Who does the best wheel alignments?

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Old 14 Oct 2014, 11:02 pm   #1 (permalink)
micky
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Default Who does the best wheel alignments?

1) After all the damage to my wheels, etc. I figure I should have the
wheels aligned. A toyota.

Who do you think does the best job? A Toyotal dealer, Firestone,
PepBoys, or a gas station with busy service bays who was recommended?

Someone I know and trust also gave a particular guy at Pep Boys a very
high recommendation yesterday.

The dealer is having a sale this month, so it's the same price as
Firestone

I was going to take it to the dealer, because I figured that values that
are always fine on cars that only hit chuck holes etc. might be messed
up on mine, given that I knocked a chunk out of my aluminum wheel. I've
considered the possibility I rotated the entire hub assembly on the
strut, though I can find no evidence that I did that**

But a guy I was reading on the web felt that the mechanics at dealers
are all getting paid acc. to flat rate, and that they rush the job to
make more money.


2) Follow=up on my car. Last Tuesday, I think it was, I finished the
front and just as I was about to take it around the block for a test
drive, a young neighbor says, "You know the rear tire is pointing the
wrong direction!" Actually I hadn't noticed. When I took the tire
off, closer to the center line than to the hub, I saw that on the right
rear tire, the forward locating arm was bent, about 25 degrees!

The part is just a metal rod maybe 7/8" thick with a hole on each end.

How much does Toyota want for the part?


$159, can you believe it? Is that because prices in general have gone
up, or is it because it's a foreign car? And Toyota wanted $210 to put
it on. Firestone said it was a 1.1 hour job and wanted $121 to put it
on. And then 80 for wheel alignment, but I'm not complaining about
that.

There are at least two after-market makers of the part and Advance Auto
sells one for 90 dollars. (The only way you can buy it is Ship to Home)

Before I found that, I tried www.car-part.com and it's a great page.
Check it out. It has a long list of names of parts to search for, the
longest list I've seen, and it has a built in interchange book, so it
offers up others models and years that used the same part. (In my case,
the Avalon and Lexus used the same part, for more than one year.) Many
of them are graded A, B, or C, and it has the name, web address, real
address, email address, and phone number, and distance from the zip code
I entered, of the dealer, and added description of the part, like what
color it is for a body part.

It just tells you what yards have your part, and then you call the yard,
verify that it's the right part, and do all your dealings with the yard,
not with car-part.com. I guess recyclers ;-) and junkyards pay to list
the part, whether it sells or not, since I don't think car-part has any
way to know if the part ever sells. Right?

I found 4 used part outlets not too far from me that I didnt' know
about. Well one I knew about and had tried to find, but there was no
sign on the road and I gave up. Now I have the address and they're on a
side road. $50. He says he has 24 of them. If it rains, I'll pick
it up tomorrow. If it doesn't, I still have work to do at home. So
instead of $369, it will be $50 and 1 or 2 hours of my time to install,.
I know I'm slow, but it's only got two bolts. I don't know how it can
take more than an hour once the car is jacked up and on stands. Of
course it always does take longer than I expect.

After this part is installed, I can return the car I've borrowed
(Fortunately for me, my friend's wife just never drives anymore, so she
has it seems no interest in getting the car back. She says, "whatever my
husband says" )

All it will need is alignment.
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Old 14 Oct 2014, 11:14 pm   #2 (permalink)
Ed Pawlowski
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Default Re: Who does the best wheel alignments?

On 10/15/2014 12:02 AM, micky wrote:
> 1) After all the damage to my wheels, etc. I figure I should have the
> wheels aligned. A toyota.
>
> Who do you think does the best job? A Toyotal dealer, Firestone,
> PepBoys, or a gas station with busy service bays who was recommended?
>
> Someone I know and trust also gave a particular guy at Pep Boys a very
> high recommendation yesterday.
>
> The dealer is having a sale this month, so it's the same price as
> Firestone


Dealers tend to do good work, but at the highst prices.

The chain stores are a crap shoot. You my get a good guy, you may get
the janitor.

We have a local tire shop that is good. Ask around and see if you can
find a similar place.

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Old 15 Oct 2014, 12:05 am   #3 (permalink)
RobertMacy
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Default Re: Who does the best wheel alignments?

