I’ve noticed my truck pulls to the left, pretty consistently, so I figured I should get it checked out. I know the truck has been in an accident before, but I don’t know if any of the damage would be related to this issue of being misaligned. The pull to the left is relatively minor, and people other than me probably wouldn’t bother having it looked at, but I to keep things in good working order when I reasonably can.
Wheel alignments can tell you about a vehicle’s past and future. If the vehicle cannot be properly aligned, and it’s in a situation where it’s going to chew through tires, time to get a new vehicle. If, however, only adjustments are needed (likely from driving on MN roads), then everything is probably OK and it’s worthwhile to keep the vehicle.
Since I probably won’t have the funds to buy a newer truck for a lot longer than I’d like, I’m using this alignment diagnostic as a test to see if I should bother putting new tires on, or just keep the heavily-worn tires that are already on it. If the alignment comes back as just a minor adjustment, then I’ll probably get new tires sometime early next year. If there’s a major problem, then I won’t bother with new tires and I’ll just put the replacement truck higher up on the shopping priority list.
So what’s the deal with the Saturn in the driveway? I just found it highly amusing that the repair shop I took my truck to let me use a free loaner to get myself around while my truck is waiting in their queue. They gave me an old Saturn, pretty similar to the one I used to own. My old Saturn (named Mollie), was purchased new in 1999 and I proceeded to put 200,000 miles on her and then give her to my brother. Rumor has it he put another 100,000 on and then sold it off to someone else. Mollie was an awesome car.
[Fade to black and then fade in to the next day…]
Got a call from the shop, and as expected, things weren’t quite happy with the truck. The reason it’s wandering around is because the front upper left and right ball joints are wearing out. Also, just to make the truck a bit more “fun” to drive, the links to the sway bar in the front are broken. None of this is a safety issue at this point. The sway bar links aren’t technically necessary, but they help the truck roll less when cornering. Since I corner like a grandpa in this thing anyways, that’s not much of a concern for me. The ball joints are apparently just starting to show their age, and aren’t at a critical point yet, so I’m going to continue to use them as-is.
But what if I wanted to actually go ahead and fix just these issues? $980.81. Yep, I don’t think that’s going to happen.
What all of this tells me: I’m not going to bother buying new tires for the truck. Or fix these issues. I’m pretty much driving the thing into the ground, or at least until I can afford to get a better truck.