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I just had new tires mounted on 2002 W210 e430 4matic and decided to do an alignment. But I'm tired of paying MB Dealer ~$150 for the alignment each time. I found out that Firestone Auto Care has a lifetime alignment for ~$140 and they are ok with doing it on W210.

What do you guys think about having an alignment done outside of MB Dealers/mechanics? Is w210 alignment tricky?

Many thanks!
 

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I also considered their lifetime alignment…my local Firestone shop was also “okay with doing it” on my W124 but they didn’t have a clue on what a spreader bar was and what it was used for. They said that they did computerized alignments and that nothing else was needed. ..yea, right. :rolleyes:
I’ve read just too many horror stories about Mercedes owners, in trying to save a buck or two, taking their cars to unqualified alignment shops and ultimately being unhappy as the end result.
I for one, decided to bite the bullet and pay the required $125 bucks for a correct alignment at the dealer – although it took them a couple of tries due to faulty equipment. But, the final result was a car that tracks perfectly now and a very satisfied and happy driver.
 

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I also considered their lifetime alignment…my local Firestone shop was also “okay with doing it” on my W124 but they didn’t have a clue on what a spreader bar was and what it was used for. They said that they did computerized alignments and that nothing else was needed. ..yea, right. :rolleyes:
I’ve read just too many horror stories about Mercedes owners, in trying to save a buck or two, taking their cars to unqualified alignment shops and ultimately being unhappy as the end result.
I for one, decided to bite the bullet and pay the required $125 bucks for a correct alignment at the dealer – although it took them a couple of tries due to faulty equipment. But, the final result was a car that tracks perfectly now and a very satisfied and happy driver.
Can anyone warrant that only MB dealers to perform alignment? Is it because of the specialized design of MB? That is kind of hard to believe. Of course, I am no mechanic but I would assume if u can get access to the spec and have the right tools, u should be able to do it.
 

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I am sure there are good shops that are versed in properly aligning Mercedes automobiles; the hard part is finding one. Personally, I not only want the shop to have access to the specs and have the right tools, but I want them to be proficient in aligning our Mercedes. I found a shop that had the spreader bar but their tech guy on duty had never used one before – “but we’ve done a few Mercedes before” they said. I didn’t want my car to be their learning tool.
I’ve found many “good” shops that have claimed to have aligned lots of Mercedes cars but don’t have a clue what a spreader bar is or how to use it.
I want to take my car to a shop that KNOWS how to align my car – one that KNOWS the specs and HAS and KNOWS how to use the proper tools; not to one that should know if he had the specs and tools.
Until I find such a shop or someone wholeheartedly recommends one that meets the above criteria; I’ll be taking my car to the dealer…$$$...ouch!
Good luck to you and let us know if you find a good shop.
 

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Curly,

I find the thinking that somehow Mercedes cars are vastly different then any other car on the market rather funny!

Cmon, they are great cars .. awesome. High qulality materials and feature rich which makes them high priced .. but for the most part they are no different mechanically then any other car on the road.

Do you think the front end is really any different then a BMW, Audi, Lexus, Acura, Volvo .. etc???

Is the engine not gas combustion? Do they not have oil pans, and lifters and plugs?

I'll take an independant shop (with the correct computer equipment for diagnostics) and a mechanic with many years of experience (but not old enough wherein he hasn't adapted to computers) over the green and inexperienced guys at the dealers.

The really good mechanics don't stay at the dealers for to long as they pay them much less then they can make out at an indie ...
 

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Curly,

I find the thinking that somehow Mercedes cars are vastly different then any other car on the market rather funny!

Cmon, they are great cars .. awesome. High qulality materials and feature rich which makes them high priced .. but for the most part they are no different mechanically then any other car on the road.

Do you think the front end is really any different then a BMW, Audi, Lexus, Acura, Volvo .. etc???

Is the engine not gas combustion? Do they not have oil pans, and lifters and plugs?

I'll take an independant shop (with the correct computer equipment for diagnostics) and a mechanic with many years of experience (but not old enough wherein he hasn't adapted to computers) over the green and inexperienced guys at the dealers.

