Are there differences in alignment equip/services

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Mar 28, 2010
Just got 4 new tires for my truck (2009 Chevy 1500 crew cab max trailer package 4x4) and now it's time to get a good alignment job done on it since I had some tire wear issues on the old rubber.

There are well over a dozen shops that can align my truck in my area, tire shops, dealerships etc...

Should I be looking for anything in particular when shopping around for the alignment service? Anything to stay away from?
Yes - there are differences, as far as equipment Hunter is by far the most popular around here and is what I would want to use.

It is far more about the tech than the equipment though. You want somebody that is going to actually do more than "set the toe and let it go". Just because something is "in spec" doesn't mean it is going to drive right or wear tires correctly.

The tech is probably at a bit of a disadvantage since you've changed the tires and he can't see the old ones wear pattern.

You probably have the best chance of getting someone who knows what works best on a Chevy truck at a Chevy/GMC dealer and they are usually competitive on price.

If I were doing it myself on my solid rear axle truck, I would do a thrust angle and set it as close to zero thrust and the "preferred" as I could get it.
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Usually, the newer the equipment, the better. If it's been recently installed you know it has been calibrated and set up properly.

Shops that specialize in alignment and body shops usually have the best techs, besides the dealer. Your truck can be adjusted for all the alignment angles and Hunter has some unique technology for adjusting those front control arms if your camber or caster is out. Anyone can do toe, even monkeys

Look for a shop with a Hunter Hawkeye Elite. Ask about warranty on the alignment. When I worked at Sears in the 90's, we had a 5yr year alignment for just a little more money than the 1-time. You could have it checked and corrected once a year for free.

Oh, yeah...ask for before and after printouts so you can verify the work.
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If the factory method is to use spreader bar or weighed down, most shops besides the dealer won't do it.
Yeah even if it's aligned it may still wear weird if you've got some bushings or tie rods with some play in it that move when going down the road but align fine.
Make sure the machine is clean and not old. Alignment machines need to be recalibrated by a specialist on a regular basis, however, many discount repair shops are too cheap to actually do that.

+1 if your car requires added weight or a toe spreader bar, you need to go to the dealer. Usually this applies to BMW, Audi, and Benz. Maybe a Euro specialist can do this, but I don't know for sure.
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