We frequently get calls requesting a wheel alignment. Before you call and request a wheel alignment ask yourself why? What is happening with your vehicle that you feel that a wheel alignment will solve?
Some of the reasons for wanting an alignment are shaking in the car or steering wheel and the car pulling or veering to the left or right.
Because a wheel alignment can only be performed on a vehicle that has no loose or worn suspension and steering linkages it is critical to do a thorough inspection first.
The last phone conversation requesting a wheel alignment resulted in us doing a Steering/Suspension Inspection. From that we found a severely loose right ball joint and 2 badly worn front tires. Performing a wheel alignment before repairing the ball joint would have been a useless waste of money. Only after replacing the ball joint and the tires would an alignment make any sense.
Have a look at this video to see just what badly worn ball joints and tie rod ends look like: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZH25UunKw8
At our shop, and at any good auto service shop, the first thing that we will do when our client’s have a concern with shaking, shimmying, a bouncy ride, pulling in the steering or noises when going over bumps is a Steering/Suspension Inspection. From there we can accurately assess what is good and what is worn; what is dangerous and what can be serviced later.
Without taking these important first steps, doing an alignment will result in a dissatisfying repair and waste of money.