The really good mechanics don't stay at the dealers for to long as they pay them much less then they can make out at an indie ...
Looking back at my posts in this thread does look like I’m ranting…wow, I guess I was just a little frustrated.
I never said anything about our cars being totally different than other cars – you’re stretching it there sport :rolleyes:
I was just talking about the alignment on my car. All I was asking the shops I called or visited was if they used a spreader bar to align my car, if they said no, I moved on. I chose to follow Mercedes recommendation on the alignment this time around because of a prior experience with an indy not using the proper required tools.
You are being pretty general on your recommendations for a good alignment shop – do you know of anyone that meets the qualifications in your criterion? If you do, maybe you should post where the shop is so that other members needing an alignment can benefit :)
 

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I didn't walk away from your post thinking of it as a rant ... I just wanted to raise the topic of perceptions we have with our MB's ..

I rasied a question the other day over on mbworld.org E211 forum) asking how many work on their own cars ..

Most did not .. citing it being a MB and so complicated compared to other cars .. even some of those who work on their other non MB cars had similar responses! That thoroughly shocks me!

And that type of perception is why MB, BMW etc dealers get away with charging so much more .. Don't get me wrong, there obviously may be some additional time needed on a MB as opposed a Honda Accord ... and parts may be higher quality and cost a bit more but to charge 2x as much to replace brake pads??? MB brake pad replacement is easier then a Honda!

So enough of MY rant! I've used non dealer alignment shops in Central Jersey with good results ....
 

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So enough of MY rant! I've used non dealer alignment shops in Central Jersey with good results ....
As long as they know what a spreader bar is and know how to use it, then they should be OK. the point is NOT EVERY shop knows that.
 

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I take my 1979 to the dealer each time but as far as I know they do't use a spreader bar. I'll ask next time.

May I ask a dumb question, what is a spreader bar and how is it used?
 

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I take my 1979 to the dealer each time but as far as I know they do't use a spreader bar. I'll ask next time.

May I ask a dumb question, what is a spreader bar and how is it used?
79Mercy – I don’t know all the technical jargon so I’ll just quote my MERCEDES-BENZ E-Class Owners Bible – “When setting front end alignment, a spreader bar must be used when adjusting the toe. This is a spring loaded bar that forces the front wheels apart with 90 – 110 Nm (66 – 81 ft-lb) of force. The use of a spreader bar allows the alignment to duplicate driving conditions by preloading the rubber bushings in the suspension. The use of a spreader bar is the only way to get an accurate front end alignment”
 

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I take my 1979 to the dealer each time but as far as I know they do't use a spreader bar. I'll ask next time.

May I ask a dumb question, what is a spreader bar and how is it used?
May be Your 1979 CE is old enough to be BS (Before Spreader Bar ?):rolleyes:
 

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Are you calling my car to old?

curlytom, thanks.
 

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Well, 30 years is old, but on the other hand NO MERCEDES IS TOO OLD, especially the 2 door type :thumbsup:
 

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It is 30 years old but you wouldn't know it to drive it. Runs like a new car on its original engine and transmission.
 

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I think this was the problem with one of my alignments. I took it to a shop my friend uses and the car just didn't seem right afterward so I stopped in again and the owner showed me the spec sheet. It LOOKED on but didn't mean it drove ok so I took it to the dealer and it was perfect afterwards. Whatever the reason, this is my vote for taking it to someone who knows exactly what they are doing.
 

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In the old days, seemed like alignment was needed almost yearly.

Now my experience is that I found cars go 100K+ miles or so before needing alignment. I had a S-10 pickup that was first aligned at 140K miles, a chevy van that was at 180K when I sold it aligned once at 140K, my 04 silverado has 80K, still no alignment, my E420 was aligned at 40k when sold as a CPO car, now at 105K, no signs of alignment needed, Accord at 145K, never aligned. so, don't see the need for a "lifetime" alignment, probably only need to do it once or twice on a car anyway. When I did have the alignment done, the existing alignment was within factory spec's, very little changes needed to optimize it.
 

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Alignment

So, has anyone identified a qualified front end shop that can adequately use the toe spreader bar and align a Merc 123? Or do I have to take it to the dealer?
 
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