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Old 05-09-2008, 02:47 PM   #1
agentphish
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Default Went to dealer, got oil changed/tires rotated, now misaligned?

Hello-

My Impreza sedan has ~6400 miles on it total. I went to the dealership on 5/7 (only because i have free oil changes there) to get oil changed and tires rotated.
That's all they did (they swear).

I picked the car up after the service dept. was closed and on the drive home, I realized that the steering wheel is now cocked slightly to the right. It no longer sits straight.

The car pulls slightly to the left when I turn the wheel left to the "straight" position.

I called and left a message upon arriving home. I called again at 8:30 the next morning (5/8) and they told me to go ahead and bring the car back the next morning (5/9) to let them "swap the driver side tire front to rear, and that should fix the problem" (the problem they couldn't explain because they did nothing relating to alignment). The service advisor was telling me that with radial tires, because of how they're built, this type of thing can happen from time to time.

Well, when I left the dealer after waiting for them to rotate front to back this morning (5/9) and went to work, the situation was no different. The wheel is still cocked slightly to the right and the car will still drift to the left if i turn the wheel to the straight position.

I'm looking for second opinions here. I've never owned a Subaru, or any other AWD vehicle. Is this sort of thing normal with them, or should I be as upset as I think I am, and keep going back to the dealer to try to get this resolved?

Sorry for the LONG post, but i wanted to be detailed...Thanks!
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Old 05-09-2008, 02:50 PM   #2
strohausii
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check your lugs, check your PSI.
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Old 05-09-2008, 03:05 PM   #3
agentphish
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I will do that when I get out of the office. I would hope they would've checked the PSI and certainly tightened the lugs when they did the rotation/oil change, and general vehicle once over that they give you a lovely little print out saying they did and your vehicle passed their list of ~40 inspection points...but I guess anything is possible.
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Old 05-09-2008, 03:20 PM   #4
blackfang
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What he was talking about was a radial pull. One thing to do to counter it is swap the front tires from left to right and see if that changes.

Also, have you taken into account road crown and like others have said check your psi.
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Old 05-09-2008, 04:04 PM   #5
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Interesting, he said swapping front to back would do it, so thats what they did.

As I said, I will check my PSI when I am able to, after work, but seeing as the car was just in, I would HOPE the PSI is where it should be since, again as I said, they supposedly do a ~40 point inspection every time your car is in and Tire PSI is one of the things on the printed list of things with PASS or FAIL next to them that they give you.

Road crown has been taken into account in that, I drive the same two roads to and from work 9.23 miles every single day since i got the car (got the car Dec 1, 2007, started this job Dec 10, 2007) and I have never ever noticed the wheel being cocked to the right at all, nor have I noticed any other alignment type issues at all until I just had my tires rotated after just 6400 miles. I don't go over any rough terrain (i.e. potholes) on this ride either. I have also driven through several parking lots since getting the car back, which I would like to believe are relatively flat surfaces, just to see about the road crown and I don't think it is.

I noticed this issue as soon as I pulled off the dealer lot after picking it up the first time, however I didn't take it back because there's no one there after 5 to physically take the car back in.
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Old 05-11-2008, 03:32 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strohausii View Post
check your lugs, check your PSI.
+1 thats what I would have done. Just because the dealership techs are certified techs, doesn't mean they wont get lazy and skip a process like not fully tightening something or mis-checking something. THey get paid loads of money per hour so why would they care anyways about doing a 100% job?
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Old 05-11-2008, 03:40 PM   #7
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This isn't a road crown issue...if it was, he would have to pull the wheel to the left to track dead ahead, whereas this guy is saying that if he pulls the wheel to the left it veers to the left as well. This indicates either a really low tire or a misalignment issue. Could be that the tech rotated the tires but adjusted the pressures improperly, or either he or a car wash monkey ran into a curb or something...I road test cars after I rotate tires, and if he does the same he might have nailed a pothole. Did you happen to note the mileage in and mileage out? My bet is on that.
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Old 05-11-2008, 08:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GRIP_SPEED View Post
+ THey get paid loads of money per hour so why would they care anyways about doing a 100% job?


