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Discussion Starter #1
Only have 3450 mile on my 19 MDX Hybrid Adv since March 2019 with mostly city driving. Only one short trip out of town to Santa Fe (120 miles round trip) and noticed the rear seat head rests vibrating at hwy speeds. Hard to tell about alignment because of road quality (a ton of 18-wheelers wrecking the road surface) and LKAS always adjusting. Planning a drive to San Antonio for 2 week at the start of October for my first road trip and just had to double-check wheel balance and alignment. Discount Tires did a road force balance on all four and found passenger rear out of specs ($25 per tire). Firestone did the alignment and found 7 alignment points out of 14 that needed adjustment ($230 for alignment+lifetime warranty). The only thing they couldn't adjust from yellow back into the green was the rear camber and they said that was within specs with Acura.

Alignments w/ or w/o lifetime warranty isn't for everyone. I usually keep my vehicles +10 years and +150,000 miles. The road hazard/rotation/balance and alignment warranties start to pay for themselves the longer you keep your vehicle. I will find out on Monday how the MDX rides on the hwy after the adjustments.

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The alignment of my 2014 MDX was off, from the factory. I noticed a tramlining effect and twitchiness within days of getting the car. Acura checked the alignment and sure enough it was off, considerably. This was my first Honda car, ever, and I thought “Wow, if this is the fabled Honda quality I’m not impressed”. Fortunately, that was just about the last thing that I needed fixed in about 60K miles of driving.

On my 2017 hybrid I have noticed nothing unusual and now have 40K miles on the original tires, and they are just about shot. I have never had to have a road force balance on a car other than BMWs, which seem to have incredibly touchy suspensions to even slightly out of balance tires.

It’s an intersting thing about alignment. In the “olden days” I used to have to get my cars aligned fairly routinely. Now I hardly ever need to do it. Cars seem to be much better in this respect. I put a quarter million miles on a BMW and I don’t recall ever having it aligned. I had it checked once and it was right on the money. If the car drives normally and the tires are wearing evenly I don’t even think about alignment anymore.

In 55 years of owning cars I have had exactly three road hazard hits to a tire. So I go self-insured when they offer me that one.
 

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Vehicles shouldn't need frequent alignments. If the alignment changes it usually is due to a steering/suspension component becoming very worn and the component needs to be replaced. Of course, the vehicle needs to be aligned when all the components are installed initially so if the factory is doing a poor job of aligning to their own spec then it'll need to be re-aligned. Random hitting of bumps and the like shouldn't cause it to go out of alignment either unless it was so severe as to cause damage to a component.

My Durango I kept for 235K miles and never needed to have it re-aligned and ditto for multiple other vehicles I kept for over 100K miles each.

Given what MrGold and BGK stated - maybe it'd be a good idea to make it part of the delivery acceptance that the dealer check the alignment and provide a printout like the one he posted since apparently the factory procedures and quality control in this area may be lacking.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Just made it into San Antonio after driving non stop from ABQ. The road force balance fixed the vibration issue I was seeing with the rear seat headrests. Really hard to tell before/after with the alignment because the roads are so varied from new to really worn with a lot of groves. I've kept lane keeping assist on because it really lightens up the steering input when driving (road departure on because I departed at 2:30am). It felt better at hwy speeds of 75-85 mph compared to my first short trip to Santa Fe. Texas state hwys are usually 2X- 5X better compared to NM state hwys.
 

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When I picked up my MDX, it pulled to the left so severely that I could take my hands off the wheel and completely change lanes in a few hundred feet. The dealer wanted to charge me for an alignment, because that's not covered under warranty. WTF?!? After raising a stink, service agreed to do it for free, with results noted on the attached report. Unfortunately, even though it met specs, the car still drifted to the left, just not as badly unless I accelerate rapidly. Another annoyance is that the technician in the shop messed up the steering wheel alignment, so that if it's on the straight and level, the car aims to the right. @#$%@!!! Sooner or later, I will find some place other than the dealer to see if this can all be fixed.

MDX alignment copy.jpg
 

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What happened exactly? Did discount tire or Firestone fixed your alignment? Which place is better at alignment? Can you explain their technical difference?

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Did discount tire or Firestone fixed your alignment? Which place is better at alignment? Can you explain their technical difference?
As far as I know - Discount Tire doesn't do alignments - they sell tires and wheels and they do balancing.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I like to go to Discount Tires because they can warranty OEM tires for road hazard; which, includes flat repair, rotations, and balance for the the life of the tires (about $38 per tire). The cost of the Road Hazard warranty pays for itself compared to letting Acura do the rotation/balance during the M.I.D. services. I paid extra ($25 per tire) to do the Road Force balance to ensure the OEM tires were perfectly balance and mounted on the 20" Berlina rims for minimal balance weights, balance, and smoothness at hwy speeds of 70-85 mph.

I keep my vehicles for +10 years and +150,000 miles and getting the lifetime alignment from Firestone saves me money in the long run. It really pays for itself when I need suspension repairs at any shop and I can have Firestone do the alignment for free. Both my 06 TSX and 08 RDX needed struts, shocks, upper control arms, rear camber kits, or endlinks on several occasions and Firestone alignment saved me +$500 of extra cost.

I was really just curious if the OEM factory settings were spot on or quality control was off the day my hybrid was built. Both Discount Tires and Firestone made some corrections; which, smoothed out some minor issues from an already excellent ride on my 19 MDX.

It is really hard to tell if the alignment was off on the 19 MDX between LKAS and poor road conditions with uneven road surfaces in city or hwy driving.
 

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The alignment of my 2014 MDX was off, from the factory. I noticed a tramlining effect and twitchiness within days of getting the car. Acura checked the alignment and sure enough it was off, considerably. This was my first Honda car, ever, and I thought “Wow, if this is the fabled Honda quality I’m not impressed”. Fortunately, that was just about the last thing that I needed fixed in about 60K miles of driving.

On my 2017 hybrid I have noticed nothing unusual and now have 40K miles on the original tires, and they are just about shot. I have never had to have a road force balance on a car other than BMWs, which seem to have incredibly touchy suspensions to even slightly out of balance tires.

It’s an intersting thing about alignment. In the “olden days” I used to have to get my cars aligned fairly routinely. Now I hardly ever need to do it. Cars seem to be much better in this respect. I put a quarter million miles on a BMW and I don’t recall ever having it aligned. I had it checked once and it was right on the money. If the car drives normally and the tires are wearing evenly I don’t even think about alignment anymore.

In 55 years of owning cars I have had exactly three road hazard hits to a tire. So I go self-insured when they offer me that one.
My alignment was also way off on my 2017 Hybrid, dealer re-did it for me at N/C, hard to believe they can't align them at the factory, at 53,000 miles it is still good.
 
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