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#3332562 - 04/03/14 05:38 PM What's the catch on lifetime alignments?
wirelessF Offline


Registered: 10/04/07
Posts: 1235
Loc: Oahu, Hawaii
Apparently only firestone offers lifetime alignments as long you own the vehicle but what's the catch? I have an indie shop to do my alignments after major suspension work and that's it forever until I do more major suspension work.
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For racing or off-road use only!

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#3332564 - 04/03/14 05:41 PM Re: What's the catch on lifetime alignments? [Re: wirelessF]
eljefino Offline


Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 23764
Loc: ME
Apparently they only pay the tech $5 for realignments. Expect an indifferent job.

http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/firestone/...-georgia-277614

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#3332566 - 04/03/14 05:42 PM Re: What's the catch on lifetime alignments? [Re: wirelessF]
NHGUY Offline


Registered: 10/09/11
Posts: 3297
Loc: USA
They are hoping your tires will wear unevenly so they can sell you new ones,or shocks,or ball joints,or tie rod ends...

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#3332577 - 04/03/14 06:01 PM Re: What's the catch on lifetime alignments? [Re: wirelessF]
Wolf359 Offline


Registered: 04/27/12
Posts: 377
Loc: MA
Same catch as always, they have loss leaders in order to upsell you on stuff you may or may not need. I just got a 3 year one at Goodyear and each time I go in, they mention something. I think they might be onto me as the last time I didn't even have to make up some excuse as to why I didn't want them to do it. I just said hmm... I then either know they're making it up or I take it to my mechanic who charges about 1/3 of what they want.

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#3332585 - 04/03/14 06:08 PM Re: What's the catch on lifetime alignments? [Re: wirelessF]
MrHorspwer Offline


Registered: 12/18/06
Posts: 849
Loc: Michigan
"We can't perform your free* alignment because your outer tie-rods are worn. $350 to fix that and we'll perform your free* alignment."

Next year...

"We can perform your free* alignment because your ball joints are worn. $575 to fix and we'll perform your free* alignment."

Two days later...

"Your car pulls to the left because your tires are worn. The tires are probably because of the worn tie rods last year or the ball joints this year. The pull is certainly not because of the free* alignment we just performed. There is a rebate sale on Bridgestone and Firestone tires until the end of the week. We can take care of that right now."

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#3332623 - 04/03/14 07:02 PM Re: What's the catch on lifetime alignments? [Re: wirelessF]
satinsilver Offline


Registered: 01/24/08
Posts: 2911
Loc: Ohio
If they can't do a proper wheel balance then I wouldn't trust them on an alignment. Which was the case with my 99 Accord with alloy wheels. All the wheel weights flew off twice. When I told the manager he said, "if I didn't feel a vibration on the highway not to worry about it". The 60k tires started to cup at 28k miles. After warranty each new tire was $95 installed. So I went to a local tire store that slapped some Kellys on which were fine.

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#3332645 - 04/03/14 07:25 PM Re: What's the catch on lifetime alignments? [Re: satinsilver]
Kira Offline


Registered: 08/19/10
Posts: 1054
Loc: Champlain/Hudson Valley
Hello, The management of these places is absolutely shameless. They are trained to steal and lie.
They are dirty, filthy scum. The employees doing the work quickly lose their innocence in my eyes as they seem to cooperate after a while. Kira

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#3332646 - 04/03/14 07:26 PM Re: What's the catch on lifetime alignments? [Re: wirelessF]
exranger06 Offline


Registered: 01/25/08
Posts: 2548
Loc: Guilford, CT
Originally Posted By: wirelessF
I have an indie shop to do my alignments after major suspension work and that's it forever until I do more major suspension work.

I think that's how the Firestone lifetime alignments work too. If you replace tie rods or something else that requires realignment, the lifetime alignments end and you have to pay for it again.
_________________________
2006 Ford Ranger Sport -54k mi
1992 Honda Accord EX -173k mi
1994 Ford Explorer Sport -190k mi
1994 Ford Bronco XLT (project)

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#3332758 - 04/03/14 09:22 PM Re: What's the catch on lifetime alignments? [Re: wirelessF]
Donald Offline


Registered: 03/21/04
Posts: 13323
Loc: Upstate NY
Its like the $59 brake job at Mavis. A chance to up-sell to better pads and maybe also find calipers or rotors need replacing. Then it quickly goes from $59 to hundreds per axle.
_________________________
2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 4.0 - PP & M1
1999 Dodge Ram 2500 w/Cummins - Rotella T6 & M1
Amsoil ATF in both vehicles & Magnefine filter.

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#3332791 - 04/03/14 09:43 PM Re: What's the catch on lifetime alignments? [Re: exranger06]
MONKEYMAN Offline


Registered: 06/24/04
Posts: 1541
Loc: St. Louis
Originally Posted By: exranger06
Originally Posted By: wirelessF
I have an indie shop to do my alignments after major suspension work and that's it forever until I do more major suspension work.

