Alignment at 30k? - Toyota Sienna Forum - siennachat.com
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 02:06 PM Thread Starter
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Alignment at 30k?

We managed to get 30k out of the first set of run flats on our 2015. My wife just had the 30k tune done a few weeks ago when they recommended new tires.

Our service center has a good reputation, but I'm not happy with the experience today:

- Toyota is having a buy 3 get 1 free tire event this month, which after pricing out town fair tire and costco puts them right in line costwise
- I wanted the new Bridgestone Driveguard tires given the 60k tread life, which the website indicated were available

- Had my wife call last week and the service manager told her he needed the tire size for our car and without it he couldn't give her pricing; they have it on file of course and I had just looked it up myself online based on model
- She made an apt for today and brought it in; I told her not to get the alignment unless it was needed
- The rep also told her he didn't think the tire we wanted was covered by the sale; she told him it was on the website
- Service desk of course tried to push the alignment on her, and she repeated what I told her that she wanted it checked before agreeing to it
- She was then told the test machine needed 30min to set-up so he'd have to charge her to have the alignment tested; she said forget it
- They then said would do the test anyway; the van is still there being serviced

I'm fairly certain I know what they will say when they call back, so I told her to just ask for the test printout when they tell her an alignment is needed and she would schedule after I looked at it

Question: I'm not sure if alignment check was part of the 30k tune a week ago, but what should I look for in the report for a needed alignment? My assumption is that if they lasted 30k its unlikely an alignment is needed, and I think I'm being properly suspicious of teh dealer at this point.

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 03:58 PM
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Re: Alignment at 30k?

The report should tell you whether the front caster, camber, and toe angles are within the correct operating range. There are no adjustments on the rear "axle" that I know of. All the printouts I've had from various dealers show the current angles and the correct range. The current angles will be either green or red depending on whether they are in or out of specification.

There are two ways they can check alignment. Newer dealerships with drive-up service lanes may have a laser system embedded in the floor which measures tread depth across each tire as you drive over it. This allows you to see if your tires are wearing evenly (good alignment and pressure) or not (bad alignment or pressure). This method is quick and easy but not as precise.

The other (and really the best/most accurate) method to check the alignment is to put the vehicle on the alignment rack, mount the reflectors to the wheels, and manually check the alignment with the computer. This will definitely tell you whether anything is out of specification however it takes time and effort. Thirty minutes is not far off.

Hope that helps!

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 05:28 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Alignment at 30k?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 96r50 View Post
The report should tell you whether the front caster, camber, and toe angles are within the correct operating range. There are no adjustments on the rear "axle" that I know of. All the printouts I've had from various dealers show the current angles and the correct range. The current angles will be either green or red depending on whether they are in or out of specification.
Thanks very much -- just received a call that the right rear castor adjuster is out and the right rear total toe is out and they recommend a four wheel alignment. Does that make sense? I can't believe they would completely make something up re: the rear?

Edit: I told them I needed the car back and just asked for the alignment report when they deliver the car, and told them I'd have it done next service; curious if you think this is a service manager mis-communicating what the tech told him, or if it really is possible for a four-wheel alignment to correct rear wheel issues (I was under the impression it was not). I can update when I see the report.

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Last edited by tyrenta; 04-17-2017 at 06:26 PM.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-18-2017, 11:44 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Alignment at 30k?

If anyone has experience to chime in and let me know if this is normal:

- my wife spoke with the service manager after his voicemail recommending a 4 wheel alignment due to misalignment in the "rear castor and rear total toe"; he told her it was now front alignment that was needed and was agitated that she didn't want to do anything at the moment because "now they weren't going to get anything out of the test they had done"
- she told him I wanted to see the alignment report and we would deal with it on the next service visit; the test report they delivered with the car was actually a photo taken of the alignment screen with a cellphone -- they aren't able to print these reports out?
- Also the year and model code listed on the alignment screen printout doesn't match the year of our car or model code on the door frame, I completely understand if it is normal for the tech to enter any model Sienna if it doesn't matter for the test, though they do all the service work on our car so it is in their systems. I would think they would pull up our account so the test would be added to our maintenance records. Does anyone know if that would be normal procedure for an alignment test?

