Alignment Service Tips
1. Don’t neglect the importance of the pre-alignment inspection. The more thorough the pre-alignment inspection, the better your chances are of not overlooking something that might cause a comeback after the wheels have been aligned, such as tire inflation. Even the most precisely aligned toe angle will still pull if the tire pressures are not even. Some drive-on lifts include an inflation station at each wheel so the pressures can be adjusted automatically.
2: Don’t forget to reset the steering position sensor.
In order for some stability control systems to function, the steering position sensor must be recalibrated after the toe or thrust angle is changed. Some vehicles require that the recalibration be performed through the OBDII port. A scan tool or Hunter’s CodeLink tool can be used to perform vehicle specific calibrations. Hunter has simplified the process with a seamless transition from the final front toe adjustment to the required reset.
3. Do a complete alignment.
Time may be money, but if you have to do a job over again because you skipped things, its going to be costly.
4. Don’t align worn parts.
To hold an accurate alignment, steering and suspension parts must not have too much play in them. As parts wear, they get progressively looser and have a harder time maintaining alignment. The most commonly missed item is the bushing. Bad bushings can be hard to spot, so manufacturers usually publish specifications and testing methods in repair manuals.
5. Read all the angles.
Many front wheel drive vehicles don’t have factory adjustments for camber or caster, but this doesn’t mean that the toe angle is the only thing that needs fixing. These kinds of non-adjustable suspensions can be adjusted with aftermarket alignment products such as shims or wedges.
6. Always set to factory specs.
Alignment settings that work on one vehicle may not work on another, so there are no rule-of-thumb wheel alignment specs. Front wheel drive vehicles usually require different settings than rear wheel drive vehicles. Things such as Vehicle weight, chassis design, chassis loading, tire size, driveline configuration and intended use all affect the factory wheel-alignment settings.
7. Compensate for use.
Vehicles that are often used with a heavy load are going to not sit well if aligned when the vehicle is empty.
8. Align all the wheels.
Four-wheel alignment has become much more commonplace in recent years, but there are still those who won’t align all four wheels because the customer doesn’t want to pay “extra” for a four-wheel alignment. Having the rear wheels aligned properly is just as important as the fronts.
9. Check the alignment before the customer asks.
It is a fact, the shop who first measures the alignment angles of a vehicle will typically align it. If you can show the customer that they need the alignment, then they will most likely buy it from your shop. Using newer alignment technology makes it faster than ever to measure alignment angles. This can make selling alignments more productive and profitable.
10. Test drive the vehicle.
A test drive can reveal many problems that would be otherwise overlooked. Think of the test drive as a final quality control check.