On Tue, 14 Oct 2014 21:02:21 -0700, micky <NONONOmisc07@bigfoot.com> wrote:

> 1) After all the damage to my wheels, etc. I figure I should have the
> wheels aligned. A toyota.
>
> ...snip...



don't know about the toyota car, but I once hit a deer in Colorado going
about 65mph [me, not the deer] hit the brakes enough to get the car speed
down to ?? maybe 45 before impact, plus the screeching tires spooked the
deer so he tried to change direction and fell under the car. Else very
likely would have come up over the hood and ended up in wife's lap. Impact
was LOUD! Car even lurched up going over.

The car drove a bit wonky after that, so went to several places for an
alignment, One place even commented about, boy this adjustment is waaay
over. No idea what he meant, but drove a bit better, but still drove
wonky. Finally at a 'generic' gas station service bin I was telling the
guy about the impact and how car drives wonky and won't 'hold alignment.
He went over to the hood, pushed down on the right fender [impact side]
went over to left fender pushed down. He then put it up on the rack and
pulled a broken shock out of the right side, suggested I change both, only
because HE found the true problem, I rewarded him with purchasing two
shocks. He undid the chain alignment's efforts and set up the front. After
that it drove just as well as before. So the WHOLE problem was that the
shock had lost ALL drag. It was like not having a shock in there. Learned
a lot from that experience. Just share, because *if* you hit something AND
you have shocks, you may have killed one shock and can no longer be able
to get the front end back to what it should be. No matter how much you
work on adjustments.
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Old 15 Oct 2014, 12:14 am   #4 (permalink)
micky
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Default Re: Who does the best wheel alignments?

On Tue, 14 Oct 2014 22:05:28 -0700, RobertMacy <robert.a.macy@gmail.com>
wrote:

>On Tue, 14 Oct 2014 21:02:21 -0700, micky <NONONOmisc07@bigfoot.com> wrote:
>
>> 1) After all the damage to my wheels, etc. I figure I should have the
>> wheels aligned. A toyota.
>>
>> ...snip...

>
>
>don't know about the toyota car, but I once hit a deer in Colorado going
>about 65mph [me, not the deer] hit the brakes enough to get the car speed
>down to ?? maybe 45 before impact, plus the screeching tires spooked the
>deer so he tried to change direction and fell under the car. Else very
>likely would have come up over the hood and ended up in wife's lap. Impact
>was LOUD! Car even lurched up going over.
>
>The car drove a bit wonky after that, so went to several places for an
>alignment, One place even commented about, boy this adjustment is waaay
>over. No idea what he meant, but drove a bit better, but still drove
>wonky. Finally at a 'generic' gas station service bin I was telling the
>guy about the impact and how car drives wonky and won't 'hold alignment.
>He went over to the hood, pushed down on the right fender [impact side]
>went over to left fender pushed down. He then put it up on the rack and
>pulled a broken shock out of the right side, suggested I change both, only
>because HE found the true problem, I rewarded him with purchasing two
>shocks. He undid the chain alignment's efforts and set up the front. After
>that it drove just as well as before. So the WHOLE problem was that the
>shock had lost ALL drag. It was like not having a shock in there. Learned
>a lot from that experience. Just share, because *if* you hit something AND
>you have shocks, you may have killed one shock and can no longer be able
>to get the front end back to what it should be. No matter how much you
>work on adjustments.


Thanks. I don't think I would have thought of that any more than you
did. So far, I've only driven it about a quarter mile at 20 MPH max.

If I get the part tomorrow, weather is supposed to be good Th. and Fr,
and I hope to start test driving Thursday afternoon.

Yeah, a guy at a gas station could be just as good. I used to have a
gas station that fixed my car and was in walking distance. But he
made 3 mistakes over 2 years and I stopped going to him, and since then,
Shell has torn it down and rebuillt it with no service bays, only a 7-11
type store.
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Old 15 Oct 2014, 12:26 am   #5 (permalink)
RobertMacy
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Default Re: Who does the best wheel alignments?

On Tue, 14 Oct 2014 22:14:00 -0700, micky <NONONOmisc07@bigfoot.com> wrote:

>> ...snip...

> Thanks. I don't think I would have thought of that any more than you
> did. So far, I've only driven it about a quarter mile at 20 MPH max.
>


That was just about the speed where the front end would go into a
'swirling' pattern. Caused not by misalignment but the instability of a
dead shock.

