Get your alignment checked

Get your alignment checked

I have a P85+ with 730 miles now. Delivery two weeks ago. Decided to go to Firestone and get alignment checked given the variability in tire wear reports. My rear toe was out of spec a little. Range is 0.10 to 0.30. Mine was 0.46 Left and 0.08 Right. Total Toe was in spec 0.53 (range is 0.20-0.60), but the mechanic explained that it means my car was crabbing down the road a little when I was going straight (rear tires parallel to each other, but not pointed straight forward with the fronts), and that scrubs the tires a little. He easily got everything perfect. 0.22 L, 0.21 R, 0.44 Total

I called the Service Center in Denver to ask if alignment is included in the Annual service, and he said NO. Tire rotation is included, alignment is not. Therefore I got the LifeTime alignment at Firestone for less than the cost of one tire (under $200). I can take it in every 6 months and have them recheck it. I think it is well worth it and something everyone should do with tires that can wear this fast.

He did need this information to figure out how to do the alignment on the rear, given to me by Lolachampcar:
One hint would be to let any non-Tesla shop know that toe can be done in the rear without removing any floor panels. A ratchet, extension and socket allows for loosening and tightening the toe adjuster nut while a simple end wrench allows you to hold the bolt from rotating on the other side(a bit of a PITA). The ratchet handle will be just aft of the rear of the lower a-arm where there is room to get your hand on it.

Now that I think about it, I wish I had taken a picture of the bolt they have to turn....

justineet | 05. juli 2013

Good Job rdAlccanto..... as they say an ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure!

lolachampcar | 05. juli 2013

I can get a pic of the toe adjuster eccentric when I do the links on my new P85+ (in two weeks).

WRT toe setting, you may want to ask him to point the rear wheels straight ahead (zero toe). This will improve milage and decrease wear.

I too had a thrust angle problem with my car when the SC did my alignment. It was small but my car was crabbing as well.

lolachampcar | 05. juli 2013

Oh, Tire Kingdom has an affordable lifetime alignment as well :)

AmpedRealtor | 05. juli 2013

Is it okay for non-Tesla service to perform alignment on this vehicle as well as tire rotations? Are those things pretty much the same as other cars? I'm not a mechanic and only open the hood of my Prius to top off the windshield fluid. Would I be better off having Tesla service perform the alignment?

rdalcanto | 05. juli 2013

I should add that the tech will need your help. When they get it on the alignment rack, they will get out to adjust things. Then they need the car in neutral to roll the car by hand to the exact spot they want it. He let me climb into the car, and then with the door open, I put the car in neutral, and then powered the car off on the screen. When I got out and closed the door, it stayed in neutral until we did something. The doors autolocked. He then wanted to open the door again to check the air pressure recommendations on the inside door. I unlocked the doors with the FOB, and that turned the car back on and put the parking brake back on. So I had to get back in and do it again so he could roll the car again.

I also want to add that I don't think of this as a Tesla defect in any way. I'm sure if you take any high horse power sedan and check the alignment after some hard driving and a few miles, it will probably shift a little from the factory. That is why even after you have the alignment done, it needs to be re-done every 6-12 months. We are talking about small tolerances here.

rdalcanto | 05. juli 2013

Yes, alignments are not a big deal. The tip I gave earlier about how to get to the bolt without taking the floor panel off is all they need to know (along with how to get the car to stay in neutral). Firestone does far more alignments that a Tesla Service center. Experience and the quality of the tech if probably more important than the name on the Shop. Tire rotations are even easier. No need for Tesla to rotate your tires.

rdalcanto | 05. juli 2013

P.S. - No Tesla Service center in my state yet, so I didn't have a choice.

tobi_ger | 05. juli 2013

Does the "jack" mode of air suspension models help or is it even undesired for any such alignment/adjustment service? Just curious.

rdalcanto | 05. juli 2013

Car needs to be in Standard height mode. No need for "jack" mode since the car is never being lifted, and is on the wheels the entire time.

tobi_ger | 05. juli 2013

Got it, thank you.

lolachampcar | 05. juli 2013

The Tesla SC even had me sit in the car for proper loading when they did the alignment.

Any shop can do the alignment, just tell them it is toe only in the rear to keep them from pulling off all the floor panels looking for camber adjustment.

Tesla did check the ride height for me (in Standard mode) as there was a 1/2 degree spread between the right and left side camber readings (both front and rear). Ride height was good. I spoke with Tesla engineering about the spread and that was when we talked about "bolt slop" being a source for very small camber adjustments.

Kimscar | 05. juli 2013

@rdalcanto. It would be nice to track your tire wear since you've had an alignment done early on and the numbers look great. Not sure how many miles you put on a year and how you drive but a future update on tires would be cool. I'm torn between the 19 or 21 inch tires but I am leaning towards the 19 on a P85 next July.

Schlermie | 05. juli 2013

The Denver service center was mistaken about the alignment. The service agreement clearly states that wheel alignment is included in the scheduled maintenance.

markapeterman | 05. juli 2013

+1 Schlermie

Another ignorant Telsa employee - I would always challenge anything that doesn't sound right.

Velo1 | 05. juli 2013

on July 3rd I had my second tire rotation at 7,000 miles (1st one at 3,500 miles), and specifically asked the Service Center to check alignment. Everything is fine, still well within specs. I looked closely at the tires while the car was on the lift and there was no unusual wear showing. I am 85kW with air suspension, it that helps.

David Trushin | 05. juli 2013

It is possible that rdalcanto was told that he could not get alignment because rangers can't do alignment at your home and rdalcanto has no sc nearby.

rdalcanto | 05. juli 2013

I didn't tell the guy I wasn't local. I simply asked if an alignment was included in the annual service, because I was debating between a one time alignment vs the more expensive life time since we are getting a service center in Salt Lake City soon. I paid for the life time based on the answer I got. Oh well, I will be able to check it at 6 month intervals for free now....

I have a tire gage and will track wear. I have an AWD ICE vehicle that I will be driving a lot in the winter to take the boys to ski team practice, but will probably still put 8-10,000 miles on the MS/year.

Brant | 05. juli 2013

Just called the Firestone in Campbell, CA
Told that they are "not equipped" to work on a Tesla
Guess I need to call around
Anyone in the greater San Jose area find a place to do this?

David Trushin | 05. juli 2013

Quoted from the service agreement:

The regularly scheduled maintenance inspections shall include the following (subject to change by Tesla
at any time and without notice, in its sole discretion):
• Vehicle inspection;
• Replacement or repair at the time of inspection of normal maintenance items and wear and tear
parts, excluding the Battery and tires;
• Wheel alignment*; and
• Tire rotation*.
* Must be done at a Tesla Service Center and cannot be performed by a Tesla Ranger. If Your scheduled
maintenance is performed by a Tesla Ranger, You may schedule this service at no additional charge with
advance notice to a Tesla Authorized Service Center.

sorka95032 | 18. mars 2015

Toyota does one free alignment within the first 21K miles or 12 months.

I'd hope that as part of the baseline vehicle documentation that Tesla includes the alignment sheet as they do a 4 wheel alignment near the end of production.