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2 or 4 wheel alignment


nine-tiner

Question

Ok so the Mrs. calls me rather upset today because she had an appointment for an alignment. Front wheel about $70, 4 wheel about $120, then "special shims" total almost $350. The good news is that the dealer was slow getting to actually doing something to it so when the Mrs. got off work and they mentioned they hadn't started, she told them don't bother. Out of pocket cost..for alignment check only. Now for a 2004 PT Cruiser what do you recommend? 2 wheel front only or 4 wheel? My thought is unless the toe-in or toe-out on the rear wheels is excessive why bother they are on a straight axle and act more like a trailer as long as they are "parallel" to the front wheel? is this correct? (isn't it amazing that dealers/garages can advertise one price and then add special parts, shop fees, disposal fees and all of a sudden the cost is 2-3 times the ad)

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dont forget about the camber on the rear thats a tire wear issue also,350 I think thats a little high, but I think it should be done, the cost of tires are really going up next year,

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The way I look at it is if it is front wheel drive, do a 4 wheel alignment, if its rear wheel drive do front wheel alignment, most cases this is true.

As for charging more for the extras, the shops have to. Some shims for these vehicles cost $50 each, and can take over an hour to install and adjust each side. So they cant charge you $79 for an alignment and have it apply to all vehicles. That said, I think there prices seem alittle high, you know what it needs now, call around and get a better price if you dont want to pay this other places high price.

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$120 for a four wheel is about fifty dollars more than I would expect. That being said if you figure about 45 minutes a side to install the shims (1 1/2 hours of labor = ruffly $150). Then $20+ for shims and add tax and shop supllies your right around that three hundred mark.

I haven't installed shims in probably ten years and even when I did install them the specs never came out perfect anyway. Without seeing the spec printout it would be impossible to say if you really needed them or not.

In my experience I would have to say that worn front end parts, toe issues, and tire pressure factor into tire wear way more that camber issues. Must people live without a centered steering wheel, Yes I know its hard to believe for some of you but it is actually supposed to be centered while your driving down the freeway grin.gif, but not to many can live with a pull.

So, unless the specs are way off, adjust the front and call it good!!

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