Paranoid or alignment?!


Old 03-19-02, 02:51 PM
Kathy McN.
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Question Paranoid or alignment?!

I'm wondering if I'm being paranoid about a tire dealership, or if I need an alignment. I have a 99 Saturn SL2. About three weeks ago I purchaed 4 new tires. (I had no pulling at this time, although my right front left tire was low, due to a slow leak.) After driving on my new tires I noticed my car pulling to the right. I went back to the dealership and they swithced the two front tires, and I took it out for a test drive. The car then pulled to the left. The dealership said this indicated a 'tread' defect, and put on a new left front tire. My car now is still pulling to the left. The dealership has said I need an alignment then; they have said they would put on new tires if I wished. I do not want to be unfair to the dealership if I truly need an alignment. I question the validity of the algnment, when the car has pulled to different sides, with rotating the tires. My car has about 47,000 miles on it without an alignment yet. Any insight woul be a great help! Thanks, Kathy
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Old 03-19-02, 03:43 PM
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I would agree with 100%, it is the tires causing the pull.

Keep in mind, your car will always pull to the side with the slope in the road and it is normal..

As for the alignment, how were the last tires wearing? if ok, don't worry about alignment..

Good luck
Old 03-19-02, 04:30 PM
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Easy way to check is cross the front tires again. It may be the front tire they didn't replace causing the problem. I have seen tires pull to the opposite side that they are on(rare, but has happened).
If all 4 tires are the same, it can't be "tread-effect". Different tread patterns of same size can cause leading on the front, hence the "tread-effect" name. What you are probably experiencing is called "radial-pull", centrifigal force of the tire is causing a pulling condition.
Better yet rotate the tires to the back and see what happens. It is possible the store may have gotten a "bad"(technically not a"Firestone-Explorer" bad) batch. Especially if they have the same DOT codes. I have seen this happen, you could rotate and balance all you wanted and it would drive different every time, we even mounted two more sets from the same batch with the same effect. Fixed the problem by switching models of tires.
Now, here is another possible scenario. Alignment is pulling car to left. Lower air pressure in right front counteracts left pull of alignment, making car go straight. You put new tires on with equal air pressure- the pull has surfaced. I have seen a few "alignment" men drop air pressure on vehicles to accomodate their laziness in alignment adjusting. This may be your case. You indicate your "right front left tire" was low. I don't know which tire this is(dual tire setup on front maybe? LOL).
Maybe you just need try a different model of tire.
As far as the alignment goes- it sure wouldn't hurt to have it checked. No tire warranty due to misalignment- could save money in the long run. Struts may be weakening. Have the front end checked for worn balljoints and tie rod ends. Lots of things can happen in 47k miles. This vehicle should have provisions to compensate for road crown on all but the heaviest crowned road and still drive straight. I can't remember at the moment what all adjustments are possible.
Good luck and let us know what happens.

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Old 03-19-02, 05:23 PM
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Ok, so maybe pull to the side that the crown slopes is incorrect, but definitely a slight "drift"


Good advice on the tires though, being a tech myself, I dont think that I can recall putting on brand new tires that caused a pull, but have seen my fair share of tires that caused one and corrected it by replacing them.

I further agree that an alignment is never a bad idea, but I would never reccommend an alignment if the car was wearing the tires evenly.. A little hard to see the tires from here.LOL

Nice post fishpounder...
Old 03-19-02, 08:04 PM
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have the alignment done. just because tires wear evenly does not mean alignment ok.
Old 03-19-02, 11:28 PM
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Wonder where Kathy lives?????
We can't make 47,000 in south Louisiana with out an alignment!
Old 03-20-02, 03:32 AM
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Swap the tires front to back. If the problem goes away, it is wheel and tire related, not alignment related.

You got some good advice from the guys here.
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