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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Wheels and Tires Forum Sponsored by The Tire Rack > Alignment and Balance



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      10-21-2012, 08:31 PM   #1
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Exclamation Alignment and Balance

Hello all I want to get a Balance and Alignment done on my E90 335i been noticing uneven tread wear on the front passenger tire on the outer side. I live in Tampa, FL can I just take it to a Tires Plus, Tires Choice, Pep Boys etc and get the lifetime alignment and balance package. Or should I take in into the dealer? The wheels and tires on there now are stock 18 inch the ones that come on sport package. Any other tires shops would be appreciated, some say the car has to be weighed down when doing the alignment?
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      10-22-2012, 12:08 AM   #2
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I just got an alignment and balance last Friday at my local stealership and it was $150. They are very accurate though, within 1/1000 degree. It was pulling to the right after my new wheels were installed but it is straight as an arrow now. I was going to try Firestone but they are not as precise from what I hear.
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      10-22-2012, 10:58 AM   #3
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i will try and find out the price from my local dealer. did that include a balance?
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      10-22-2012, 11:16 PM   #4
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My local garages refused to do the alignment, saying they could not because BMW uses special weights to pre-load the suspension on the lift before setting the alignment, and they did not own the weights necessary to do it properly.

FYI my dealer wants $225 to do a 4-wheel alignment.
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      10-22-2012, 11:16 PM   #5
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I had Bell Tire install some new General GMAX AS-03 tires on Saturday and then had the dealership do the alignment today and it was $100. Bell Tire said to do the alignment right I really needed to take it to the dealership. I have a 2006 330xi. The alignment was pretty far out according to the before and after numbers. With a great alignment and those new tires it rides so sweet now, I'm loving it.

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=653517
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      10-22-2012, 11:40 PM   #6
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lmk who does yours..i was thinking of going to like Lutz or someone... or doing those life time alignments for like $200
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      10-23-2012, 08:00 PM   #7
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yea im not really concerned about the balance just the alignment...maybe i should take it into the dealer??... I know some shops offer a life time alignment. A buddy of mine said he can do the alignment but when he does it 4 people will have to sit in the car while the alignment is performed...
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      10-23-2012, 09:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTstunna612 View Post
yea im not really concerned about the balance just the alignment...maybe i should take it into the dealer??... I know some shops offer a life time alignment. A buddy of mine said he can do the alignment but when he does it 4 people will have to sit in the car while the alignment is performed...
Sounds like they're trying to fake the preload weights that BMW uses. And really, do you want to half-ass your BMW alignment like that? lol
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      10-23-2012, 09:43 PM   #9
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could it be that ... or could it be that they just want to align it at maximum weight? So its still kinda in alignment when there are 4 ppl in it???
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      10-23-2012, 10:00 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by fordperf View Post
Sounds like they're trying to fake the preload weights that BMW uses. And really, do you want to half-ass your BMW alignment like that? lol
lol...gonna contact the dealer
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      10-23-2012, 10:04 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by BMVeh View Post
could it be that ... or could it be that they just want to align it at maximum weight? So its still kinda in alignment when there are 4 ppl in it???
I'm not sure what to do...might just take it to the dealer...
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      10-23-2012, 10:17 PM   #12
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This is what I was told (by a non-BMW garage):

BMW is different in that they tune their alignments when the car's suspension is weighed down by a calculated amount of sprung weight. The amount varies on which BMW it is, and where it is (USA vs UK, he said). That way, the car is actually IN perfect alignment when the driver is in the car driving, and is OUT of alignment when there is nobody in the car. This is the opposite of most auto manufacturers who simply align the car with no weight in it; thus when the driver sits in the car, the car actually goes slightly OUT of alignment.

He went on to say that the weights used a particular per-BMW. For example, the 335 is generally owned by a single male enthusiast, so they hang a 70 kg weight on the drivers side, and some weight that represents stuff in the trunk (golf clubs, etc). For the 5 and X series, they add more weight to simulate families and junk.

