New tires on 98 Accord LX - Do I need an alignment?

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I bought 4 new BF Goodrich tires for my 98 Accord LX 5-speed with 75,000 miles. The cars is very quiet now and very smooth. The guys at Costco told me to get an alignment and they implied it would protect my
tire warranty. They said get an alignment every year. I think I have had one alignment since new.
I am wondering if I really need one. There is zero vibration or shimmy in the steering wheel.
If I take my hands off the wheel, (hold them an inch away from the wheel & when no cars are around) the cars drives totally straight and the wheel do not vibrate or anything.
The tires have a 60,000 mile warranty, 500 rating and Costco provides free rotation, road hazard the works.
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Tom Jackson wrote:

what was the wear pattern on the old tires?
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The wear [attern looked pretty normal. No excessive wear on either side (inboard or outboard) of the front or rear tires.
BTW - is anyone here able to get more than 25,000 miles on a set of tires? I did once on a new 1984 VW Scirocco with excellent (French) Uniroyal HRs.
Thanks guys.
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Have 194K on a 97 accord - no alignment since purchase - tire wear is even - so if your tire wear is even - you don't need one. Also check tirerack.com for recommendations on tire brands - BF Goodrich is not a stellar choice IMHO.
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snipped-for-privacy@juno.com says...

I have. These weren't crappy super hard cheapo rubber rim protector tires you get at discount auto stores. These were Goodyear Eagle NCT's on a Dodge Omni GLH Turbo. I got right around 40k miles out of the tires. I think the long life is attributable to a light weight car, (~2200lbs) on relatively wide (195mm) tires. --------------- Alex
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On 2/22/06 12:16 PM, in article dti9pn$qli$ snipped-for-privacy@newsmaster.cc.columbia.edu,

I've gotten at least 40,000 miles off the original tires on every car I've bought since 1985 (before then - no). The Original equip Michelins on the 2000 TL went 49,000. The original Bridgestones on my 2002 Pathfinder still have at least one rotation (6,000 miles) left on them at 52,000.
If the OP is only getting 25,000 from tires on a standard sedan, then I would say more frequent alignments are definitely in order.
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I imagine it could also depend how hard they're driven. ie: around corners, etc. Tire inflation as well, but inproper inflation would show uneven wear.
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Yes. If you are only getting 25,000 miles on a set of tires, check the following:
Tire air pressure -- too low and the tires will wear out quickly, as well as being less safe.
Tire size, type, and rating -- sportier tires (with higher speed ratings) tend to have lesser tread life (S and T rated tires may last 80,000 miles, though some "budget" tires have far shorter tread lifes; H rated tires typically 50,000 to 60,000 miles, and sportier tires with higher speed ratings like V, Z, W, Y typically less). Check the load rating on the tires as well.
Type of driving -- city driving will wear out tires (and other things in a car, like brake pads and oil) in less mileage than highway driving.
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Tom Jackson wrote:

did they notice abnormal wear on the old tires to the inboard or outboard sides? they dont do alignments, so thats the only reason i can think of that theyd tell you something like that.

dont need one, unless you notice uneven wear, or pulling to one side.

costco will warrant the tires regardless of if you align the car or not.
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Tom Jackson wrote:

Some shops have a computerized slide slip meter that they can drive the car over which senses how many feet per mile the tires are pulling sideways. This test will help to determine if you really need an alignment. Call around to a few different shops in your area. One shop that I know of will do the test for free since it only takes a minute or two.
By the way, an alignment per year sounds excessive. The best thing you can do for your tires is to keep them properly inflated to the car's recommended pressure. Also check for unusual wear patterns and get them rotated front to back regularly. I do mine at every other oil change. I also bought tires at Costco, but I won't let them rotate the tires any more since they messed up one of my lugnuts (just about the only way to mess up the threads on a lugnut is to start the threads with the nut in your air tool instead of by hand and people making this type of mistake are usually found in a high school shop class or they belong there).
Eric
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The shadetree trick to check whether you need alignment to prevent tire wear: stick strips of masking tape across the treads of the front tires from sidewall to sidewall and find a reasonably straight stretch of road to drive for a mile or so. Pull over and look at the tape. If it is worn evenly on the inside and outside edges, roughly matching the wear in the center, you are wearing okay. If the inside or outside edges are more worn you need an alignment.
If you haven't had anything replaced in the front end and the steering wheel sits straight when you drive the alignment is probably okay. It's rare for the alignment to be "knocked out" by a big bump without affecting one side more than the other and so making the steering off-center.
Mike
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I paid about $45 for a four wheel alignment at a Firestone dealer after popping for a set of Bridgestones. The alignment was way off om my 2001 Accord V6-EX with about 45K. Spring for the alignment.
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snipped-for-privacy@juno.com says...

