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G30 (2017 - Current)
The next generation 5 Series, chassis code G30, arrives at dealers in February 2017. Looking like a scaled down 7 Series and riding on the CLAR platform, the new 5 Series will have a focus on lightweight and sporty performance. Engines options will come from BMW's new B family for the 530 and 540 and a turbocharged V8 for the M550i. Read more about the 2017 5 Series

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  #1  
Old 07-11-2019, 06:32 AM
kaphouston kaphouston is offline
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Alignment After One Year?

My service guy at the dealership says that I need to have an alignment done on my car every year which runs $230. My car just turned one year end of May. Does anyone else do this yearly? Is it really necessary?
Also telling me I need a rotate and balance on the tires every 5k miles. I'm guessing this is a good idea.
Thanks for any info or suggestions.
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Old 07-11-2019, 06:33 AM
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Doug Huffman Doug Huffman is offline
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Your BMW has probably NEVER been aligned.
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Old 07-11-2019, 06:35 AM
kaphouston kaphouston is offline
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Thanks Doug. So they don't align them at the factory first? I don't notice any pulling at all. Sooooo I take it that you are suggesting I have the alignment done. Correct?
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Old 07-11-2019, 06:44 AM
BabyUnicornTaco BabyUnicornTaco is offline
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I donít think most people have an alignment done yearly. Itís good for reducing tire wear and suspension parts though. You could get an alignment done somewhere else for around $100. Thatís a nominal yearly cost.


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Old 07-11-2019, 06:48 AM
kaphouston kaphouston is offline
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BabyUnicornTaco - thanks for the info. Do I need to find a place that has special equipment to this correctly or anything? Kinda like when they have to rotate and BALANCE the tires? I know ZERO about cars and my husband knows ZERO about BMW's. I just don't want anything that's not broke to be screwed up. But $100 is a lot better than $230....assuming the job is done right.
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Old 07-11-2019, 06:50 AM
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Yes. I believe that you must have an alignment done, and that the extremes of the allowable alignment numbers have extreme effects.

Mine is aligned to as close to zero toe-in as possible with little chance of more than transient toe-out, aligned this way for maximum tire life and minimum stress on suspension components. Camber is adjusted to mid-range and balanced left and right.

Www.newtis.info MAY have your alignment specifications, though I have noticed particularly late models listing alignment specifications ONLY in ISTA.

BMW are designed to be aligned on Biessbarth KDS machinery. That's what the five little holes in your wheels are for.
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Scepticism and Animal Faith (1923)
Scepticism is the chastity of the intellect, and it is shameful to surrender it too soon or to the first comer: there is nobility in preserving it coolly and proudly through long youth, until at last, in the ripeness of instinct and discretion, it can be safely exchanged for fidelity and happiness.
(The Works of George Santayana p. 65)

Eschew eristical argumentation. I am responsible for what I write, not for your understanding of it.

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Old 07-11-2019, 07:07 AM
kaphouston kaphouston is offline
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Hey Doug THANK YOU! I believe I'll be taking it to my dealer. Do you do this yearly?
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Old 07-11-2019, 08:31 AM
gtfish gtfish is offline
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A good tire/alignment shop can do the same work. Just ask if they have the factory specs for your car/model. Get a before and after print out and you will see the change.
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Old 07-11-2019, 12:47 PM
Santorini Blue Santorini Blue is offline
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They will provide you with all the specs before and after.
You'll then know if you needed it.
I did it and car felt better.
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Old 07-11-2019, 01:13 PM
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Why is someone on this post telling you that you need an alignment? Just for the sake of having one? Over the 14 years of owning 5 BMW's I have never had an alignment done, nor needed one. Unless you regularly bang into curbs and hit very deep potholes, or see any unusual wear on your tires, chances are you also don't need an alignment.

Rotate and balance is another story - yes, I do this every 5-7000 miles, based on almost all tire manufacturer's recommendations. Of course, if you have a tire setup with different sizes on front and back, you can't rotate. A rotation/balance at my dealer runs about $85-90.

BTW, for any service person who tells you that you unconditionally "need" an alignment performed annually, no matter what, is trying to take you to the cleaners, as the saying goes, and is doing you no favors.
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Old 07-11-2019, 01:25 PM
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BMW are not aligned from the factory for any particular setting but their convenience. One needs an (one) alignment to know that your tires are being treated as best as they can be. I get an alignment check about once per year. It seems quite stable and the variation is probably due to individual errors and not systematic errors.
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Old 07-11-2019, 02:30 PM
Tranquility255 Tranquility255 is offline
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Had mine in for service #2, at just over a year old, and it needed an alignment. However, I used my BMW rewards points from my BMW credit card to cover it; cost me nothing.
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Old 07-11-2019, 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tranquility255 View Post
Had mine in for service #2, at just over a year old, and it needed an alignment. However, I used my BMW rewards points from my BMW credit card to cover it; cost me nothing.
Why did it need an alignment and to what settings - numbers - did you have it aligned and why?

