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Topic # 223353 25-Sep-2017 13:19
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One of my work mates, who knows a lot more about cars than me, took my car for a drive and mentioned that my wheels need an alignment as it was pulling to the left.

 

I'd probably noticed it a little, but hadn't thought much of it, and I had had an alignment done only a couple of months ago. All 4 four tyres were replaced about a 14 months ago (with an alignment done then as well), and they were rotated at the previous alignment 2 months ago. But on his advice I went and got another alignment done (I went to a different place this time).

 

After the new alignment was done it had made no difference. Looking at the report barely anything had been changed as everything was already within specified ranges (with the exception of the front left caster, which they informed me can't be adjusted on my model of car and that was only 0.08 degrees out of the range).

 

I informed them it was still pulling to the left so they said to bring it back in. When I picked it back up the second time, the person who worked on it wasn't available to tell me what they had adjusted, but it did seem better.

 

I phoned this morning to clarify what the problem had been, and they said that they had swapped the front tyres over. I knew they hadn't done this as I recently had a front tyre puncture repair, and there was still a visible chalk mark indicating the tyres hadn't been swapped over. Then they said they would need to double check what had been done. After that they said that my tyre pressure had been low so they had topped it up. I had inflated the tyres to the recommended 36psi before I took it to them, so I went and checked and found all they had done was stick another 10 psi into the left front tyre (making it 46psi). I'm not happy with having one tyre over inflated like this so I have dropped it back down to 36psi.

 

I'm not quite sure what I should do from here. I don't want these guys to touch it again, but I don't want to throw away good money after bad by taking it somewhere else if the alignment isn't what is causing the problem.

 

It's not pulling super hard to the left, but there is a noticeable drift if you let go of the steering wheel (obviously the greater the road camber the more obvious it is).

 

Also, should I be asking for a refund? On one hand (according to the report) it is mechanically aligned, but on the other hand I feel like they didn't really know what the problem was and so didn't actually fix anything so "cheated" by just over inflating the tyre to compensate.





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  Reply # 1872449 25-Sep-2017 13:24
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Has the vehicle been involved in an accident to a degree that the chassis alignment is compromised? Also do you have matching tyre brands an all axles?





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  Reply # 1872451 25-Sep-2017 13:28
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I can usually take my hands off the wheel and the car will ever so slightly drift across to the left. All my cars been like this. If its doing it within 50m, I'd be slightly concerned.  Could be somehting other than alignment causing it too, such as suspension.

 

 





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  Reply # 1872466 25-Sep-2017 13:52
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MikeB4:

 

Has the vehicle been involved in an accident to a degree that the chassis alignment is compromised? Also do you have matching tyre brands an all axles?

 

 

It's hasn't been involved in any accidents that I am aware of. It's a Japanese import and I am the first NZ owner.

 

All 4 tyres are the same and were replaced at the same time.


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  Reply # 1872472 25-Sep-2017 14:23
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It maybe prudent to get your car  damage inspected. It is a safety issue. If it pulls to the left more than can be expected under normal driving under a heavy breaking situation it could become uncontrollable.





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  Reply # 1872474 25-Sep-2017 14:28
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Manual or Automatic, Front or rear wheel drive?





 

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  Reply # 1872475 25-Sep-2017 14:34
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Did the workshop just align the front wheels or did they perform a full four wheel alignment check.

 

If you car has some degree of chassis misalignment then only the latter will pick it up.

 

A car can suffer from such misalignment without having been in an accident that will have resulted in bodywork damage.

 

Hit a pothole hard enough and you can bend a wheel out of circular. Side-swipe a kerb with a rear wheel and you can move that wheel a few mm towards the centre of the vehicle.

 

 




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  Reply # 1872476 25-Sep-2017 14:38
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pbgben:

 

Manual or Automatic, Front or rear wheel drive?

 

 

Automatic rear wheel drive.




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  Reply # 1872477 25-Sep-2017 14:39
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jpoc:

 

Did the workshop just align the front wheels or did they perform a full four wheel alignment check.

 

If you car has some degree of chassis misalignment then only the latter will pick it up.

 

 

The report shows readings and measurements for both front and rear, so I assume it was the full four.


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  Reply # 1872478 25-Sep-2017 14:41
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Paul1977:

The level of communication from your chosen servicer is not great. That's a problem.

Before the service was there any noticeable unusual wear pattern? That is the best indication of an ongoing issue imo.

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  Reply # 1872479 25-Sep-2017 14:43
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To check your wheel alignment while driving, you need to be on level ground. A road has camber (roundness), so if you're on the left hand side of the road the car will tend to drift left. If you drive along the crest (middle) of the road, then the effect of road camber is nullified. Obviously! only do this if it's safe, where you have plenty of clear road ahead, and there's no traffic (or cops) around.

 

 




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  Reply # 1872480 25-Sep-2017 14:46
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MikeB4:

 

It maybe prudent to get your car  damage inspected. It is a safety issue. If it pulls to the left more than can be expected under normal driving under a heavy breaking situation it could become uncontrollable.

 

 

It's the "more than can be expected" part that I'm unsure about, it may well be within what is considered normal for all I know?

 

After the last alignment (before over inflating the tyre) he said he took it for a quick drive and it felt alright to him.

 

 




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  Reply # 1872481 25-Sep-2017 14:47
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frankv:

 

To check your wheel alignment while driving, you need to be on level ground. A road has camber (roundness), so if you're on the left hand side of the road the car will tend to drift left. If you drive along the crest (middle) of the road, then the effect of road camber is nullified. Obviously! only do this if it's safe, where you have plenty of clear road ahead, and there's no traffic (or cops) around.

 

 

I've done this, and it does still drift to the left. Not nearly as noticeable though.


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  Reply # 1872484 25-Sep-2017 14:52
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This happened to me, I had an alignment and the car pulled left.  Only when I went back, the second alignment tech pointed out that one of the outer tie rod ends had excessive play.

 

You may have some worn suspension or steering part which means no matter how much someone sets the alignment (only the toe, usually) it will be out of alignment.  Uneven caster is a clue IMO.  Get it thoroughly checked by a mechanic.

 

It could also be tires.  Actually swap the front tires and see what happens.




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  Reply # 1872488 25-Sep-2017 14:56
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gzt: The level of communication from your chosen servicer is not great. That's a problem.

Before the service was there any noticeable unusual wear pattern? That is the best indication of an ongoing issue imo.

 

Yes, I won't be using them again.

 

I haven't noticed any unusual wear, but the tyres only have about 10,000km on them. Recently got my WoF and the left and right tread depth was the same.




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  Reply # 1872492 25-Sep-2017 15:08
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ubergeeknz:

 

This happened to me, I had an alignment and the car pulled left.  Only when I went back, the second alignment tech pointed out that one of the outer tie rod ends had excessive play.

 

You may have some worn suspension or steering part which means no matter how much someone sets the alignment (only the toe, usually) it will be out of alignment.  Uneven caster is a clue IMO.  Get it thoroughly checked by a mechanic.

 

It could also be tires.  Actually swap the front tires and see what happens.

 

 

It's due for it's 12 month service at the end of next month, so I'll get the mechanics at Toyota to perform some extra checks on it. In the past they have never found anything wrong, but haven't been specifically looking for anything in particular either.

 

I thought about switching the front tyres, but a bit of a pain as I only have the factory jack to prop up one side at a time.

 

 


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