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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2017 Inscription T6 with 20 inch wheels. The car has been making quite a bit of road noise so I brought it in to the dealership. They told me the tires are feathering and that they think that the cause is an alignment issue. I detect no issue with the alignment (car doesn't drift or pull and the wheel is straight). The dealer has told me that the alignment cannot be checked - they have to do the alignment to tell me if it needs to be adjusted. This may be the case, but seems odd to me given that an alignment "check" is nothing but a series of measurements taken by a machine.

Has anyone else run into this issue? Tires are noisy, but, useable so I don't plan on replacing at the moment, but, don't want any issues with the next set of tires.

Thanks
 

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Not on an XC90 but on a prior gen XC60. I had the same symptoms (tires feathered, everything else normal) and spent the $130 to get a four wheel alignment. It was out by a mile - glad I had it done.
 

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The problem is they probably don't have a way to charge you for an alignment "check".

If the technician goes through the work of putting the car on the machine, installing the heads on the wheels and calibrating everything, he might as well adjust it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I do understand that point. I guess where I stand is that if they feel this is the issue It would be nice to confirm the need before the alignment is performed. I have zero concern paying for something that will resolve the issue. However, I would like confirmation for peace of mind - again there is nothing in the way the car drives that would indicate that an alignment is needed (no pulling, no drifting and the wheel is not off center).



Thanks
 

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The car can drive straight and still be out of alignment. Unfortunately the only way to tell is by putting it on the machine and setting everything up. Unless you can find a place with one of those drive over alignment checks, but I'm not sure I trust them to be too accurate.
 

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If your tires are feathering, you can verify by running your hand over the tread following the circumference of the tire. If it feels sharp one way and smooth the other way then the tires are feathering. They can feather on the inside or outside. Generally that is probably Toe adjustment. If they are cupped then your balance is out as well. The wheels are either toed in too much or toed out too much. Definitely an alignment issue. You cannot check alignment without setting up the car on the alignment bench. So as stated they have to make sure everything is properly set so that they can read the current alignment numbers. That is almost all the work. The remainder is to adjust to factory specs or what ever you are trying for driving wise. I used to align my NSX before tracking it so that I could get the best turn in possible. Terrible for tires but great for the track. If you shop around you can find a reasonable shop that will do a four wheel alignment for around $80 or so. I use to do this day in and day out. No need to pay more than that. As long as they do it right it will be correct. By the way, once your tires are feathered you cannot do anything about it. They will continue to make noise and they will also probably wear accordingly. About the only thing you can do is have your tires shaved where they remove the rubber so that the tires are even again. Racing tires are almost always shaved before using them on the track. Check with Firestone, or your local tire shop. They do alignments all day long.
 

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If you shop around, make sure the shop can reset the Wheel Angle Compensation. We need to do it with VIDA. Not sure if aftermarket scanners can do it.
 

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Didn't know that these existed. Very interesting. Hunter is a solid company.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4HeoAwSRNM

Thanks
That is kind of cool. It is nice to know what the numbers are before you decide to change them. I use to adjust camber in such a way that it was bad for my NSX to hold the road but great for tire wear. Otherwise the rears would go in 7000 miles or less. Normally Toe in either the inside edge or the outside edge. Camber is more like half the tire. But when you have everything out it becomes more difficult. I was not aware that VIDA has some sort of adjustment. Perhaps because of the air suspension. That could impact the Camber.
 

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If you shop around, make sure the shop can reset the Wheel Angle Compensation. We need to do it with VIDA. Not sure if aftermarket scanners can do it.
Can you tell us a bit more about this? What is it compensating for? Air Suspension or?
Thanks
 

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Alignment off in early years is not common though.
 

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If you shop around, make sure the shop can reset the Wheel Angle Compensation. We need to do it with VIDA. Not sure if aftermarket scanners can do it.
Can you tell us a bit more about this? What is it compensating for? Air Suspension or?
Thanks
It's for the electronic power steering, not air suspension. I'm not sure how the algorithm works specifically though.
 

