Why Did My Puncture Repair Damage My Alignment?
August 26, 2018 7:22 AM   Subscribe

I took my AWD Nissan SUV in for a puncture repair - passenger rear - and when I drove away the steering was pulling to the right. I went back to the shop and was told that a puncture repair couldn't affect the alignment. I agreed that it was strange, but the alignment was fine pre-repair, and off post-repair. How did this happen, and is getting my alignment done the solution?
posted by 7 Minutes of Madness to Travel & Transportation (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Not just strange, more like impossible.
A worker driving your car over a curb or driving improperly over a lift in a shop, or lifting the car improperly with a jack could all affect the alignment.
I'd take the car to a competent frame/alignment shop and have it reviewed for damage. Lifting improperly on today's frameless cars can cause some bad things to happen. Get a written report if they find damage from the tire repair place.
posted by rudd135 at 8:11 AM on August 26, 2018 [5 favorites]

It is possible, but surprising, that the alignment could have been moved by jacking the car up. It can't have been affected by a puncture repair itself, but they must have jacked the car up or put it on a hoist, which doing badly *could* have bent something. They'd have to have cocked up pretty badly to have done so, though, and so it's not an immediate assumption. There would likely be visible damage under the car if that had been the case - it would be suspension link damage as it is vanishingly unlikely the chassis was bent unless it actually fell off the hoist and there'd be a LOT more damage in that event.

So I'd take it asap to a separate and decent alignment shop, tell them the story, and say "can you check the alignment, and if it is out please let me know if there are any visible signs of damage that may have caused this (something bent or otherwise damaged)".

Absolutely yes to the question of getting it aligned as the solution, though. If the shop has denied any likely fault you need to prove that something was damaged to have any recourse.
posted by Brockles at 2:47 PM on August 26, 2018

One thing that is easy to do is check the tire pressure of all four tires. After they did the repair, they may have gone around and added air to all the tires. If they made a mistake or forgot one tire, that could cause pulling.
posted by JackFlash at 4:22 PM on August 26, 2018 [4 favorites]

Update: turns out the passenger front tie rod was damaged. I can only guess that jacking up the car caused the damage. The tie rod has been replaced and the issue is no longer present. Thanks!
posted by 7 Minutes of Madness at 9:40 AM on April 29, 2019

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