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Discussion Starter #1
I brought my 2013 Mazda 3 hatch Skyactiv into the dealership last week for an oil change, and came out with an alignment issue. The car tracked very straight and true prior to the visit, and now it has a definite pull to the left and the steering wheel is slightly crooked when traveling straight. I have never hit a curb or even parked against one, and the tires/wheels do not show any signs of hitting a curb. We also checked the PSI and all tires are about the same.

I'm not sure how an oil change could have ended up with an alignment issue, but I feel like the dealership needs to fix it.

I'm worried they will try to say it was driver error somehow. My only response to prove against that theory is to have them check the wheels and tires, which don't have a mark on them.

Any ideas on how to go about handling this issue with the dealership?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Do you think I should just approach them with the crooked wheel issue, which might have a better chance of being covered under warranty? Alignments are not typically covered under warranty...
 

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Do you think I should just approach them with the crooked wheel issue, which might have a better chance of being covered under warranty? Alignments are not typically covered under warranty...
You could. All dealers are different. Some will work with you others won't do crap. Hope yours is a good one.

How many miles on your car?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
It had 3500 at the oil change, just over 3700 now. I've owned it since May 31st and put a lot of highway miles on it.
 

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A car with that low miles should never be out of alignment.. The dealership should fix it I think but not all dealerships are nice


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Discussion Starter #7
I have an appointment on Wednesday morning. Over the phone they just asked if I have had anyone else drive the car (no other than Mazda last week) or if I've hit any potholes (no) or curbs (no). I brought up that it started after the oil change they did last week, and they didn't say much. They said they'd send it over to the alignment guy when I'm there.

I'm assuming I will have to have a more detailed talk when I arrive to make sure I don't get charged for it...

The only thing I can reasonably come up with is that it somehow got dropped off the rack a bit when they were doing the oil change, or there is something in the alignment that is actually loose.

I'll update you after Wednesday...
 

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Did they rotate the tires when you had your oil changed?

Sometimes after a rotation the car could have a slight pull depending on how the rear tires were wearing compared to the front.


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Discussion Starter #9
Yes, they did rotate them - hadn't thought about that. However, at 3500 miles on the tires of a two month old car with stock suspension, I wouldn't think they would have enough uneven wear to cause that, unless there was an underlying alignment issue.... I will bring that up to them to check into!
 

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What I think happened is that they drove onto the lift really fast and the left front hit really hard and changed the left front caster. That's why your pulling left. You can prove it out by asking for the before and after alignment sheet. If the left front caster has a lower number that's what happened. Cars always come out of the factory with higher positive caster on the left so that they pull right slightly so you never drift into oncoming traffic if you fall asleep at the wheel. DOT makes the manufacturers set up the cars this way.
 
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Discussion Starter #11
They determined that the car has a "radial pull" coming from the front left tire. It became evident after the oil change because they rotated the tires for the first time. Today, they put the left front problem tire onto the right rear, and now the car tracks straight. The dealership said that over the next 3k miles or so that it should wear down (or something like that) and then be able to be rotated to any of the four corners of the car. Sounds like a defective tire to me, but it is driving straight now so I'm not going to worry about it.

The steering wheel is still not on quite straight and they did not align the car, but at least it is tracking straight now. I'll save that for when an alignment is really needed, since it's a pretty minor offset.
 
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