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Alignment Problems: Need Your Opinions


mikecost
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'02 ES 300 88,000 miles with new tires, discs, pads, calipers and recent alignment and balanced performed. A Firestone dealer balanced the tires, but I'm still getting some steering wheel shimmy at 70-80 mph. Any ideas?

They said "so don't drive 80 mph" which is of course an unexceptable answer. The wheels balance at 55 mph, so do I need to find a service that will do high speed balancing? By the way, they also checked for any loose front end parts and could not find anything loose.

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Were the wheels balanced and ran true at 80mph before the work was done?

If so, then you need to have them redo it. Or better yet, find a reputable shop that has a Hunter Road Force Balancing machine and a tech that knows how to use it properly. Have the tire rebalanced on this type of machine. Also have the alignment redone. Get printouts of the before and after specifications. If any of the before settings are "out of spec." then take them and the bill to Firestone and ask to be reimbursed for the service that corrected the Firstone induced problem. Threaten small claims court if you have to.

Don't drive 80mph is a poor excuse for a solution. This just goes to show you why I don't take my car to Firestone.

steviej

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You're definitely going to want to check that one or more of your tires aren't running out of true. This is very common. On one car, they called me up to the counter while the tires were getting put on and they said, "One of your wheels is bent."

What!? I went out into the garage to see and they spun it up. I pointed out that the tire was out of true. The wheel was fine. They put a different one on it. All good.

If one or more of your tires isn't running true, they need to put a new one on it. That's a defective tire. It can balance perfectly but you'll never get the shimmy out of it.

Get the front end on a jack and carefully and safely put it in drive and check them. The rears are tougher. If you get friend to start spinning each one by hand, you can look from the back and tell that way. Good to know before you go in there swingin'. ;)

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