When a shop does a 4-wheel alignment and the steering wheel is not
straight up and down when the car is headed forward, does the alignment
include fixing that?
Does one normally have to remind them to check that and fix it?
Normally it includes centering the wheel.
Usually with the newer machines, you drive the car on the rack, tell the
machine what the vehicle is and check tire pressures, sizes, suspension
components and ride height (these days you do that with a probe attached
to the alignment rack, it tells the machine the number and it calculates
whatever compensation needed).
Then you follow the machine as it tells you to turn left/right then
center the wheel. Then you adjust the various parts till all the
settings are in the green.
Now IF the suspension isn't worn much, the tires/rims are the correct
size and pressure and nothing is bent, this procedure does a good job.
I am sorry to say it, but the vast majority of people doing alignments
today are kids who have no idea what they are doing. They put the car
on the machine and they do whatever the machine tells them to do without
any regard to the actual state of the vehicle's suspension.
There is a vast difference between an alignment done by an expert specialist
and one done by the bozos at the tire store.
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."