I think that's how the Firestone lifetime alignments work too. If you replace tie rods or something else that requires realignment, the lifetime alignments end and you have to pay for it again.


Not in my case. Replaced front struts in Saturn last spring. My local mechanic could not do alignment. Went to Firestone with coupon. They suggested lifetime alignment, but just bought one alignment. One strut leaked. So I went back and they let me upgrade to lifetime alignment and did alignment #2. Two months later replaced back struts. That was alignment #3. No hassles. This winter I bought winter tires online. Got an alignment at Firestone before having them mounted at another shop. Four alignments in 9 months with not hassle. The manager asked if I was a mechanic since I replaced my own struts...

One thing to note is someone came in when I was getting my last alignment. Quoted a tire package that was around $1000.00 for a SUV. These shops depend on customers that just follow their recommendations, know very little about vehicle repair/ maintenance.

So now I am using 3 different tire shops. I know every one will try to upsell at some point. As long as I can say "no" I have gotten a good deal. But my experience is it all depends on the manager, not necessarily the franchise they represent. They depend on the suckers. I know, I used to be one of them...
_________________________
Truth alone triumphs, not untruth.

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#3332832 - 04/03/14 10:21 PM Re: What's the catch on lifetime alignments? [Re: wirelessF]
crazyoildude Offline


Registered: 07/23/08
Posts: 5259
Loc: new jersey
a while back my Dad Had his 79 Cadillac aligned at sears he brought it back because the toe in was off and the guy said no problem ...Until he got it on the lift then it needed outter tie rods and a center link..My dad asked to see the problem (Dad was a great mechanic) and he knew they were full of it and on commission.. Two years later he got a refund because they were caught by the ag's office and part of the deal was complete refunds..

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#3332850 - 04/03/14 10:35 PM Re: What's the catch on lifetime alignments? [Re: MrHorspwer]
another Todd Offline


Registered: 05/15/06
Posts: 1631
Loc: Southern CA
Originally Posted By: MrHorspwer
"We can't perform your free* alignment because your outer tie-rods are worn. $350 to fix that and we'll perform your free* alignment."

Next year...

"We can perform your free* alignment because your ball joints are worn. $575 to fix and we'll perform your free* alignment."

Two days later...


"Your car pulls to the left because your tires are worn. The tires are probably because of the worn tie rods last year or the ball joints this year. The pull is certainly not because of the free* alignment we just performed. There is a rebate sale on Bridgestone and Firestone tires until the end of the week. We can take care of that right now."


+1. BTW, never let anybody even check your alignment if your tires wear evenly and it doesn't pull to one side or the other, because it's perfect, and it doesn't need checking. Even (maybe especially) if it's free.


Edited by another Todd (04/03/14 10:38 PM)
_________________________
1996 Ford F53 Chassis motorhome
(3)2005 Ford Focus ZX3, ZX4, and ZX5
2005 Ford Escape
2006 Ford Escape
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#3332875 - 04/03/14 11:00 PM Re: What's the catch on lifetime alignments? [Re: eljefino]
bowlofturtle Offline


Registered: 06/25/09
Posts: 409
Loc: Chicago
Originally Posted By: eljefino
Apparently they only pay the tech $5 for realignments. Expect an indifferent job.

http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/firestone/...-georgia-277614


Not sure where you got that from but most likely that is wrong. Its off a flatrate system, meaning you get 0.x of an hour per alignment, not a flat $ amount.

So if the alignment pays .5 hour and you make $15, you would get $7.50. If you got paid $20, then it would be $10. A standard alignment when i was at the dealership paid 2.0 hours.


I have a firestone lifetime alginment on the g35, I have adjustable coilover supension. I've done about 8 alignements in the past 4-5 years. I normally do a winter/summer alignment when i swap my wheels. I'm nearing 90k and they have yet to recommend me ANYTHING. The manager one time did give me [censored] about "my car being too low and it wont clear the rack". I just went into my trunk and got my 2x8's and laid them down.

$169+ tax for 8 alignments, done right is a good deal. They dont just do "toe and go" with mines because when they say "we cant do your alignment because you need addiational camber arms" i tell them its already on there. I'm happy with my service but i know others are not.
_________________________
- 2005 Infiniti G35x 82k
- 1998 Nissan Maxima GLE 142k
- 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer OZ-Rally 91k
- 1996 Toyota Camry LE 136k
- 2003 Suzuki SV650N 7.5k

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#3333089 - 04/04/14 08:16 AM Re: What's the catch on lifetime alignments? [Re: wirelessF]
Char Baby Offline


Registered: 05/25/05
Posts: 6961
Loc: Rochester NY
Like any warranty, they're hoping that you'll pay more money upfront and not use the service...often!

Also, check the fine print. If you have to change out some suspension parts after the fact, the lifetime alignment may not be valid any longer...Shhhh, don't tell'em!