> If I get the part tomorrow, weather is supposed to be good Th. and Fr,
> and I hope to start test driving Thursday afternoon.
>
> Yeah, a guy at a gas station could be just as good. I used to have a
> gas station that fixed my car and was in walking distance. But he
> made 3 mistakes over 2 years and I stopped going to him, and since then,
> Shell has torn it down and rebuillt it with no service bays, only a 7-11
> type store.


I used to have one of those 'local' mechanics. Awesome skill. He could
tighten the license plate bolt and the car would run better. Sure miss
being able to take it to someone with those abilities. He used to say the
problem could be either mechanical, or electrical. Probably not anything
else.
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Old 15 Oct 2014, 06:21 am   #6 (permalink)
Steve W.
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Default Re: Who does the best wheel alignments?

micky wrote:
> 1) After all the damage to my wheels, etc. I figure I should have the
> wheels aligned. A toyota.
>
> Who do you think does the best job? A Toyotal dealer, Firestone,
> PepBoys, or a gas station with busy service bays who was recommended?
>
> Someone I know and trust also gave a particular guy at Pep Boys a very
> high recommendation yesterday.
>
> The dealer is having a sale this month, so it's the same price as
> Firestone
>
> I was going to take it to the dealer, because I figured that values that
> are always fine on cars that only hit chuck holes etc. might be messed
> up on mine, given that I knocked a chunk out of my aluminum wheel. I've
> considered the possibility I rotated the entire hub assembly on the
> strut, though I can find no evidence that I did that**
>
> But a guy I was reading on the web felt that the mechanics at dealers
> are all getting paid acc. to flat rate, and that they rush the job to
> make more money.


In this case I would suggest a dealer. For a couple reasons. One is that
they are familiar with your make of vehicle far more than a chain store,
and as such the tech may notice other damage or issues that you didn't
see. Two is that some vehicles need additional parts if they do need
things moved for an alignment, the dealer will likely have those on hand.
Pretty much ALL techs get paid flat rate these days. So, yes they try to
get things done. BUT if they know how to run the machine and pay
attention it will turn out OK.

Make sure you specify a 4 wheel alignment, that damaged radius rod may
have tweaked other parts in the rear as well. I would check to make sure
that rim isn't bent and that nothing else was damaged.

--
Steve W.
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Old 15 Oct 2014, 12:36 pm   #7 (permalink)
Bob F
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Default Re: Who does the best wheel alignments?

micky wrote:
> 1) After all the damage to my wheels, etc. I figure I should have the
> wheels aligned. A toyota.
>
> Who do you think does the best job? A Toyotal dealer, Firestone,
> PepBoys, or a gas station with busy service bays who was recommended?


I've had excellent results by buying Firestone's "lifetime" alignment. For about
twice the cost of one alignment (less on sale) I never have ot pay to align that
car again.


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Old 15 Oct 2014, 02:17 pm   #8 (permalink)
Scott Dorsey
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Default Re: Who does the best wheel alignments?

micky <NONONOmisc07@bigfoot.com> wrote:
>1) After all the damage to my wheels, etc. I figure I should have the
>wheels aligned. A toyota.
>
>Who do you think does the best job? A Toyotal dealer, Firestone,
>PepBoys, or a gas station with busy service bays who was recommended?


An alignment shop.

Ask your local kid racer where the local alignment shop is.
--scott

--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
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Old 15 Oct 2014, 04:30 pm   #9 (permalink)
clare@snyder.on.ca
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Default Re: Who does the best wheel alignments?

On Wed, 15 Oct 2014 00:02:21 -0400, micky <NONONOmisc07@bigfoot.com>
wrote:

>1) After all the damage to my wheels, etc. I figure I should have the
>wheels aligned. A toyota.
>
>Who do you think does the best job? A Toyotal dealer, Firestone,
>PepBoys, or a gas station with busy service bays who was recommended?
>
>Someone I know and trust also gave a particular guy at Pep Boys a very
>high recommendation yesterday.
>
>The dealer is having a sale this month, so it's the same price as
>Firestone
>
>I was going to take it to the dealer, because I figured that values that
>are always fine on cars that only hit chuck holes etc. might be messed
>up on mine, given that I knocked a chunk out of my aluminum wheel. I've
>considered the possibility I rotated the entire hub assembly on the
>strut, though I can find no evidence that I did that**
>
>But a guy I was reading on the web felt that the mechanics at dealers
>are all getting paid acc. to flat rate, and that they rush the job to
>make more money.
>
>
>2) Follow=up on my car. Last Tuesday, I think it was, I finished the
>front and just as I was about to take it around the block for a test
>drive, a young neighbor says, "You know the rear tire is pointing the
>wrong direction!" Actually I hadn't noticed. When I took the tire
>off, closer to the center line than to the hub, I saw that on the right
>rear tire, the forward locating arm was bent, about 25 degrees!
>
>The part is just a metal rod maybe 7/8" thick with a hole on each end.
>
>How much does Toyota want for the part?
>
>
>$159, can you believe it? Is that because prices in general have gone
>up, or is it because it's a foreign car? And Toyota wanted $210 to put
>it on. Firestone said it was a 1.1 hour job and wanted $121 to put it
>on. And then 80 for wheel alignment, but I'm not complaining about
>that.
>
>There are at least two after-market makers of the part and Advance Auto
>sells one for 90 dollars. (The only way you can buy it is Ship to Home)
>
>Before I found that, I tried www.car-part.com and it's a great page.
>Check it out. It has a long list of names of parts to search for, the
>longest list I've seen, and it has a built in interchange book, so it
>offers up others models and years that used the same part. (In my case,
>the Avalon and Lexus used the same part, for more than one year.) Many
>of them are graded A, B, or C, and it has the name, web address, real
>address, email address, and phone number, and distance from the zip code
>I entered, of the dealer, and added description of the part, like what
>color it is for a body part.
>
>It just tells you what yards have your part, and then you call the yard,
>verify that it's the right part, and do all your dealings with the yard,
>not with car-part.com. I guess recyclers ;-) and junkyards pay to list
>the part, whether it sells or not, since I don't think car-part has any
>way to know if the part ever sells. Right?
>
>I found 4 used part outlets not too far from me that I didnt' know
>about. Well one I knew about and had tried to find, but there was no
>sign on the road and I gave up. Now I have the address and they're on a
>side road. $50. He says he has 24 of them. If it rains, I'll pick
>it up tomorrow. If it doesn't, I still have work to do at home. So
>instead of $369, it will be $50 and 1 or 2 hours of my time to install,.
>I know I'm slow, but it's only got two bolts. I don't know how it can
>take more than an hour once the car is jacked up and on stands. Of
>course it always does take longer than I expect.
>
>After this part is installed, I can return the car I've borrowed
>(Fortunately for me, my friend's wife just never drives anymore, so she
>has it seems no interest in getting the car back. She says, "whatever my
>husband says" )
>
> All it will need is alignment.

You want an alignment specialist. Some dealers have them, most do
not Some tire shops like firestone or PepBoys have someone who knows
alignments inside out and backwards - most do not. In my long
experience in the automotive industry, a small busy shop who does LOTS
of alignments is generally your best bet. The guy does alignments all
day - he does them for local body shops and dealers as well as his own
clients, so he gets really good at it, and the prices are usually VERY
competetive.
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Old 15 Oct 2014, 04:34 pm   #10 (permalink)
clare@snyder.on.ca
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Default Re: Who does the best wheel alignments?

On Tue, 14 Oct 2014 22:26:14 -0700, RobertMacy
<robert.a.macy@gmail.com> wrote:

>On Tue, 14 Oct 2014 22:14:00 -0700, micky <NONONOmisc07@bigfoot.com> wrote:
>
>>> ...snip...

>> Thanks. I don't think I would have thought of that any more than you
>> did. So far, I've only driven it about a quarter mile at 20 MPH max.
>>

>
>That was just about the speed where the front end would go into a
>'swirling' pattern. Caused not by misalignment but the instability of a
>dead shock.
>
>> If I get the part tomorrow, weather is supposed to be good Th. and Fr,
>> and I hope to start test driving Thursday afternoon.
>>
>> Yeah, a guy at a gas station could be just as good. I used to have a
>> gas station that fixed my car and was in walking distance. But he
>> made 3 mistakes over 2 years and I stopped going to him, and since then,
>> Shell has torn it down and rebuillt it with no service bays, only a 7-11
>> type store.

>
>I used to have one of those 'local' mechanics. Awesome skill. He could
>tighten the license plate bolt and the car would run better. Sure miss
>being able to take it to someone with those abilities. He used to say the
>problem could be either mechanical, or electrical. Probably not anything
>else.

In the case of the Toyota, it has strut suspension and other than
bending the strut, having the shock fail from the impact described is
a REAL long shot. Like 1 in 10,000 long shot.
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