I have worked with plenty that do give a damn. In fact I have seen more techs give a damn than those that don't.
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Old 05-11-2008, 11:44 PM   #9
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I second the hit a curb/pothole to cause misalignment idea. As said I would check the mileage in and out and ask for an alignment check, see where you get with that.
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Old 05-12-2008, 01:24 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GRIP_SPEED View Post
THey get paid loads of money per hour so why would they care anyways about doing a 100% job?
I'm sorry to get off topic, but that is the most asinine, ignorant statement I have heard in a long time. Yeah, I get paid $100/hr (that in itself is a joke) just so I can take your money and laugh while I watch you drive down the road as your wheels fall off.
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Old 05-12-2008, 02:00 AM   #11
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yeah i agree with my4isflat.being a tech is a hard job and we take a lot of crap when things dont go perfectly.
as far as the alignment it definitely sounds like the toe is off,which is not hard to bump out of adjustment.if you complain enough they should do a free alignment check.make sure you talk to the manager if theres any problem
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Old 05-12-2008, 08:47 AM   #12
agentphish
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Hello Everyone,

I appreciate all of the helpful feedback here on my issue.

I did check the tire pressures when I got home from work, after letting the car sit for the tires to be "cold" of course.

Here is what the numbers should be (according to the door jam):
Front 33psi
Rear 32psi
Here is what I found...and I must say, I was non too pleased with what I saw:
Front L: 33psi (ok)
Rear L: 38psi (NOT ok)
Front R: 40psi (NOT ok)
Rear R: 37psi (NOT ok)

All of the tires except the front left where over inflated, I adjusted them to the correct PSI. Additionally they were all over inflated to DIFFERENT psi as you can see. However, this still didnt fix the problem.

I have an appointment on Wed. to take the car back in, the service advisor told me no matter what the problem was he would not charge me for anything at this point. I hope he stays true to that. I will be sure that I make it a point to recheck the tires before I take the car in, and also to mention the fact that they were all well over inflated.

Additionally, after adjusting my pressures, I took the car to NJ to visit my fiancee's mom for mother's day, I got freakin 30.2 mpg on the whole drive there - 2.5 hours. That's the BEST mileage I've had with this car over the 6300 miles that I've had it. I never checked the pressures since I bought the car, which is in itself a mistake on my part.

I really cant believe this.

Last edited by agentphish; 05-12-2008 at 09:10 AM.
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Old 05-12-2008, 12:46 PM   #13
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Thought it's not extremely likely to cause a huge amount of pull (some pull is more like it), this condition can be caused by a separating belt in one of the tires. Our '02 Legacy had this happen when we bought it new. Brought it in to the dealer and, after several tire swaps (front-back, side-side, cross rotate) the issue went away. We didn't do anything more about it but a few (maybe several?) weeks later a tire failed on the highway. Bridgestone dealer didn't want to do anything to warranty the tire at first, but with the service records from the dealer it was enough to convince him (the Bridgestone dealer) that it was a separation (tire flaw and failure) that did it. New tire, no more pull no matter how the tires were rotated.

Good luck.
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Old 05-12-2008, 02:05 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackfang View Post


I have worked with plenty that do give a damn. In fact I have seen more techs give a damn than those that don't.
Quote:
Originally Posted by my4isflat View Post
I'm sorry to get off topic, but that is the most asinine, ignorant statement I have heard in a long time. Yeah, I get paid $100/hr (that in itself is a joke) just so I can take your money and laugh while I watch you drive down the road as your wheels fall off.
Come down to Los Angeles and we'll see if you still think that way. Obviously I dont see why you would get annoyed by the statement. it wasn't even a direct remark to you despite your a auto mechanic yourself.
whatever your trying to defend you have to admit sometimes mechanics do try to fix or charge things that dont require fixing or replacing in order to get more money out of the customer. There were couple of times where I did my own oil change and was at 1000mi into the change.. took it to a shop to have some other things check out and the mechanic tells me my engine oil is dirty and needs changing.
Or how about 60% tire tread. "I think your tires needs re-placing"
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Old 05-12-2008, 02:36 PM   #15
blackfang
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GRIP_SPEED View Post
Come down to Los Angeles and we'll see if you still think that way. Obviously I dont see why you would get annoyed by the statement. it wasn't even a direct remark to you despite your a auto mechanic yourself.
whatever your trying to defend you have to admit sometimes mechanics do try to fix or charge things that dont require fixing or replacing in order to get more money out of the customer. There were couple of times where I did my own oil change and was at 1000mi into the change.. took it to a shop to have some other things check out and the mechanic tells me my engine oil is dirty and needs changing.
Or how about 60% tire tread. "I think your tires needs re-placing"
I shouldn't have to come to your geographical location to substantiate your generalized comment.
I know there are some dishonest mechanics and technicians out there. I also know that for every dishonest one, there are at least a dozen or more honest ones.
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Old 05-12-2008, 03:09 PM   #16
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I agree with the "tech took it out for a spin and hit something" approach. Swapping tires/changing pressures/etc can cause it to pull to once side or another slightly, but driving straight down a flat road and your wheel is now crooked and didn't use to be? That screams something in your alignment/steering rack has been changed from when you dropped it off.