Some shops & managers may be very good about this and others will only do for the company(not the customer) best interest.


Edited by Char Baby (04/04/14 08:18 AM)
_________________________
"Finally Retired"!

1980 Firebird FORMULA V8
2001 Lexus RX-300 V6
2004 Nissan Altima 2.5S
2006 Mazda 3i 2.0L

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#3333268 - 04/04/14 12:49 PM Re: What's the catch on lifetime alignments? [Re: wirelessF]
meep Offline


Registered: 02/20/07
Posts: 2482
Loc: Southeast
I've done the lifetime alignment at my firestone and it's been great. 2 vehicles have had it. I lift it, I take it in, they do it. I change the struts, take it in, they do it. I add airbags, etc... once the upsold me a windshield wiper for $11. I said go ahead. I usually, but not always, tip the tech $5-10.

I think it definitely depends on the culture of THAT shop, as made by the owner, and the service managers. The 3 guys that run the shop I like are all by the book, with what seems a genuine balance between protecting the shop and protecting the customer too.

I'm probably just lucky to have this shop nearby.
_________________________
2006 Tundra 2wd
2002 MDX (wifey!)
2003 town and country, in various state of repair

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#3333284 - 04/04/14 01:08 PM Re: What's the catch on lifetime alignments? [Re: wirelessF]
Gokhan Offline


Registered: 12/29/10
Posts: 1547
Loc: Los Angeles, California
There is no catch. I have the Firestone lifetime alignment. It's one of the smartest service decisions you can make. Also get the lifetime rotation and wheel balance.

I took it there for many alignments. No questions are asked and they take their time to do a full alignment just like one-time alignment.

It costs twice the one-time alignment. They hope you to sell your car in a few years but they are in bad luck with people like me. smile
_________________________
1985 Toyota Corolla LE, 4A-LC engine, ~ 256,000 M
Toyota (by ExxonMobil) SN/GF-5 0W-20 Synthetic
Toyota 90915-YZZF2 filter, 90430-12031 drain gasket

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#3333292 - 04/04/14 01:17 PM Re: What's the catch on lifetime alignments? [Re: wirelessF]
hattaresguy Offline


Registered: 06/01/11
Posts: 4972
Loc: CT
Our local Firestone is unable to really align vehicles.

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#3333299 - 04/04/14 01:28 PM Re: What's the catch on lifetime alignments? [Re: hattaresguy]
Gokhan Offline


Registered: 12/29/10
Posts: 1547
Loc: Los Angeles, California
Originally Posted By: hattaresguy
Our local Firestone is unable to really align vehicles.

Unfortunately this is a problem with all shops, not just Firestone. It really only depends on the skills of the technician. I always ask for the same technician when I go to Firestone, who likes working on my car and has good skills. Even he broke a rear-toe alignment cam once by overtorquing though.

This is another reason to get a lifetime alignment. You can take your car there as many times as necessary to get the job done right and ask for a different technician every time until you find a good technician.
_________________________
1985 Toyota Corolla LE, 4A-LC engine, ~ 256,000 M
Toyota (by ExxonMobil) SN/GF-5 0W-20 Synthetic
Toyota 90915-YZZF2 filter, 90430-12031 drain gasket

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#3333484 - 04/04/14 05:10 PM Re: What's the catch on lifetime alignments? [Re: wirelessF]
stephen9666 Offline


Registered: 12/08/06
Posts: 2509
Loc: USA
Firestone (and the affiliated Expert Tire) have been quite good for me. I mainly choose them for my tire mounting/balancing and my alignments.

I needed some tires quickly last week and my time constraints left me only Walmart as an option. That transaction/experience sucked compared to the service I normally get at Firestone/Expert Tire.

I'm not saying they're perfect, but they've been pretty good to me.

I actually just bought a Jetta this week and I'll be getting the lifetime alignment from Firestone. Over the 3 years I owned my Hyundai I would have been money ahead if I had bought the lifetime alignment the first time.

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#3333958 - 04/05/14 09:08 AM Re: What's the catch on lifetime alignments? [Re: wirelessF]
2009Edge Offline


Registered: 06/10/09
Posts: 96
Loc: Texas
When I want an alignment done right I go to a dealership. This is probably the only thing I would recommend a dealership perform, but I have had a plethora of independent alignment shops perform this service and eventually went to a dealer to get it RIGHT.

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#3334032 - 04/05/14 11:09 AM Re: What's the catch on lifetime alignments? [Re: wirelessF]
DBMaster Online   content


Registered: 09/18/12
Posts: 2071
Loc: Texas
I have had satisfactory results over the past twenty years using NTB (National Tire & Battery, formerly NTW). I might go for the lifetime alignment on my current car when I do the first one. I have found, generally, that cars purchased new rarely need alignments until they are at 100,000+ miles and the suspension bushings begin to wear noticeably.

Personally, and this is me, if the car steers and tracks well and is not wearing tires out prematurely I do not do alignments.
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Mike

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