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Another example of introducing something proprietary to increase the 'stickiness' to Volvo dealers, thereby increasing the service revenue and reducing competition from non-dealers. Its not just Volvo; all car manufacturers do it but its anti-competitive and there needs to be legislation to reduce this and allow car owners to perform basic maintenance without needing to go to the dealer (alignments are maintenance as far as I'm concerned). And yes, I know you and I can subscribe to get access to Volvo's software and an independent shop can do the same, but the economics don't make sense so its basically a work around to allow Volvo to claim that they don't have a monopoly...

I'll get off my soap-box now...!

If you shop around, make sure the shop can reset the Wheel Angle Compensation. We need to do it with VIDA. Not sure if aftermarket scanners can do it.
 

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The car can drive straight and still be out of alignment. Unfortunately the only way to tell is by putting it on the machine and setting everything up. .
^ i cant tell you how many times I have to explain this a week. People just dont get it.

I dont work for free and I am not installing heads and calibrating for free... especially since it is about 1% of alignments i do that are actually all measuring in the green. BUT even then they could use some type of adjustment to bring all toes in to perfect.
 

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Another example of introducing something proprietary to increase the 'stickiness' to Volvo dealers, thereby increasing the service revenue and reducing competition from non-dealers. Its not just Volvo; all car manufacturers do it but its anti-competitive and there needs to be legislation to reduce this and allow car owners to perform basic maintenance without needing to go to the dealer (alignments are maintenance as far as I'm concerned). And yes, I know you and I can subscribe to get access to Volvo's software and an independent shop can do the same, but the economics don't make sense so its basically a work around to allow Volvo to claim that they don't have a monopoly...

I'll get off my soap-box now...!
Today marks the 10th time in two weeks that "another shop said I needed this" and I found it to be misdiagnosed or complete rip off. You pay for skill, honesty, and WELL TRAINED techs. Not some 18 year old highschool drop out slinging tires and trying to up sell you junk.

Even if another shop could reset the steering angle adaptives, why would you go to some loser with no factory training (and got hired because the mirror under his nose fogged up at the interview) over a Master or Expert Volvo trained tech? Just to save a few bucks? I understand the dealer can be/is expensive (mine is very competitive locally) but lifetime warranty, free loaner cars, waiting room amenities, and trained techs are worth every penny. Almost two decades and I see this more and more every day and hear it from my customers that attempt to go to another shop over cost or convenience only to come back and confess their stupidity to me.
 

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Today marks the 10th time in two weeks that "another shop said I needed this" and I found it to be misdiagnosed or complete rip off. You pay for skill, honesty, and WELL TRAINED techs. Not some 18 year old highschool drop out slinging tires and trying to up sell you junk.

Even if another shop could reset the steering angle adaptives, why would you go to some loser with no factory training (and got hired because the mirror under his nose fogged up at the interview) over a Master or Expert Volvo trained tech? Just to save a few bucks? I understand the dealer can be/is expensive (mine is very competitive locally) but lifetime warranty, free loaner cars, waiting room amenities, and trained techs are worth every penny. Almost two decades and I see this more and more every day and hear it from my customers that attempt to go to another shop over cost or convenience only to come back and confess their stupidity to me.
If car repair is all covered by dealer and manufacturer and everyone pay a reasonable annual premium for the whole maintenance and repair package I am perfectly fine with that.
I'd love to live a car-trouble-free life. This thing doesn't fly so far because the premium price would be too high to common people. It could be $2k / year even if you don't drive the car at all.
So people go to other shops for standard things like brake service, alignment etc.

Another problem is that not every dealer or shop is reliable and trustworthy. Who knows if they screw up something underneath but later they deny what happened in their garage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
^ i cant tell you how many times I have to explain this a week. People just don't get it.

