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Topic # 123295 2-Jul-2013 16:26
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Someone bought some tyres some time ago now.  Took it back for a free puncture repair and was told that one of the front tyre had some side wear.  I rang around to get a bit of info, the two I rang said at the time of tyre purchase if there is a need of a wheel alignment it's a additional fee.  I'm just a bit worried b/c the car I drive, had a bit of side wearing on a front tyre, they were more or less about the same general wear so we replaced all (4) can we assume that a wheel alignment was done?

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  Reply # 848317 2-Jul-2013 16:29
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Not unless they charged you for it.

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  Reply # 848322 2-Jul-2013 16:34
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Not at all, if they do it for nothing that's awesome service.

Most places I have had tires done charge you, but they balance wheels for nothing.

Only time I got a free alignment was when I had to buy 4 new ones - which was expensive.

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  Reply # 848324 2-Jul-2013 16:45
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Wheel alignment is never free - it's a cash cow for tyre places because it's something you do need to be done semi frequently.

If you didn't request or when you got new tyres it's highly unlikely one was done.

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  Reply # 848329 2-Jul-2013 16:57
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Tyre balancing is usually included with new tyres in my experience but not an alignment.

Most places sell a wheel alignment as a separate service, usually they would highly recommend you get one when putting on new tyres and you often get a discount off the full price when getting one with new tyres.

If you have side wear it's probably worth getting an alignment done

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  Reply # 848348 2-Jul-2013 17:31
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In a way I do wonder why some don't offer free alignments as a point of difference, to sell tyres. Isn't wheel alignment largely just a service, so no raw materials are being used?
Maybe they sell tyres at a low margin, to then upsell alignments, which is where they make their money from. I am always upsold a wheel alignment when I buy a new tyre.

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  Reply # 848371 2-Jul-2013 18:09
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mattwnz: Isn't wheel alignment largely just a service, so no raw materials are being used?


Yes, but to get a good wheel alignment means a well trained and experienced staff member, using good quality and expensive equipment. It's fairly precise, and you need to have an understanding of the effect of each adjustment on all the other settings. Having said that, computer guided gear should step the operator through the right adjustments in the right order...

It's also not a 5 minute job, probably taking more time than mounting and balancing 4 tyres, so it's more of a service in it's own right, rather than a free add-on. Offering at a discounted rate with tyre purchase may be a good idea, but often people just want the cheapest possible service, rather than paying for something which will save money in the long run.

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  Reply # 848375 2-Jul-2013 18:22
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RunningMan:
mattwnz: Isn't wheel alignment largely just a service, so no raw materials are being used?


Yes, but to get a good wheel alignment means a well trained and experienced staff member, using good quality and expensive equipment. It's fairly precise, and you need to have an understanding of the effect of each adjustment on all the other settings. Having said that, computer guided gear should step the operator through the right adjustments in the right order...

It's also not a 5 minute job, probably taking more time than mounting and balancing 4 tyres, so it's more of a service in it's own right, rather than a free add-on. Offering at a discounted rate with tyre purchase may be a good idea, but often people just want the cheapest possible service, rather than paying for something which will save money in the long run.


I often get it done at the time I replace tyres, and it costs about $60, possibly a special price. Not too bad as I have heard that some cost $100.

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  Reply # 848395 2-Jul-2013 19:19
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mattwnz: In a way I do wonder why some don't offer free alignments as a point of difference, to sell tyres. Isn't wheel alignment largely just a service, so no raw materials are being used?
Maybe they sell tyres at a low margin, to then upsell alignments, which is where they make their money from. I am always upsold a wheel alignment when I buy a new tyre.


The way tyres are sold these days, with one place price matching another, there is virtually no money in selling tyres. hasn't been for about 20 years. The ONLY way they make money is buying in bulk, turnover and alignments. 
I spent some years in the business in the 90's and it was cut-throat then... now it's even worse as you can just google a tyre place and they'll try and beat the price.

And yes, alignments are a trained position (the guy will be trained & paid more than a tyre fitter) and a proper 4 wheel alignment will run you over $100. If you're paying less than $60 you're getting one of two things.... a bargain, or a really crappy toe adjustment.
I recently spent $35 on one, but that was after full steering parts replacement, and I knew what I was getting (by eye and years of doing alignments, I was only out 2mm on one side). That said, the car is going for a proper alignment in the next week or so.

Again, yes, you should always have an alignment when you buy front tyres (always buy in pairs) as parts wear and move, and wear and move even quicker if one is not done. If not, you're ripping yourself off by getting half the life out of tyres, not to mention wearing out steering parts.

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  Reply # 848614 3-Jul-2013 10:33
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Ragnor: Tyre balancing is usually included with new tyres in my experience but not an alignment.

Most places sell a wheel alignment as a separate service, usually they would highly recommend you get one when putting on new tyres and you often get a discount off the full price when getting one with new tyres.

If you have side wear it's probably worth getting an alignment done


If you have side wear then it's too late to get an alignment. It needs to be done before there is significant wear on one side, otherwise you'll just make things worse. Use the tyre till it's no longer safe then replace it, then get an alignment.




 

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  Reply # 848630 3-Jul-2013 11:02
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The thing that bothers me most with alignment services is which car they pick for the settings... let me give you an example.

Toyota Blade... basically a toyota corolla from the same era with a couple of small changes aesthetically.

Most of the alignment machines don't have a profile for a blade loaded (as it's a JDM model) - so they use a 'generic' profile...

The alignment is done, and you can be sure that from left to right, the settings are balanced.... but is it correct for your car type? doubtful.

Also Newer toyota caldinas 2002 onwards, they tend to use the 1997-2002 profile as most machines don't have the newer profile.... totally and utterly different geometry.

Anyone know a good place to go in Auckland that won't just assume they have an okay profile loaded?

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  Reply # 848673 3-Jul-2013 12:06
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A good tyre outlet / garage will always give you a windscreen sticker and/or the wheel alignment report.
If they lack sales skills they simply wont ask you to pay for an additional wheel alignment... IMHO everyone should get a wheel alignment when getting new tyres (espcially a new set of 4). Balancing is obviously standard.

A lot of tyre outlets have offers for wheel alignments. If you shop around they will offer these for free sometimes... (but of course its built into the margin of the tyres).

The tyre business is very competitive... a bit of dilligence can go a long way.
Just be wary of imported tyres that may not be suitable for all general roading conditions.


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