The G30 alignment specifications and allowances are to my knowledge only available through Perform commissioning of electromechanical steering
"GRA-SYM-GRCI0000-82-DIAGNOSE. Connect vehicle to the diagnosis system. Run the service function "EPS steering start-up".
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Scepticism and Animal Faith (1923)
Scepticism is the chastity of the intellect, and it is shameful to surrender it too soon or to the first comer: there is nobility in preserving it coolly and proudly through long youth, until at last, in the ripeness of instinct and discretion, it can be safely exchanged for fidelity and happiness.
(The Works of George Santayana p. 65)

Eschew eristical argumentation. I am responsible for what I write, not for your understanding of it.

Last edited by Doug Huffman; 07-11-2019 at 02:44 PM.
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Old 07-11-2019, 02:59 PM
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OP you could NEED an alignment after one week of ownership (if the car was not properly aligned when prepped, or if you hit a monster pothole) or you could go 30,000 miles without "needing" one. A couple of points to consider:

1. If you get an alignment, make sure it is a 4 wheel thrust alignment, not one of the quickie 2-wheel ones at a discount tire place.
2. Every month, BMW dealers run service specials (advertised on their website). About every 3 months, alignment is the special. Having it done then will save you +/- $100 - but ONLY if you mention the special.
3. If you don't already belong to BMW Car Club of America, you should join. www.bmwcca.org. Among other benefits, the folks at your local chapter can recommend a high end tire shop (not Jiffy Lube, Tire & Gun) who will do the job properly, usually at significantly lower cost than your local dealer
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Old 07-11-2019, 04:01 PM
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BobRBob BobRBob is offline
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I've had only one alignment on four the BMWs I've owned. I was told I needed it as part of the regular annual service. I now suspect I didn't. This only happened once and never since.
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Old 07-11-2019, 07:09 PM
Autoputzer Autoputzer is offline
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I've bought ten new cars. Three of them needed alignment soon after I bought them (two Nissans, one GM). One Nissan and the GM came from the factory out of alignment.

The other Nissan might have been knocked out of alignment when I let a dumbass co-worker drive it and he scuffed a curb after I specifically warned him that I was parked very close to said curb. "I know how to drive." But, the front cambers were at opposite ends of the spec' range, and I had a conical tire which caused the car to pull to one side or the other when that tire was on the front. So, there were three separate issues going on with that car.

If you've hit a pothole or a curb, you probably need an alignment. If you live in snowy Potholeland, a spring alignment might not be unreasonable.

By visually inspecting the tires (inside and outside edges) and regularly measuring tread depths in the circumferential channels on the tires (with a tread depth gauge), calculating wear in each channel, you can detect a misalignment before significant damage to the tires occur. I measure my tread depths and calculate wear when I do a tire rotation.

The more resolution your tread depth gauge has, the earlier you can spot problems. Digital ones now read to 1/1000ths of an inch. At that resolution, it's good to make multiple measurements in each channel. I make them at the valve stem and 180 degrees from the valve stem, and take the average of the two readings.

My tread wear was fine on my F10 535i until I hit a pothole at about 49k miles. The car still tracked straight. Here was my tread depths and calculated wear at 51k miles, showing that I needed an alignment. Fortunately the wear from misalignment was opposite that the normal uneven wear BMW's incur from having a lot of negative camper on the rear wheels. So, it sort of "squared up" the three most affected tires.
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Old 07-12-2019, 05:41 AM
Tranquility255 Tranquility255 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Huffman View Post
Why did it need an alignment and to what settings - numbers - did you have it aligned and why?

The G30 alignment specifications and allowances are to my knowledge only available through Perform commissioning of electromechanical steering
"GRA-SYM-GRCI0000-82-DIAGNOSE. Connect vehicle to the diagnosis system. Run the service function "EPS steering start-up".
Need to check the spec sheet they attached to my service report (Iím away from home now).
I did have it aligned because it didnít cost me anything, and I donít know if it was that or the rotation, but I can definitely feel a difference. FWIW, we have TONS of potholes where I drive, I can usually avoid the worst but some are inevitable.
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Old 07-12-2019, 06:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tranquility255 View Post
Need to check the spec sheet they attached to my service report (I'm away from home now).
I did have it aligned because it didn't cost me anything, and I don't know if it was that or the rotation, but I can definitely feel a difference. FWIW, we have TONS of potholes where I drive, I can usually avoid the worst but some are inevitable.
So you did not TELL them to what numbers to align your car. You merely said align it. The mechanic drove it on to the machine, got a before print out, messed around for a while, went and had coffee, got an after print-out and ...

