I had the front struts and mounts replaced on our Camry yesterday, after
one of the strut mounts went bad. This is the first replacement in
I had my regular mechanic do it, as he was much cheaper than a
suspension place or the dealer. He charged about $800 (including the
rear shocks and an ATF change that was due) and he told me I'd have to
take it to be aligned somewhere else, since he doesn't do alignments.
Then when I picked up the car he told me that the database (Alldata I
presume) said that strut replacement on this vehicle did not affect the
alignment, and that I didn't need to get an alignment. He had no reason
to make up a story about this, but I thought strut replacement always
required a front alignment, and that the cartridge replacement somehow
inherently threw off the alignment.
Autozone's online guide suggests alignment for the 96:
Each front strut probably came with an info sheet saying that if the
fronts were replaced an alignment would be necessary. I know mine did.
Newer cars have less and less adjustments to do. I'd be surprised if
the latest cars have anything but toe-in. That said I'd have it
checked after all these years and miles. Fine a reputable place with a
recently calibrated Hunter alignment machine.
If it was just the strut you could probably get by without an
But with the mounts replaced, I'd opt for a 4 wheel alignment in order
to preserve the tires.
Or, if you plan to purchase tires in the near future, you could have
the alignment done when the new tires are mounted.
(Bad struts often lead to premature tire wear.)
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