This is just a fine example of why no one ever works on my car but me. In-warranty work just means you've got a stupid monkey screwing things up on your car that you're not paying. Only slightly less annoying than actually PAYING some stupid monkey to mess up your car.
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Old 05-12-2008, 04:12 PM   #17
agentphish
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@BulWnkl - (or anyone else who'd like to respond)
Is there a way to tell if the belt is separating in the tire before I get to the point of a tire failure? I had a Goodyear Eagle RS-A tire with just 18K miles on it blow an 8 inch hole in the sidewall about 8 years ago resulting in a 2 year old totaled vehicle and the near loss of my life.

This is an experience, as you can guess, that I would like to avoid having again. Suggestions are helpful.

It's just a bunch of BS really. All of this.

Freakin 6 month old car w/ 6K on it and this happens.

I'll keep everyone posted with what happens on Wednesday when I bring it in.
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Old 05-12-2008, 04:34 PM   #18
blackfang
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Sometimes you can feel the belts separating on the tire, mainly running your hand on the tread surface and when there is a noticeable bump that is an indication.
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Old 05-12-2008, 06:32 PM   #19
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I agree with blackfang. Note, though, that he said "sometimes." I expect that experience feeling separations makes it easier to detect. As for ours, I didn't run my hand over the tread or other parts of the tire beforehand. I can only report that there was no abnormal noise nor other indication. Fortunately for us, when the tire failed it was on the rear and, though there was a 'bang!' it didn't cause the car to do anything worse than get squirrely from having a sudden flat back there.

Good luck to you, agentphish. I think the dealer will be able to take care of this for you, though it may take a couple trips. {Unless it's a tire. Then you'll have to get the Bridgestone, or whomever, guys to replace it.}
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Old 05-12-2008, 07:16 PM   #20
blackfang
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^^ +1
If it is a tire defect issue, chances are he will be directed to the nearest Bridgestone dealer as the tire manufacturer warranties the tires, not SOA.
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Old 05-13-2008, 09:17 AM   #21
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Yes. Hopefully I will have good info tomorrow.
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Old 05-13-2008, 09:57 AM   #22
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Do you have any other set of tires/wheels for this car? do you have any friends with a subaru? (or similar car with 5x100 bolt pattern) You might be able to borrow a set of wheels/tires and go out for a quick drive. eliminating the same tires n wheels from the equation is a quick way to solve this one way or another. You'd either have a bad tire/tire wear issue, or else an alignment problem for sure.
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Old 05-14-2008, 11:23 AM   #23
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No I dont have another set or know anyone except a friend out of state who has one or would do all the work to swap wheels. Unfortunately.

Another unfortunate thing is that I FORGOT ABOUT MY FREAKIN APPOINTMENT THIS MORNING! Luckily they can get me in tomorrow, so I'll drop the car off tonight after work.

Long story short is we currently have my In-law's Hyundai Sonata for the next two weeks so I've been driving that to work to keep some miles off my car for the next 2 weeks. So I've been driving it and just didn't remember my appointment!

Oh well more updates by Friday!
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Old 05-15-2008, 03:25 PM   #24
agentphish
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So I just got off the phone with the dealer.

The service manager said that they "don't have the 'Hunter' computer OE Specs for the 08 impreza yet and the soonest 'Hunter' can come out is tomorrow to load them in, so we can have your car back to you tomorrow by 5. There will be no charge for any of this."

They need them to "adjust the tow angle on the front end,get the wheel straightened out, and get rid of the pull"

I have NO idea what the hell the tow angle is or why it was screwy in the first place or became screwy. I don't know what Hunter is either, if someone can shed some light on these for me, that'd be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old 05-15-2008, 05:07 PM   #25
blackfang
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You are referring to as toe. Best way to describe this is stand up and look down at your feet. Now point your feet inwards and then outwards. That is what toe is in relation to the tires on an alignment.
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