I realize I'm likely being paranoid but they were so pushy on getting the alignment done in the first place just want to be sure I'm gettting the correct feedback from the service dept.
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Last edited by tyrenta; 04-18-2017 at 01:14 PM.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-18-2017, 01:58 PM
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Re: Alignment at 30k?

I don't think you are paranoid. You sound like a smart and savvy consumer. If there is another Toyota dealer nearby they may have the capability to do a quick accurate alignment check in their customer service greeting bay. These are free in my area and although they are not as precise as the alignment bay machines they will let you know if you have a big problem.
Typically some indicators of an alignment issue are the car is pulling to one side or another, uneven tire wear or in bad cases some steering feedback on turns.
Trust your instincts on this dealer. Check with an independent garage and see if they won't give you a courtesy alignment check. They just might to secure your business for the actual alignment or future tire purchase.

I don't think you will regret walking away from a situation where you felt pressure or having you business not appreciated. I'll bet there are many car repair shops in your area that would love to have your family's business.

And no, having a cell phone picture of the alignment screen is not professional. Most reputable alignment shops can give you printouts to take with you. This actually will show you the before and after condition.

Last edited by Johnxyz; 04-18-2017 at 05:22 PM.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-18-2017, 07:08 PM
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Re: Alignment at 30k?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tyrenta View Post
If anyone has experience to chime in and let me know if this is normal:

- my wife spoke with the service manager after his voicemail recommending a 4 wheel alignment due to misalignment in the "rear castor and rear total toe"; he told her it was now front alignment that was needed and was agitated that she didn't want to do anything at the moment because "now they weren't going to get anything out of the test they had done"
- she told him I wanted to see the alignment report and we would deal with it on the next service visit; the test report they delivered with the car was actually a photo taken of the alignment screen with a cellphone -- they aren't able to print these reports out?
- Also the year and model code listed on the alignment screen printout doesn't match the year of our car or model code on the door frame, I completely understand if it is normal for the tech to enter any model Sienna if it doesn't matter for the test, though they do all the service work on our car so it is in their systems. I would think they would pull up our account so the test would be added to our maintenance records. Does anyone know if that would be normal procedure for an alignment test?

I realize I'm likely being paranoid but they were so pushy on getting the alignment done in the first place just want to be sure I'm gettting the correct feedback from the service dept.


It's interesting that the screen shot shows a printer button within their program. Yeah, I'd be going with the gut feeling because something smells a little raunchy here.

So sad there are so many dealers/companies out there that do this kind of stuff all the time.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-19-2017, 11:57 AM
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Re: Alignment at 30k?

tyrenta,
This is the reason I joined this forum.
The amount of knowledge and good suggestions clearly indicate the value of this forum.

I personally have had both good and bad dealings with dealers. Some NEED more work and the service writers, write a lot of extras and LIE about what you actually need. My wife will not visit a dealer service writer without me with her.

This is the exact reason Dealers lose business when women come in requesting service.
Oh, and yes, female service writers are just as bad - they do not protect other women either! SAD!
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-19-2017, 01:45 PM
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Re: Alignment at 30k?

I thought I'd throw this in, as it has the alignment specs for the 2014/2015 FWD Sienna. Remember that the AWD has a different rear suspension, so it's not a direct compare, but provides a point of reference. I removed the VIN and service record from the top.

At around 30k I noticed that my front left strut was wet, and by 38k it was a gusher. Thanks to a Platinum plan, it was covered (around $700). But the fun part of the story was when the service mgr called me with the 'good news bad news' part. "Your struts are a covered repair, but the alignment is not. That will be $100 please."

I called BS... The shop manual for a strut suspension clearly calls for an alignment as part of the repair, as the strut itself is the hypotenuse of the triangle! He swallowed hard, and told me the van would be ready by 4 PM. I'll never understand why they attempt these games.
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File Type: jpg Alignment Strut Replace.jpg (294.0 KB, 9 views)

Current: '15 Sienna Limited Premium (FWD), '14 Subaru Outback, '13 Honda CRV AWD.

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