Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Sunnyvale, California, US
Rep Power: 0
Wheel Alignment Question
I recently had wheel alignment done on my 2001 Honda Civic, and since I
don't know much about wheel alignments, I thought I would ask a question
or two on this forum.
The scoop is this: a few month after I bought the car, the steering became
sloppy. Going in a straight line at highway speeds, the car would drift
slightly left and right, especially when there was wind or small bumps in
the road. The steering wheel felt stiffer, too, and less precise.
I often check tire pressure so I could rule out that possibility. The
dealerships claimed that all steering components were ok. So, just last
week, I decided to check wheel alignment (under warranty, since I am still
Here is the before and after printout I got from them.
The format of all lines is:
ACTUAL, BEFORE, [SPECIFIED RANGE], in degrees.
2001 Honda Civic
Front left tire
Camber: -0.3 , -0.3, [-0.8, 0.8]
Caster: 1.2, 1.2, [0.6, 2.6]
Toe: 0.02 (again, everything is in degrees), -0.02, [-0.12, 0.12]
SAI: 14,1, 14.1 
Front right tire
Camber: -0.9, -0.8, [-0.8, 0.8]
Caster: 1.5, 1.5, [0.6-2.6]
Toe: -0.01, -0.05, [-0.12, 0.12]
SAI: 15.0, 14.9 
Rear left tire
Camber: -0.3, -0.4 [-1.5, 0.0]
Toe: 0.10, 0.11, [0.04, 0.16]
Rear right tire
Camber: -1.2, -1.1, [-1.5, 0.0]
Toe: 0.06, 0.00, [0.04, 0.16]
The alignment helped, but not too much. There is still a lack of stability
at highway speeds. In addition, the steering wheel is now off-center by
about 1/3 of an inch (which I heard was a common problem with alignments).
I'd like to go to another dealer and do yet another alignment, but I would
like to be prepared this time. The questions are:
1) Regarding the alignment above, did the dealer do a good job? Do I need
another alignment? What would be a good alignment for better straight-line
stability, without increasing wear on the tires too much?
2) Should I be worried about the right camber being out of spec (-0.9
degree vs. the allowable -0.8 degree)? I know camber is not adjustable in
these cars (but can be fixed by replacing parts). I have been extremely
careful with the Civic and have not hit anything to cause the camber to
change. The car hasn't been involved in any accidents. Should I ask the
dealer to try to fix it, or is it not a big deal?
3) If I need another alignment, can you recommend a dealer in the San Jose, CA
Many thanks in advance!