How important is alignment?

ginjjFebruary 8, 2010

I drive (and love) a 1982 Volvo DL wagon. I just had two new tires put on at Wheel Works. My tires do not seem to last more than 4 years with very little mileage. (I rent cars for trips.) I don't remember making alignment part of my yearly maintenance.

Wheel Works said they couldn't align it for me because I need new tie rods to the tune of $224.

I have noticed since the tires were put on a few days ago, that when on the freeway driving at 60 mph I feel as if I'm being pushed from the right side.

I'll go back to WW today to see about the pushing feeling I'm getting but wonder if it's imparative that I do the tie rods and alignment now.

It's interesting that the pushing feeling wasn't there before the two new tires.



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You have just answered your own questions. Wipe out a set of tires in 4 years with " very little mileage ". You don't want to replace tie rod ends ! I hope your car and LIFE insurance are payed up. You feel the " pushing feeling " from the new tires because they are trying to
run in a straight line. your old tires were worn to compensate for bad front end parts. That just amazes me. I
maintain my vehicles religiously and you get away with cheating death or causing a serious accident involving another vehicle or pedestrians because of lack of vehical
maintenance and don't want to spend money. When you hit a patch of ice or water covered road your pushing feeling
could and probably will push you right off the road. Lets hope it's into a ditch or tree and not into on coming traffic. Fix the car or keep renting which ever you feel is cheaper.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 4:06PM
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I take my car into my Volvo mechanic for oil changes every 3 months and do whatever service he recommends. I have been getting my tires at a tire shop, Wheel Works, and it was in dealing with them that I let the alignment slip. I think that is the only place where I haven't kept up with recommended maintenance.

Even though you sounded a bit harsh, I do appreciate the reminder.


    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 10:53PM
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I do come across harsh at times. A car is a 4000 lb. projectile and if not driven every day some time things can get over looked. My front caliper slides seized on my car from sitting only 2 months. Sounded just like a bad
wheel bearing. If you like the car and lose track of maintanance keep a little book with the mileage and what was done and what should be done in the future. Loose tie
rod ends will stop a proper front end alignment and still be drivable but don't leave it long enough that they fall off in traffic. Your first hint will be excessive ware on
the outer or inner side of the tires. There is also steering wheel shake,wondering, or "snakey" steering but that is just when the tie rod ends are about to fall off.
Let's hope it never gets that far. Good luck

    Bookmark   February 10, 2010 at 12:40PM
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you have a 28yr old car. who knows what parts are wore out on the suspension? worn struts, tie-rods, ball-joints, sway bar bushings. so many parts to monitor.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2010 at 6:29PM
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ginny---just my 2 cents---Volvos are great cars---especially those old 240's!!!

Might be expensive, but if you like your car, go ahead and get it checked out and fixed right.

If you have a trusted mechanic in town, use him!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 9:03PM
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pet peeve. people take the time to ask questions and than never return to update us. is car fixed? did mechanic find other issues? did owner run into tree and die? who knows?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 11:47AM
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Sorry Joe, you are right, we have concerns, we ask for help, and then forget to go back and say thank you again and give an update. I'll work on that as I so much appreciate all the help I get through GardenWeb!!

I did get the alignment done and the inner tie rods. I actually had the alignment done a second time because the car still swayed on the freeway. With the alignment finally right (so they say) the car still sways on the freeway. I'm told it is because the front struts are leaking.

That's my current concern. That will cost me $800. The guy at the tire shop said driving with this leak isn't dangerous but I wonder. The car is still swaying whenever I'm on the freeway driving 55 mph.

I've spent $1,500 in the past 6 weeks. I don't easily have the $800 to do the struts but if I shouldn't be on the freeway I'll have to do something.

Every time I spend a lot on this car I wonder if it's time to let it go.

Thanks again to all of you for your advice.


    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 6:46PM
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I've had a 79 Toyota P/U since 1984.

For about 20 years it pulled to the left inspite of 3 "PROFESSIONAL" alignments. Difrunt outfits. Finally in complete disgust I cranked both wheels to the right and would you believe it? It runs straight down the road. A bit squirly on a hard stop but I'm used to it. I feel no vibes in the steering wheel.

I just love that old thing. Right now there are about 7 problems. 6 too many. It's parked. Last summer it had 1 problem.

Today I bought a Ranger Supercab. XLT. Now I have NO problems.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 11:46PM
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