sounds odd to me. Costco doesn't do alignments, so it's not like they are trying to sell you an unecessary service to make more money. Did they refer you to specific shop? Maybe they are getting a kick back? Unless you are getting abnormal wear of your tires or the car is pulling to one side, you don't need to get an alignment. -------------- Alex
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They did not refer me to any specific shop. There are no auto repair shops near this Costco location. There is no vibration in the steering wheel at all, car drives stratight as an arrow and the wear on the old tires looked normal.
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As much as I hate to admit it Costco is right. An alignment is to tell you and the tire seller that your car is within specs and should not wear the tires prematurely. If in 15000 miles you notice the tires have wear on the inside edge and are now considered unsafe, then the seller may say too bad. OTOH, if you can prove your car didn't wear out the tires, then your challenging the tire manufactures mileage warranty.
Firestone offers a lifetime alignment, and using this I have seen several customers get new tires at 20000 miles because the tires were suppose to last 40000 AND because they were in every 6 month or so keeping up on the alignment the ball was in there court (so to say)
For about 20$ Firestone offers a alignment check.
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com says...

No they are not. Cars don't spontanteously go out of alignment. If your prior set of tires wore evenly across the tread, there is no reason to believe you need to get an alignment just because you bought new tires. It is a waste of time and money.

As it should be since uneven wear is usually caused by something other than a defective tire.

If you get an alignment when you buy the new tires, it doesn't prove anything except that the car was properly aligned when you left the garage. You could hit a pothole that throws your car out of alignment on the way home for the mechanics.

Tires that wear out prematurely becuase of poor alignment are easy to spot because the wear is uneven. So getting your alignment checked regularly is not necessary. The lifetime alignment is used by some places to try to sell you more services. When you bring your car in to get checked, they always find something else that needs attention. ------------ Alex
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You miss the point... This alignment isn't about the car its about the tires.
We have in our shop tires warranted to last 60000... We put them on your car and in 30,000 miles they are worn out. You come back to the shop and scream about the tires not living up to your expatiations "You promised they would last longer" But if you toe was out just a bit and your camber was out just a bit, then this caused the tires not to last. You might be able to see on the old tires if there is an issue; but can you prove it later? We have customers who don't rotate tires as suggested and wonder why the tires are wearing funny, or why the fronts are bald and the rears are not. A week ago we repaired the wheel bearings and put new tires on a local delivery car; on the test drive the wheel is offcenter and it pulled; he declined the free alignment check; when he comes back with worn tires in 2 months sure enough it will be our fault. The alignment is suggested to VALIDATE the tire warranty.. If you say "NO" then the mileage warranty is Void; the same as if you decline the extended warranty on something you buy.
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com says...

It is about the car and the tires. A poorly aligned car will not handle properly, which is dangerous.

If that is the case, then the tire warranty should clearly state it.
I never buy tires because of a wear warranty. Those types of tires tend to be poor performers. So it is a non-issue for me. -------------- Alex
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Most all tires have some sort of mileage warranty; If you choose to look at it and use it is up to you. The higher performance tires do not; especially the 50 series and such and those with z-rating ect. Also some aggressive truck tires do not also; this is up to the manufacture
A car that is radically out of alignment MAY cause handling problem and be unsafe; but generally speaking most alignment issues boil down to pulls, drifts and tire wear.
I perform about 150-200 alignments a year, seldom are they dangerous on the road prior to the job.
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Stephen H wrote:

maybe not pottering about town or straight line on a freeway, but i assure you, if the rear alignment on a civic is out, it radically affects cornering stability - it makes a huge difference to the adhesion limit and therefore can significantly reduce cornering speed. do the experiments yourself some time.
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