Alignment Tips to Boost Your Shop’s Profitability

What would you do with more hours in the day? Probably try to be more profitable and productive, I bet. So why would you risk those advantages if you have faulty alignment tools? In this Tire Review Continental Tire Garage Studio video, we give you eight tips to help you make your alignment services more profitable and productive.

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First things first: check your self-calibrating steering angle sensors. These sensors determine if the vehicle is traveling straight. This is why it is always a good idea to test-drive a car after an alignment, as well as perform one lock-to-lock turn before leaving the alignment bay.

Second, do not forget about the tires! Like every part of a car, tires and wheels are made with tolerances. You can try discovering the primary reason for the pull, where alignment can be thrown off due to regular driving as the miles add up, or a run-in with a pothole, or any other type of accident as well.

The third tip is to always check tire inflation pressures since a low tire will pull. It’s also important to note tire sizes. A car will pull toward the side with the smallest tires or the side with wider tires. A wide tire offers greater rolling resistance than a narrower tire.

Tip number four- make sure you hit as close to the preferred setting as possible. When doing an alignment, you want to aim for the midpoint or preferred setting within a range of adequate specs compared to the OE. When that isn’t possible, make sure you’re at least within the range of acceptable specs.

Our fifth tip is to fight the crown- road crown, that is. Steering pull that’s caused by road crown can sometimes be compensated by adding a positive caster to the left front wheel compared to the right front. You don’t need much, just enough to offset the road crown which slopes to the right.

Tip six is to take notes- seriously! A service writer’s note to the technician should answer the following questions: Why does the vehicle require an alignment? Does it pull? Which way? When does it pull? What is the vehicle used for? The service writer needs to include all relevant information.

Our seventh tip is to keep technology in the service bay. With most modern alignment consoles, the service information is incorporated into the core operating software of the system. Most of these systems are PC-based and allow you to go onto the internet to look for information and even order parts. These are crucial in a modern tire industry environment.

Last, but not least, our eighth tip is to test drive the vehicle before you give it back to the customer. A simple test drive can reveal a lot of problems that might have been otherwise overlooked. Sure, test drives take time, but so do comebacks. Think of it as a final quality-control check.