Just had a dealer service at 48,000km and walked out with a $500 invoice. Some of it is routine
maintenance but a wheel alignment was unexpected. The technician showed me that the rear tires had a
"feathering" on the inside edges. I was told that this is normal and the alignment needs to be checked and
adjusted on a regular basis. I have never owned a vehicle that required this sort of maintenance. Is there
something that would cause the alignment to change other than impacts (which I have not had). Is there
something in the design of the chassis that loosens or moves that causes the alignment to change. I have
owned the car since new (May 2011) and if the alignment needs adjusting every year, that concerns me.
Anyone have similar experiences or know why this is?
The short answer is no. There is no real reason to check wheel alignment that often, but it is a fairly good practice for any vehicle. I know that sounds contradictory but somethings normal day-to-day driving can cause problems such as bad bushings or bearings. Bent suspension arms. Bad, bent or leaking shocks and an alignment once in a while can let those things be found. Of course a good thorough inspection can also do the same thing, but while you're there, why not check the alignment too? As for the "feathering," yes for a Mazda3 that is "normal," but can be costly in the form of tires. The upper control arms can be changed to adjustable aftermarket ones that will allow the negative camber Mazda dials in to be adjusted out somewhat. Mazda allows up to 2.25* of negative camber, IIRC. I installed the adjustable arms and set mine at -1*. My tires are much happier now, and last much longer too. Good investment. Below is a picture of what they look like....
Wow, -2.25! Thays good if your on the track 24/7. Could imagine the wear problems are rediculous.
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