Wheel Alignment - 2007 Lexus ES350

I need a wheel alignment on my 2007 Lexus ES350. The nearest, and only, Lexus dealer in Maine is about 180 miles from my home (7-8 hour round trip). I went to my local Subaru dealer (where I get my 2004 Subaru Baja serviced) to see if they could align this vehicle. They checked on their alignment computer and it indicated that some special tool was required to perform proper wheel alignment (I believe that it had something to do with resetting a wheel angle sensor). Although they would have loved some more of my business, they didn’t want to provide incomplete service and suggested that I take it to the local Toyota dealer (Downeast Toyota…only 45 miles away in Brewer, ME.). This is a large dealer who has a very mixed reputation for both sales and service. I tried calling them, but half way through the conversation was “disconnected”. It’s located on the way to Bangor, so I stopped there the next time I was driving by, to see if they could explain the special tool requirement. They had no idea what I was talking about…although one guy said he seemed to remember something, but wasn’t sure. My questions:

Do you have any idea about what this special tool is?

Do I really need to go to a Lexus dealer to get an alignment, or should I just take it to Toyota and trust that they know what they’re doing?

I suggest you skip auto dealers all together and find an independent shop that specializes in wheel alignment. They should have the necessary equipment to align just about any vehicle.

Dealers do alignments as a side business. Alignment shops do it for a living, and they are the experts.

I second mcparadise’s good suggestion, but I want to add a question for stealthvader:

Are you aware that your Lexus ES is mechanically identical to a Toyota Camry?
That knowledge may come in handy in the future when it comes to other maintenance and repair issues.

Yes…I know that they’re similar…don’t know if they’re 100% “identical”. Also…in this area there isn’t a good front end shop, and most privately run repair shops aren’t very good. The Subaru dealer does a great job; they stand behind any repairs they perform; they don’t rip folks off; and they probably do a minimum of 6 alignments every day (the roads up here in this part of Maine are like driving around tank traps). Their service manager previously was the S.M. for a Mercedes Benz dealer (until he relocated to this area) and has a lot of experience with higher end cars. He said that he could do the mechanical alignment, but, should the wheel angle sensor need to be reset (which might not be required), they don’t have whatever Lexus/Toyota scan tool you need to do the reset. That’s why he recommended going to Toyota.