Where to go for alignment

Hello and thank you in advance for your feedback.

My 2003 buick century was going about 65 mph when it hit one of those big semi tires. (It was dark on an unlit highway.) It felt like the left side of the car went up about a foot (maybe less).

I continued to drive with no discernible effects other than a renewed love of life.

Should I have the alignment inspected?

If so, is the dealer or an alignment specialist better?

Should i tell the mechanic what happened or will that give them license to look for more money making repairs?

The car has been driven for over 2000 miles since the incident.

thanks to you all. - steve

I think I would get it inspected, even though you have not seen any problems. I prefer to use my trusted mechanic for an overall inspection. Mine contracts out alignments to an alignment shop, so my second choice would be an alignment specialist. Dealer comes in last, primarily due to cost. If you don’t want to go into detail about potential problems, then just say you ran over pieces of a tractor trailer tire and want to know if everything is OK. You are not obligated to pay for anything other than the inspection. Take the report and tell them you need to consider it before you make any final decisions. You can then shop around if you want, to determine if the work quoted is a reasonable one.

Some folks here are big on alignment. I am one of those who is not. As long as your car tracks OK, does not pull to one side, I say forget about alignment.

This does not mean your wheels have perfect alignment. Sometimes there can be minor misalignment that does not affect your car’s handling, but might affect tire wear. Still, my recommendation is that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix.

If you choose to align, select an alignment specialist. Tell him you are not experiencing any problems. Resist any attempt to sell you anything other than alignment, which may even indeed be totally unnecessary.

If there is a misalignment due to impact, uneven tire wear will be visible by now for that wheel. Still, regardless, I would have a good shop inspect the front end and re-align the wheels. If there is damage, it should be covered by your insurance.

I would find a real alignment shop, not a tire store, and have them take a good look at the front end components to make sure nothing was bent/damaged. I agree that you can file an insurance claim if you find damage. Might as well have the alignment checked anyway, it’s cheap and it might increase you tire life and improve your handling. I usually have mine checked when I replace tires anyway (about 1 year/40K miles, in my case).