Anyway, the garage (a Pep Boys) refused to do the alignment, saying without the weights they would just screw up my car (a 335xi). If his story is true, I am glad he didn't screw up my car and actually I plan to use him again in the future for being honest and explaining the process to me, rather than treating me as some know-nothing customer. I think from our conversation he realized I knew enough about cars to question a bad alignment.
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      10-23-2012, 10:33 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fordperf View Post
This is what I was told (by a non-BMW garage):

BMW is different in that they tune their alignments when the car's suspension is weighed down by a calculated amount of sprung weight. The amount varies on which BMW it is, and where it is (USA vs UK, he said). That way, the car is actually IN perfect alignment when the driver is in the car driving, and is OUT of alignment when there is nobody in the car. This is the opposite of most auto manufacturers who simply align the car with no weight in it; thus when the driver sits in the car, the car actually goes slightly OUT of alignment.

He went on to say that the weights used a particular per-BMW. For example, the 335 is generally owned by a single male enthusiast, so they hang a 70 kg weight on the drivers side, and some weight that represents stuff in the trunk (golf clubs, etc). For the 5 and X series, they add more weight to simulate families and junk.

Anyway, the garage (a Pep Boys) refused to do the alignment, saying without the weights they would just screw up my car (a 335xi). If his story is true, I am glad he didn't screw up my car and actually I plan to use him again in the future for being honest and explaining the process to me, rather than treating me as some know-nothing customer. I think from our conversation he realized I knew enough about cars to question a bad alignment.

so your saying a BMW dealer will do the alignment the correct way?
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      10-23-2012, 10:36 PM   #14
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Don't take it to Pep Boys/etc ... please. This is a BMW, not some sheepmobile.

A BMW dealer would be your best bet if you can't find an indy shop that specializes in BMWs. Check your Florida regional forum:
http://www.e90post.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=211

Edit: that's for alignment. Wheel balancing you can get done pretty much anywhere assuming you're not looking for road force balancing.
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      10-23-2012, 10:37 PM   #15
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so your saying a BMW dealer will do the alignment the correct way?
God I hope so lol
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      10-23-2012, 10:38 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by CJ421 View Post
Don't take it to Pep Boys/etc ... please. This is a BMW, not some sheepmobile.
I wasn't about to pay $150 to balance 4 wheels at the stealer. It's a wheel, it spins, machine beeps and says 'put weight here'. I don't need BMW for that
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      10-23-2012, 10:40 PM   #17
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I wasn't about to pay $150 to balance 4 wheels at the stealer. It's a wheel, it spins, machine beeps and says 'put weight here'. I don't need BMW for that
I was referring to the alignment bit, mostly. Agreed on balancing; you can get that done almost anywhere, not rocket science.
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      10-23-2012, 10:41 PM   #18
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Agreed. There are some things that don't require a German touch, and some that do.
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      10-23-2012, 10:43 PM   #19
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God I hope so lol
lol
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      11-15-2012, 11:16 PM   #20
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Having the same dilemma myself.

Got myself some winter tires, and after seeing the previous ones, the tire shop recommended an alignment (not firestone. It was discount tire - they don't have an alignment rack. they said it was just a suggestion)

Have a deal through firestone to do lifetime alignments for $159, or take to my local BMW indy shop to have done for $105 each time.
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      11-16-2012, 05:25 PM   #21
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I've had firestone lifetime. No issues with the shop I go to. However, different shops have nicer equipment than others. Another thing to consider is the technician's skill level. If he's a good tech, he'll spend the time tweaking your camber and toe to get your toe as close to 0 as possible. Others will get it within spec and leave it as is.
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      11-17-2012, 04:59 PM   #22
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You want someone who knows how to work on BMWs doing the alignment because in the chance that you have a suspension issue, they can spot it and recommend the appropriate repairs before they align it. Also, BMW has a range for specs and depending on where the shop picks in the spec to set your car it can dramatically effect handling and tire wear. Your best bet would be finding a local independent/enthusiast shop that specializes in BMWs or dealer.

As far as balancing. Personally, I have had a hard time finding someone who will take the time to do it carefully and correctly the first time. I'd rather pay more and not have to come back 4 times. But I realize these things aren't mutually exclusive.

Last edited by asus389; 11-17-2012 at 06:26 PM.
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