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Alignment And Suspension

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My car has 122,000 miles, I have decided to try to keep it a few more years. In the past 3 months I had the timing chain, water pump, etc. replaced and want to spend a little more money wisely in up keep. I have two related questions. I recently put on 4 new tires. The old ones lasted approxiamately 35,000 (were rated at 40,000), so generally I feel I got my monies worth. However, I noticed they did not wear evenly (outside of tire had greater wear). I was religious regarding rotation, but less so about pressure. I gather this problem could have been caused by tire pressure or alignment (I live in a big city with many potholes). With the new tires, the car is diving straight with no noticible pulling. Should I get the alignment checked or leave well enough alone? If so, other than a Lexus or Toyota dealer, who does this type of work?

The suspension is a different story. I hear every strange noise (rattles, squeeks, thumps and even a chain sounding noise), mostly when I go over bumps or ride on un-even surfaces. The shocks (if this is what they are called) have never been changed. I am less bothered about every little noise, but I would like to get a better ride. What should I have checked and without spending a ton of money, what parts should I look into getting replaced. Please try to be specific as I know little about cars. Thanks.

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Was it your front or rear tires that had the outside wear? If it were the front then you're probably due for tie rod end (inner and outer) and ball joint inspection. Tire pressure related wear is usually: if pressure too high tire wears in center while outside (both inner and outer) surfaces remain okay, if pressure too low then tire wears on outside surfaces while the center of the tire remains okay.

Only outside wearing suggests either consistent hard cornering or worn suspension parts.

The chain-like sound could suggest that your brake discs are shaking around abit.

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Thanks for information and I will make an appointment for an alignment. Regarding the ride, does it make sense to get the four struts changed? This has never been done on the car. If so, do people usually change the springs at the same time or any other related general maintenance parts?

for $100 an alignment is a valuable investment for gas milage ride quality and saving your tires

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I also would suggest an alignment. Even if it is only .05* off. It gives you a starting point.

Simply how this platform is designed, once it's set, barring any major problems, you can hit large stuff without an alignment problem! I had a friend in a '94 Avalon run over an aluminum ladder on the interstate. Blew the front left tire, but when checking the alignment, it was dead on!

The tires nearly never wear evenly front to back, even when rotated. Tho both Toyota/Lexus recommend 32psi (and Europe 38psi) all around, it is impossible for them to wear evenly. (Less you rotate very often. Say every 3,000 miles.)

The front / rear weight distribution is hideous.

Just look at the tires when they're all set at 32psi. Those fronts look awful!

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