What is FREE is usually worth exactly what it costs. BMW stealerships cannot afford to do anything for FREE and stay in business.
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Scepticism is the chastity of the intellect, and it is shameful to surrender it too soon or to the first comer: there is nobility in preserving it coolly and proudly through long youth, until at last, in the ripeness of instinct and discretion, it can be safely exchanged for fidelity and happiness.
(The Works of George Santayana p. 65)

Eschew eristical argumentation. I am responsible for what I write, not for your understanding of it.

Last edited by Doug Huffman; 07-12-2019 at 06:06 AM.
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Old 07-12-2019, 06:34 AM
AF AF is offline
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Your car needs an alignment only if it is out of spec. My Audi dealer has a set up when you pull into the service garage they put these 4 sensors on your wheels and then they give you a print out showing the alignment specs.

My bmw dealer does not have this though they will provide you with a before and after spec sheet if an alignment is done.

An alignment is not a required service like an oil change. It is only some thing you get if it is needed. An example of a car being out of alignment is you might feel the car pull in one direction when the steering wheel is straight.

A tire rotation can help you get more miles out of the tire.

A tire Balancing is only needed if the tire is out of balance. If you feel a vibration in the steering wheel the front tires should be balanced. If you notice a vibration in the rear or for example you see your rear view mirror vibrating but the steering wheel is not vibrating then most likely your rear tires need balancing.

I prefer to get my tires balanced once a year in my daily driven cars whether I feel a vibration or not. Our roads arenít the best and I know after hitting potholes it can cause a tire to be slightly out of balance.
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Old 07-12-2019, 06:34 AM
kaphouston kaphouston is offline
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Thanks for all the information y'all. Looks as if there isn't much agreement as to whether this is necessary or not. I called to schedule this service yesterday so I'm taking it in this morning for R/B and alignment. I don't know....we don't really have many potholes here in the Houston area where I live and I've never noticed the car pulling left or right. It seems pretty dead on. Maybe I should just have them rotate and balance the tires. But if I do just have them align it I should get a print out of the before and after? .... So then I can see for sure that it was a waste of money. :/ I just hope they don't screw it up and it starts to pull after I have it done.
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Old 07-12-2019, 08:06 AM
Autoputzer Autoputzer is offline
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If they don't agree to a before and after print-out, you don't want them working on your car for anything.

If you have a square set-up (front and back tires the same size), you'd benefit greatly from regular tire rotations. BMW's have a lot of negative rear camber (top of the wheels tilting in at the top). That causes the rear tires to wear conically. If you rotate, that spreads the conical wear onto four tires instead of two. Also, a RWD car will wear the rear tires down twice as fast as the front ones.

My BMW dealer charges $145 for an alignment. If your car's tracking straight and the tire wear is even, I'd pass on a $230 alignment. I'd spend $10 on a tread depth gauge instead.
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Old 07-12-2019, 02:21 PM
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Did the OP also get convinced by her "friendly and helpful" dealer to take the tire nitrogen fill for what, $100, when the car was delivered? To each his/her own.
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Old 07-13-2019, 04:25 AM
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...or the heating and A/C ventilation system fumigation during the annual service which is supposed to eliminate odours and kill any mildew growing in the pipes. The service advisor told me this was important to maintain the value of the car. I told him, if so, that BMW Financial Services should be happy to pay for it because they own the car. They weren't and they didn't.
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Old 07-13-2019, 04:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AF View Post
Your car needs an alignment only if it is out of spec.
So says the SA Barbara Streisand. BMW alignment specifications are so wide as to be meaningless, and the effects of the extremes of the allowances are extreme. IIRC my front toe-in is allowed to vary by 12í minutes of arc!
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Scepticism is the chastity of the intellect, and it is shameful to surrender it too soon or to the first comer: there is nobility in preserving it coolly and proudly through long youth, until at last, in the ripeness of instinct and discretion, it can be safely exchanged for fidelity and happiness.
(The Works of George Santayana p. 65)

Eschew eristical argumentation. I am responsible for what I write, not for your understanding of it.
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Old 07-13-2019, 04:47 AM
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Doug Huffman Doug Huffman is offline
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Originally Posted by AF View Post
I know after hitting potholes it can cause a tire to be slightly out of balance.
íBalanceí is a proper distribution of mass weight and moment.

What of an elastomer structure that a pothole might change is the road-force, the stiffness-modulus where the tire is damaged by the pothole.

YOUR tires probably need a road-force balance.
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Scepticism and Animal Faith (1923)
Scepticism is the chastity of the intellect, and it is shameful to surrender it too soon or to the first comer: there is nobility in preserving it coolly and proudly through long youth, until at last, in the ripeness of instinct and discretion, it can be safely exchanged for fidelity and happiness.
(The Works of George Santayana p. 65)

Eschew eristical argumentation. I am responsible for what I write, not for your understanding of it.
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