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Old 02-03-2007, 07:54 AM   #1
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Whats the difference? (Alignment shop)

Last week I started looking for a alignment shop for my Boxster's 4 wheeels and was recommended by 2 people to the one, about 15 miles from where i live and it will cost me $250 plus i have to leave the car there for a day for them to align it, check suspension, steering, brakes and what ever needs to get it fix but limited to major repair.. Then there's Sears, about 3 miles and their price is $95 and will take them 1.5 hours to align it, check suspension, steering, brakes and what ever needs to get it fix but limited to major repair and then there's Goodyear shop, about 10 miles and the cost of the same service is $135.

SO the question is, why big differences on price with the same service? would you trust Sears?


Thanks in Advance....

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Old 02-03-2007, 08:14 AM   #2
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I took mine to an alignment shop and they charged $125.00 and set the camber to my specs. You live in a pretty large city and there should be plenty of dedicated alignment shops that have done sport and race setups. A shop like that would be much better suited to do your car and is well worth the couple of extra $$ compared to the cost of tires and having a great handling car. I just can't get the pictures of the Sears mechanic squirting oil on some poor guys shocks and telling him they were bad that were televised here in the 90's. I am pretty sure it was limited to one store but I think that an independent shop will work a lot harder for your repeat business than a huge chain with underpaid hourly employees who are more concerned about break time then your 50K car. All that considered $250 still sounds high for an alignment even by SoCal standards. If you are a PCA member check with the track guys and see if they can recommend a shop. Usually the track guys know all the best shops.
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Old 02-03-2007, 08:16 AM   #3
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The question is.. would YOU trust Sears to do the alignment. I wouldn't. $250 sounds pretty high, but that's what I paid for the first alignment on mine (won't go THERE again!). Actually I paid $300, and, like you, I had to leave it there all day!. Talk about a rip off. Another tire shop that I trust, an independent that supplies higher end cars and track guys, will do the alignment for, like Sears, $95. I'd say keep looking. But then again.. maybe prices are higher in your part of the country. $135 at Goodyear isn't bad at all, IF (big if) they know what they're doing. Talk to them and see if they know what they're doing, and have the proper equipment. I was told by the independent that a "regular" alignment machine won't properly do the Box. I believe him but, heck, he may be feeding me a line.

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Old 02-03-2007, 09:19 AM   #4
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thanks guy's! I might go check the independent shop that was recomended and the other chain store shop and see what my gut feeling tells me. If it's almost the same service...I just can't justify the difference in pricing
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Old 02-03-2007, 10:29 AM   #5
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unklekraker,

When I brought the Benz in for new tires a couple of weeks ago I asked them if they can do an alignment on the Box ( NTB - National Tire and Battery ). They assured me that they used a Hunter alignment system and they would be able to do a Porsche. Not sure if you have NTB out West, but if so, you might want to give them a call...

On a side note, I bought 4 new Kumho tires from Tire Rack for $200 ( for the Benz ), had them dropped shipped to NTB for $20, and installed for $50. $270 for 4 new tires installed ( I am very happy with the Kumho's so far ). Might be something to keep in mind when it's time for new shoes for the C230.

Nick
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Old 02-03-2007, 10:54 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by unklekraker
If it's almost the same service...
But it's not. Alignment is absolutely critical on our cars with such low-profile, wide tires. Any oaf can do an alignment that is "within factory specifications" and get a print-out showing you before and after. The trouble is that the factory specifications are so wide that basically, if the wheels are pointing forward, the car is in alignment. Doing a precision alignment on a Boxster is a reiterative pain in the ass. You also need experience to know how to do it so that the alignment will hold after you go over a few speed bumps. Otherwise, after a few days or few weeks, you'll be needing another alignment. It is very easy for these cars to go out of alignment. I've read of people who track their car doing an alignment every few weeks. You also need experience to know what settings are optimum for different driving conditions/styles.

To me, $250 is very reasonable, and I think I know the shop you're referring to. If you go to a precision alignment/race shop, they will listen to how you drive, what you're looking for as far as driving characteristics, and discuss what kind of alignment you may try. They will then do a precision alignment to just those specifications--not just within joke factory specifications. If you are new to Boxster alignments and drive enthusiastically, it is in your interest to learn the terminology and what affects different settings have. If you just cruise around as a casual Sunday driver and your tire wear shows nothing strange, then skip doing the alignment altogether.
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Old 02-03-2007, 11:08 AM   #7
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$125 is not unreasonable for an alignment (at least here in Orlando). It's what i pay for my two roadsters. Most chain stores (Sears etc) align to within factory specs which often can have relatively large +/- tolerances.

I have read about people coming back from a alignment with castor and camber setting with as much as 2 degrees difference between left and right sides, thats not acceptable in my book.

Any good independent shop will accept your desired custom alignment settings and get the car as close to them as possible with tight tolerances.