I don't work for free and I am not installing heads and calibrating for free... especially since it is about 1% of alignments i do that are actually all measuring in the green. BUT even then they could use some type of adjustment to bring all toes in to perfect.
As I mentioned, I have absolutely no issue paying for work that needs to be done, but, as context, I have been complaining about road noise for sometime (at least 10K). The multiple times I mentioned this dealer told me they heard nothing and checked to see if my spare was loose (really). The last time I visited I asked if they could check my alignment and told me I was fine (obviously given what I understand about the process now this was a lie). Now, I am being told (after the tires have been effectively ruined) that I need an alignment, but, there is no way to check it to be sure so I just need to pay and cross my fingers that the work is necessary (can you think of anything in life that works this way). I understand that a bulk of the work is doing the setup to do an alignment, but, given the context, I think some assurance that this is the root cause of the problem before spending the money would be nice given the multiple mistakes made to this point by the dealer.

So, with that said, I have found a Volvo dealer in my area that has the Hunter machine that I linked to earlier (drive through one). They offer the alignment check at no cost. Now I can get the assurance I need and I can tell you that I will continue to go back to this dealer in the future to see how the car holds the alignment. As an additional note, I believe that there are other undiagnosed issues (front end rattles in some cases when going over bumps (metal on metal clanking), and there has been a vibration/shimmy during acceleration between 17 and 20mph since the car was brand new (alignment issue perhaps pulling the front wheels from side to side maybe - not sure). The dealer has only recently agreed that they feel the vibration - all before this it was the same - we don't feel anything.

Thanks
 

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Even if another shop could reset the steering angle adaptives, why would you go to some loser with no factory training (and got hired because the mirror under his nose fogged up at the interview) over a Master or Expert Volvo trained tech? Just to save a few bucks? I understand the dealer can be/is expensive (mine is very competitive locally) but lifetime warranty, free loaner cars, waiting room amenities, and trained techs are worth every penny. Almost two decades and I see this more and more every day and hear it from my customers that attempt to go to another shop over cost or convenience only to come back and confess their stupidity to me.
This is what does it for me in bold ^^^. My service advisor knows I’m an VCOA member and will give me any loaner model I want. If I don’t ask, she makes sure I’m in something nice. I’m fortunate my dealer, and the next closest one has a large fleet of loaners.

There’s a two good Volvo specific independent mechanics nearby, that I used once my last car was over 150,000 miles but that was mostly just to get oil changes done more frequently than recommend. If anything goes wrong on my current XC60 it’s going right to the dealer, no hesitation.
 

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As I mentioned, I have absolutely no issue paying for work that needs to be done, but, as context, I have been complaining about road noise for sometime (at least 10K). The multiple times I mentioned this dealer told me they heard nothing and checked to see if my spare was loose (really). The last time I visited I asked if they could check my alignment and told me I was fine (obviously given what I understand about the process now this was a lie). Now, I am being told (after the tires have been effectively ruined) that I need an alignment, but, there is no way to check it to be sure so I just need to pay and cross my fingers that the work is necessary (can you think of anything in life that works this way). I understand that a bulk of the work is doing the setup to do an alignment, but, given the context, I think some assurance that this is the root cause of the problem before spending the money would be nice given the multiple mistakes made to this point by the dealer.

So, with that said, I have found a Volvo dealer in my area that has the Hunter machine that I linked to earlier (drive through one). They offer the alignment check at no cost. Now I can get the assurance I need and I can tell you that I will continue to go back to this dealer in the future to see how the car holds the alignment. As an additional note, I believe that there are other undiagnosed issues (front end rattles in some cases when going over bumps (metal on metal clanking), and there has been a vibration/shimmy during acceleration between 17 and 20mph since the car was brand new (alignment issue perhaps pulling the front wheels from side to side maybe - not sure). The dealer has only recently agreed that they feel the vibration - all before this it was the same - we don't feel anything.

Thanks
That Hunter machine looks great - dealer obviously has spent some $$$ to get it. Like others have suggested, your toe is most likely out and since you've had the noise since 12k miles the car may very well have been delivered to you that way - I suspect that was my situation as well. Ask for the before and after measurements and please share with us. My toe was so far out it was embarrassing - my mistake for letting it go this long as I burned up two sets of tires prematurely - oh well.
 
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