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Generally I can tell my cars need an alignment when they don't handle the turns as well. But I can't tell if it's my tires starting to wear down (I drive really hard) or if the car needs an alignment. Any tips? I'm reluctant to spend the ~$100 for an alignment if I don't need one, and I'm also not sure what alignment specifications to use (there is some debate apparently).
 

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Your bumper-to-bumper warranty includes proper alignment for the first 12mo/12K miles. So by all means take it in for alignment before you bust through that coverage.

Make sure the four-wheel alignment is performed on one of the new technology machines which hangs lasers from the wheels to ensure precision.

I'd suggest buying a tread depth gauge and checking tire wear across each tread every couple weeks. Keep a record. Early detection of uneven tire wear gives you time to correct alignment and balancing.

Ranger
 

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On a flat road, check to see if your car pulls to one side or the other when you take your hands off the wheel. If it tracks straight and you don't have any unusual tire wear, you're ok.
 
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