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Question For You Car Mechanics

Old 02-20-06, 04:20 PM
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Question For You Car Mechanics

I'm about to get my tires rotated & balanced but thought might as well get my car aligned as well....I usually do it once a year just for good measure.

My question is does it matter which order I do it in, obviously rotate tires 1st but then should I have it balanced & THEN aligned or aligned & then balanced? To me it would seeem to make more sense to have it balanced & then aligned but what do I know. Thanks
Old 02-20-06, 04:21 PM
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You got the series of events correct.....
Old 02-20-06, 04:38 PM
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why do you get an alignment every year? I keep cars for 3-4 years without 1 alignment. In fact I don't even balance the tires, I just rotate them myself..
Old 02-20-06, 05:28 PM
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It the grand scheme of things, it really dosen't matter what order you perform these tasks.

My personal preference is to have the aligment performed first. This way if there is any unusual wear on the tires, it will help the alignment tech figure out what is going on. If you have odd wear and you shuffle the tires all around and then get it aligned, it may cause confusion for the alignment tech.

Rotate and balance usually happen at the same time, you have to take the tires off to do both.

MAKE 100% certain that the stooopid lug heads at the tire shop torque your lug nuts correctly. Overtight is just as bad as not tight enough. I insist they use a manual torque wrench to tighten mine and I give them the proper torque spec.

All the shops around here love to impact wrench the hell out of the lugs when they tighten them (I would guess 110+ ft-lbs on a lug that requires 79) They have managed to ruin lugs and studs on just about every car I have ever owned.
Old 02-20-06, 05:50 PM
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Yep, impact wrenches destory studs and lugs. I've had them ruin an entire set on my Jeep even after I told them impact wrenches screw up the chrome cover over the real lug.
Old 02-21-06, 01:28 AM
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Originally Posted by ANDREMIKE
why do you get an alignment every year? I keep cars for 3-4 years without 1 alignment. In fact I don't even balance the tires, I just rotate them myself..

well partly is for a peace of mind....a few years ago firestone was having this promotion where they offered lifetime alignments for 100 bucks for your car so I did it figuring if i only do it twice it's paid for....& I plan on keepinig my car until it dies....& just so I know everythings lined up straight & all considering how many bumps & pot holes a car goes through yearly, I figured it's not a bad thing to do
Old 02-21-06, 01:30 AM
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Originally Posted by 4KRG
It the grand scheme of things, it ...................I insist they use a manual torque wrench to tighten mine and I give them the proper torque spec.
I bet they just LOVVVVVVVVVVE you when you come around.... but good advice
Old 02-21-06, 09:44 AM
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Phatboy - the lifetime alignment deal is good, beware of add-on sales everytime you go in for an alignment. This is a lost leader so the shop can find other things that need done to your car.


Originally Posted by phatboy
I bet they just LOVVVVVVVVVVE you when you come around.... but good advice
Oh, yeah, they fucking hate me because I happen to know more about their job than they do.

You think they would be glad I can tell them the torque spec so they don't have to look it up, doh, that's right, they never look it up anyway, just impact wrench away until they run out of air.

The last time a shop rotated the tires on my wifes car (I sent her there to get a nail removed and the hole hot patched, they suggested the rotate and balance because it was free) they put the lug nuts on so tight, I had to get a 2 foot long breaker bar to move the lug and I almost poped a nut doing it. If my wife were on the side of the road with a flat, no way in hell she would ever get the lugs off (and yes she knows how to change a tire).
Old 02-21-06, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by phatboy
well partly is for a peace of mind....a few years ago firestone was having this promotion where they offered lifetime alignments for 100 bucks for your car so I did it figuring if i only do it twice it's paid for....& I plan on keepinig my car until it dies....& just so I know everythings lined up straight & all considering how many bumps & pot holes a car goes through yearly, I figured it's not a bad thing to do
I did the lifetime alignment on my car about three years / 30,000 miles ago - at the time I needed an alignment because a girl had just hit my car on the rear tire/quarter panel.

But as it turns out, I haven't actually been back for an alignment since I get my tires at a different place, thus I get the rotations done at the other place. Plus I haven't needed an alignment (car drives straight even if I'm not touching the steering wheel, no unusual wear patterns on the tires).

...The last time a shop rotated the tires on my wifes car (I sent her there to get a nail removed and the hole hot patched, they suggested the rotate and balance because it was free) they put the lug nuts on so tight, I had to get a 2 foot long breaker bar to move the lug and I almost poped a nut doing it...
So you almost popped a nut while changing the tire?

Last edited by Heat; 02-21-06 at 10:10 AM.
Old 02-21-06, 10:21 AM
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I just want to add my support of the idea that you don't need alignments done on any time frame basis, or tire balancing for that matter.

If you tires are out of balance, you'll definitely feel it. There will be a slight to heavy vibration that acts in correspondance to vehicle speed. If you don't feel vibration when you are on the freeway, then your tires are balanced. The only way for them to become un-balanced is to hit something, dislodging a wheel weight, or by flat spotting your tires.

As for alignments, if you car doesn't pull to one side on a flat road (make sure the road is not crowned as that will make your car pull) and you don't see unusual tire wear, there is no need to have an alignment done. Cars don't typically come out of alignement unless you hit a curb or large object. I drove my 98 Integra 90k miles without ever needing or having done an alignment, and I drove that car at 8/10th's of it's abilities on a daily basis.
Old 02-21-06, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Heat
So you almost popped a nut while changing the tire?
an expression meaning I was putting so much force through the breaker bar I almost gave myself a groin pull or hernia (popped a nut). An extrodinary amount of effort through a 2ft breaker bar, BARLEY moved the lug nut.

on my old car, Costco in their infinite wisdom with the impact wrench cross threaded 2 lugs on one wheel, and one on another. They suck too.
Old 02-21-06, 11:35 PM
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Originally Posted by 4KRG
an expression meaning I was putting so much force through the breaker bar I almost gave myself a groin pull or hernia (popped a nut)...
Sure...

"Popping a nut" or "Blowing a nut" is slang for ejaculation where I come from.

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