‘Did my car really need an alignment?’

The Car Doc weighs in.

This undated photo made available by Volkswagen shows the 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI. The new GTI shed up to 82 pounds from its predecessor's weight and now is just over 3,000 pounds. (Volkswagen via AP)
The 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI. –Volkswagen via AP

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Q: This could be totally legit but I’d like your perspective. I took my 2015 VW GTI to the dealer for its 20,000-mile service. The mileage at the time was about 13,000, but it hadn’t been in for service in almost a year, so in it went. The service person came to me after a half hour, said the diagnostic showed it needed an alignment, and showed me a color printout to prove it. I was leery but agreed to have it done, even though I hadn’t noticed any problem with the steering or drifting to one side. As I was waiting for my car, another service person went to a man waiting for his car, told him it would soon be ready, but then told him his car needed an alignment. I spoke to the customer and asked if he felt certain he needed an alignment, and he was unsure. Was it just a coincidence that another customer needed the same service?

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A: Considering the conditions of the roads, it wouldn’t surprise me that every car needs an alignment. The numbers you provided me showed your car was out of alignment, which meant that over time it would cause some tire wear. In my opinion, having the alignment checked and corrected once per year is money well spent.

John Paul is AAA Northeast’s Car Doctor. He has over 40 years experience in the automotive business and is an ASE certified master technician. He answers readers’ questions each Saturday. You can tune in to his radio program Saturday morning from 8:30-10 a.m. on 950AM WROL or www.wrolradio.com. Email your car question to jpaul@aaanortheast.com. Follow John on Twitter @johnfpaul and friend him on Facebook mrjohnfpaul.