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It's time for me to replace the tires on my 2016 4Runner with 64K miles, and I noticed on the tire shop's web site that they offer 4-wheel alignment as an additional service for $69 when buying a new set of tires.

Does a 4-wheel alignment actually do anything useful on an undamaged vehicle? And is it advisable to do it routinely when replacing tires? I've not noticed any symptoms of misalignment such as vibrations or pulling to one side. I do notice, however, that the front wheels are significantly more worn on the inside tread than outside. Is that a symptom of misalignment?

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Considering with most vehicles today there's no way to actually adjust the rear suspension alignment unless you replace parts, some would argue a 4-wheel alignment really doesn't do much at all. There are some reasons to get a 4-wheel alignment over a 2-wheel alignment, though.

The big thing it provides over a 2-wheel alignment is, it gives you understanding if there are any problems with your alignment overall. Even if you can't adjust the rear alignment, if the rear alignment is out, it can tell you if there might be worn parts, like suspension bushings, or damaged parts. This would give you indication there are other problems which need to be looked at. With newer vehicles which probably wouldn't have worn suspension parts, about the best it can do is give you peace of mind.

It is my opinion getting an alignment is a good thing when buying new tires. While it is an added expense, it helps you to protect your investment so you can get the most out of your tires. It's sort of a crap shoot getting a 4-wheel alignment versus a 2-wheel one, but for the small added cost it can, as I said, give you a little peace of mind.

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  • That's what I thought -- that there's really no way to align the rear wheels without replacing stuff. So with a low-mileage 2016 Toyota truck, I'm going to skip the 4-wheel deal. But given the uneven tread wear in front, I'm thinking a 2-wheel alignment might make sense. Feb 14, 2023 at 1:25

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