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Quick check of wheel alignment toe with a laser measurer

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Wheel alignment deteriorates with time due to shocks to the suspension and ageing of rubber bushes. Sometimes it happens to Lexus cars. Significant wheel misalignment can cause excessive tyre wear, non-straight steering wheel etc.

As far as I am aware wheels alignment is not a part of Lexus regular service plan, and is normally done as extra at owner's request. Usually a garage would check wheels alignment for free before you commit to pay for the adjustments, but it may take a lot of time to get to the garage, queue, get car mounted and checked. There is also a good chance that you'll be recommended the adjustments even if the imperfection is tolerable.

There is a quick and simple way to test one of the main parameters of wheel alignment - toe - using a basic laser measurer (~£20 on Amazon; very useful in home DIY).



So, you just need to check that the wheels are "parallel" to each other.

To do this, put the car on more or less level surface, wheels straight, put the measurer at the front inner side of a tyre under the car and check distance to the same spot at the opposite tyre. Then take measurement at similar spot at the rear of the tyre. If the two distances between fronts and rears of the tyres are identical, the toe is aligned. For better precision take a few consecutive measurements at each spot and pick minimum (tyre sides are concave so minimum is the most correct).

Same for front and rear wheels. In RX toe is adjustable at front and rear axles, so it is worth checking both. It should take under a minute per axle.

Ideally, the difference should be within decimal points of a millimetre. If you find difference of over a millimetre and remeasurement confirms it, then it is time to go for wheel alignment.

Typical laser measurer:


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1 hour ago, Vadim said:

As far as I am aware wheels alignment is not a part of Lexus regular service plan

4 wheel alignment check is part of the standard major service (every 20k). If adjustments are needed then there is a charge.


What is most disappointing is that many dealers don't have the facilities to do this yet the fixed price servicing means all dealers charge the same. So some people get a full geometry printout when their car goes in for a service, and my local two dealers state we just look at the tyres and let you know if there is uneven wear 🤬

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Should be easy enough to set toe to manufacturers spec but then there is castor.  Maybe worth seeing if you can get full alignment done occasionally or if tyre wear suggests, at reasonable cost on a Hunter machine.  I had this done at Lexus Cheltenham when they fitted my Cross Climates and had just installed an expensive alignment machine, although I am not sure it was a Hunter. 

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Like Colin said - alignment check is part of service, but for example Lexus Woodford never does it.

Myself I do full wheel alignment every time I replace tyres, so ~30k miles... unless I hit kerb or pothole and have some other problems like steering not straight, pulling to one side etc. which would indicate alignment issue. So for this has worked for me just fine.

I haven't noticed wheels going out of alignment by just driving (road vibration) or at least not to extent where it would require alignment. As well aligning on part worn tyres, which may have uneven wear already is kind of waste as tyre wear on one tyre could impact geometry overall. So don't do alignment before tyre change - do it after the change or together with it.

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It is good to do it periodically (once in 30k miles is very reasonable IMO), because otherwise adjustment nuts and screws can seise to extent that they will have to be cut out and replaced to do the adjustment. This is particularly a problem of with older cars.
Rear adjustment bolts in RX, which connect the lower arms to the underframe often have such issue.


Rear axle wheel alignment bolts for RX mk3 (circled red):


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  • 1 month later...

Wheel Alignment needed was flagged up at my last Lexus service, the quote was £122 with my gold club discount.

I asked them why they were charging that much for a service which typically costs around  £40, I am still waiting for the answer.

There are things which you need your  Lexus dealership to do (such as Hybrid health checks) and things you definitely don't, such as any minor jobs.

If you can't DIY to a reasonable standard, find  a good local mechanic and use the money you save to pay for the necessary  big stuff.

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