And if you do not know what settings you want, have a conversation with the tech, tell them what you want from the alignment (track set up, autox set-up, or best for even tire wear) they should be able come up with a good set of settings for you.
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Old 02-03-2007, 03:33 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by arenared
But it's not. Alignment is absolutely critical on our cars with such low-profile, wide tires. Any oaf can do an alignment that is "within factory specifications" and get a print-out showing you before and after. The trouble is that the factory specifications are so wide that basically, if the wheels are pointing forward, the car is in alignment. Doing a precision alignment on a Boxster is a reiterative pain in the ass. You also need experience to know how to do it so that the alignment will hold after you go over a few speed bumps. Otherwise, after a few days or few weeks, you'll be needing another alignment. It is very easy for these cars to go out of alignment. I've read of people who track their car doing an alignment every few weeks. You also need experience to know what settings are optimum for different driving conditions/styles.

To me, $250 is very reasonable, and I think I know the shop you're referring to. If you go to a precision alignment/race shop, they will listen to how you drive, what you're looking for as far as driving characteristics, and discuss what kind of alignment you may try. They will then do a precision alignment to just those specifications--not just within joke factory specifications. If you are new to Boxster alignments and drive enthusiastically, it is in your interest to learn the terminology and what affects different settings have. If you just cruise around as a casual Sunday driver and your tire wear shows nothing strange, then skip doing the alignment altogether.
Hi,

BINGO!!! You're exactly right. Guys, the best thing about the Boxster is it's precision handling, don't give it anything but the best alignment you can find.

I wouldn't go to a chain or Tire Shop with anything but my Daily Driver. Lifetime Alignments are great, if you want a lifetime of the car just not being quite right.

Dealers, Chains, Tire Shops are all about turnover - $/Bay/Day. Many of these shops pay employees bonuses based on maximizing the revenue generated by the Bay daily. That alone should tell you where their priorities (both the shop and the Tech) lay. Do it right - go to a Race Shop. I've never heard anyone say they were sorry they did...

Happy Motoring!... Jim'99
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Old 02-04-2007, 03:14 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by unklekraker
thanks guy's! I might go check the independent shop that was recomended and the other chain store shop and see what my gut feeling tells me. If it's almost the same service...I just can't justify the difference in pricing
Uncle, check out Roger Krause Racing in Castro Valley, They did my allignmet for $120. a month ago. I found the recomendation on Babblers, very professional group...
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Old 02-05-2007, 03:55 PM   #10
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Check with your local PCA guys especially the ones in charge of DEs or autocrossing, they will have several recommendations.

Find your region here:

www.pca.org
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Old 02-06-2007, 09:12 AM   #11
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I completely agree with whats been posted. On a performance car alignment is a critical issue. Unless you want the car to drive not quite right and replace tires frequently, find a good race shop. The factory tolerances are ridiculous, and any savings you may get by having Sears, etc do your alignment will be eaten away quickly in increased tire wear alone, not to mention driving enjoyment.

You didnt buy a Porsche because you wanted a vehicle to get from point A to point B in (at least I hope not). Sears is a fine shop for aligning your Kia, not so much for your German performance car.

Patrick
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Old 02-06-2007, 09:43 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by bmwm750
I completely agree with whats been posted. On a performance car alignment is a critical issue, not to mention driving enjoyment.

You didnt buy a Porsche because you wanted a vehicle to get from point A to point B in (at least I hope not). Sears is a fine shop for aligning your Kia, not so much for your German performance car.

Patrick
Ouch...good thing I dont own a KIA
Point taken..hehehehehehe! Im going to the Indy shop that's being recommended and no more Sears for me unless Im upgrading my Lawn mower or garage opener
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Old 02-06-2007, 09:55 AM   #13
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a factory spec alignment is not rocket science. Its no more complicated aligning this car than any other sports car like an S2000. The job can be done in an hour so whatever they charge for hourly labor plus the use of their equipment. Someone here said they paid $350 I nearly fell out of my chair.

Like others said go to race/speed shop first. They do those all the time and can do the job quick and correctly.
If you want to know right away if you are dealing with pros or a bunch of ex cons on parole (Jiffy Lube) then as soon as you ask about the alignment tell them that you want the numbers of your alignment before and after printed out.
if they look at you like you are from Mars get in your car and drive somewhere else.
I tried to max out my negative rear camber on my last car and one shop said they couldn't do it to the degree I wanted. Another guy said he could, it just required a little more effort. Well he hit the numbers and got my future business.
Ask if you can sit in the car during the alignment, it makes a difference.
p.s.
Leave a car all day for spec alignment? LOL. Only if I can sit there and watch you all day!
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Old 02-06-2007, 10:09 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Perfectlap
Leave a car all day for spec alignment? LOL. Only if I can sit there and watch you all day!
that's what im saying

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Old 02-06-2007, 10:41 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by NickCats
unklekraker,

When I brought the Benz in for new tires a couple of weeks ago.....
On a side note, I bought 4 new Kumho tires from Tire Rack for $200 ( for the Benz ).....

I am very happy with the Kumho's so far. Might be something to keep in mind when it's time for new shoes for the C230.

Nick
Hey Nick, thanks for the tip! I'll keep this in mind...I wont be needing to get one anytime soon but PM me the type of Kumho's you got, don't want to hi jack my own thread

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