Is this a sign that I need alignment? That is, the rotation is equalizing some uneven wear due to a misalignment?

Most likely it is a sign that an alignment is needed.
But…why guess?
Why not just take it to an alignment shop for a check of the alignment–both front and rear?

which I will do, thanks. Wonder if it’s worth trying to get the dealer to pay for it?

After 1.5 years?
Very, very doubtful.
I have been successful in getting gratis wheel alignment during the first 3 or 4 months of ownership, but I really doubt if any warranty is going to pick up the cost of alignment after the passage of a year or more.

The warranty is supposed to cover defects in materials or workmanship, and after the passage of more than a year, the probability of hitting pot holes or curbs is something that would almost surely exempt the manufacturer from any liability for bad alignment.

That was my thought also. thanks.

I’m curious.
If the OP says the tire wear looks fine, what is the motivation for suggesting an alignment is needed?

The tire noise for the first hundred miles after the tires are rotated.

The tires have some feathering or cupping,which makes a funny racket,till it wears off thats one reason you rotate tires, to compensate for slight misalignment and equalize tire wear,it is very common on 4 wd vehicles.
The way you describe it ,I dont think it warrants alignment .
BTW,most new cars are not factory aligned.

“not factory aligned” ? do you mean it’s just hit or miss? or the dealer does it ?

They put them together and hope for the best ,some dealers dont even have an alignment rack in the shop .

They put them together and hope for the best

I would expect manufacturers to have some sort of quality control on their assembly line process to ensure that vehicles are shipping with proper wheel alignment.

Is there something different happening?

“BTW, most new cars are not factory aligned.”

Where do people come up with this kind of stuff?

Not only do they do a wheel alignment at the factory, they also align the headlights!


I’ve watched the tech do an alignment under a brand new Corvette as the car was run up on rollers to 50 mph! The cars get a dynamic alignment for toe at both ends and a check for cater-pulls after a static camber check.

Net-build alignment cars have the cars jigged before welding to insure accuracy or even pierce the control arm mounting holes after welding to insure proper alignment when built.

Good,I am glad they do,someone else claimed they didnt,I would think that with modern manufacturing techniques things would be pretty close right off the assembly line,Have seen a good many new ones that were not. If its on wikipedia it has to be true,I stand corrected(maybe that was a foreign factory this person was referring to.
On the headlight business,looks like properly aligned body panels and lamp holder would get you into the ballpark,I know on my wifes fairly new Civic when you hit the high beams you illuminate the treetops with no benefit for your driving.(glad they dont have do all this alignment stuff on other mass produced things)
All I can say is GIGO.

Some years ago Consumer Reports did a compilation of the results of the inspections they do before taking the cars out to test. One of the most common things they found on new cars was out of spec alignment. I like to think manufacturers have gotten better as they’ve improved their processes… but I wouldn’t swear to it.

By the way, perhaps the single most common thing was out-of-spec tire pressures. This one didn’t surprise me at all. Manufacturers ship the vehicles with higher-than-spec pressure and the dealers are supposed to adjust them during delivery prep, but in this study they didn’t do such a great job.

When I picked up my new car last June, and drove it 400 miles, I later found the tires were all about 45 PSI. In fact the TPMS lit up the next day when the temperature was in the 90’s.

I’ve heard that cars crossing the ocean on a boat get the tires blown up to about 50 lb to avoid flat-spotting, and the dealers are supposed to adjust them.
If the car tracks straight down the road with the steering wheel released I wouldn’t bother with alignment.

Not many vehicles cross the oceans anymore.

Most are built right here in the U.S.A./Canada/Mexico


Sometimes dealer prep is non existent,one of my pet peeves is going in the showroom and knowing more about the vehicle then the salesman (plus a salesperson that doesnt like what they sale)

"One of the most common things they found on new cars was out of spec alignment. I like to think manufacturers have gotten better as they've improved their processes...... but I wouldn't swear to it."

I think that they have gotten better. However, the guy who drives the car onto the transporter, and the trucker who drives them off the transporter may not be so careful. I can recall seeing one of those cars hit a curb pretty hard as it was backed-off of the transporter.