Many people wonder if an alignment is required after replacing your struts or shocks, and the answer is, it depends.

To make it simple, we will go over two type of suspension components, complete strut assemblies and shock absorbers. We will begin with the front-end, most modern vehicles now are equipped with what are called MacPherson struts which we call Complete Strut Assemblies, fully assembled and ready for installation struts. The front strut assemblies are an integral part of your steering system while also serving as a structural part of your suspension, so because of these reasons, any replacement always warrants an alignment.

As for the rears, some vehicles are equipped with complete strut assemblies or coil spring and shock combination. If your vehicle has complete strut assemblies, it’s also necessary to have an alignment because it’s also a structural part of your suspension system, but for shock absorbers, it’s not required as the function of shocks are to simply dampen the coil springs which hold absolutely no weight of your vehicle or have any function to steering. You will however need an alignment if replacing the coil springs.

So, in short if you are replacing front strut assemblies, the front wheels need an alignment. If you are simply replacing rear shocks, it is not required. If you are replacing all four strut assemblies then all four wheels will need an alignment. You do not need to wait for the settling period to perform an alignment either, simply have one done immediately after replacement.

Note that alignments are not only required after a strut replacement. Driving over bumps/potholes overtime and/or accidentally hitting curbs will throw off your alignment so be sure to service your vehicle annually.

Not sure if you need one? There are a few keys indications that you can look out for.

  • Uneven or rapid tire wear.
  • Steering wheel being crooked when you are driving straight.
  • Noisy Steering.
  • Pulling to the right or left.
  • Squealing tires.

Tires are not cheap and easily destroyed if your camber is off due to poor alignment, so it is very important to make sure your tires are angled with each other and the road.

As always, to accurately diagnose your vehicle, it is best to seek the help of a certified mechanic so that any similar issues could be ruled out.