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Alignment = much better MPG. PLEASE READ!

Alignment = much better MPG. PLEASE READ!

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  #1  
Old 05-30-2006, 04:35 AM
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Lightbulb Alignment = much better MPG. PLEASE READ!

Hi everybody. I've had my HCH2 for a week and a half. After using up the first tank of gas, I decided to get an alignment just to be sure (you never know how a new car is when you get it).

It turned out that the alignment was really whacked out. The front wheels were each toed out 0.22 degrees (they should have zero toe. This is off by a mile). The rear left was toed in 0.11 degrees (a bit much, but not terrible), but the right rear wheel was toed out 0.18 degrees (rear wheels should NEVER be toed out). The alignment fixed all of this.

The bottom line? My first tank of 350 miles, where I babied the car, got 39.9 MPG (calculated at the pump). On my second tank, after the alignment, I stopped babying the car and punched it quite a bit, passing lots of other cars on back roads and running the A/C at times (I hadn't on the first tank). In spite of my flagrant abuse of the car, the second tank got 48.1 MPG (calculated).

I have a strong suspicion that a lot of our HCHs are not properly aligned when they're delivered to us. Unfortunately, most people assume that a brand-new car shouldn't need an alignment (that's what people all told me, until I did the alignment and found out how screwed up it was).

The moral of this story? Get yourself an alignment!
 
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  #2  
Old 05-30-2006, 05:42 AM
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Default Re: Alignment = much better MPG. PLEASE READ!

Did you request that the dealer paid for the alignment?
 
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  #3  
Old 05-30-2006, 07:54 AM
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Default Re: Alignment = much better MPG. PLEASE READ!

That could be an interesting new twist for people to think about. Yesterday as I was driving on I-95 I began wondering if an alignment would be beneficial.
 
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  #4  
Old 05-30-2006, 08:08 AM
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Default Re: Alignment = much better MPG. PLEASE READ!

Gosh there must be a million things that could be wrong with my new car.

I'd better check them all.



I'm not doubting your experience.

It's just that it's a new car, and, well, there could be a million things wrong with it.

Frankly, I'm not going to worry about them.

Are you sure the people at the alignment place were not lying to you?
 

Last edited by kenny; 05-30-2006 at 08:20 AM.
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  #5  
Old 05-30-2006, 08:17 AM
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Default Re: Alignment = much better MPG. PLEASE READ!

I did request that the dealer reimburse me for the alignment, but they said I have to go ask American Honda. They also said I don't stand a very good chance, because I didn't have the alignment done at a Honda dealer and it wasn't an emergency.

By the way, I'm very particular about alignment on all my cars, and the reason I took the car in was that I could feel it shimmying and dog-tracking very slightly. The alignment fixed that, and made the car feel much more straight-line stable on the highway and more composed over undulating roads, so kenny, that's how I know the shop wasn't lying to me. The other thing is that this shop is the absolute best place for alignments within 100 miles. They have the latest Hunter laser alignment equipment and have done very tricky custom alignment work for me before (modifying caster and camber on cars where it wasn't factory adjustable).
 
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  #6  
Old 05-30-2006, 08:54 AM
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Default Re: Alignment = much better MPG. PLEASE READ!

That's interesting.

Since taking delivery of my HCH in 8/05, I have noticed that the car jumps around in freeway lanes--something I've experienced here in southern california (we have grooves in many freeways). Previous cars have done this too, and a tire expert once said that it's the treads not meshing well with the road.

My first tank was 34mph, my second was 40mph, and it's gotten slightly better depending on circumstances.

Does anyone else feel the steering / road sensation is a little notchy or stiff compared to other cars? My earlier Hondas and Acuras did not have this...

Lansing
 
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Old 05-30-2006, 09:00 AM
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Default Re: Alignment = much better MPG. PLEASE READ!

Originally Posted by BenHCH2
They also said I don't stand a very good chance, because I didn't have the alignment done at a Honda dealer and it wasn't an emergency.
Hogwash. There are all sorts of consumer protection laws that say you're allowed to have that work done by someone other than the OEM or dealer. If they gave you a car that was out of spec from the factory, then it is, by definition, non-conformant, and you're well within your rights to have it fixed.
 

Last edited by mmrmnhrm; 05-30-2006 at 09:02 AM.
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  #8  
Old 05-30-2006, 09:56 AM
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Default Re: Alignment = much better MPG. PLEASE READ!

Originally Posted by mmrmnhrm
Hogwash. There are all sorts of consumer protection laws that say you're allowed to have that work done by someone other than the OEM or dealer. If they gave you a car that was out of spec from the factory, then it is, by definition, non-conformant, and you're well within your rights to have it fixed.
You have the right to perform maintenance at any facility of your choosing... but if you need a warranty repair, then Honda has the right to choose that facility because they're the ones paying. They cannot control independent repair facilities (neither their equipment, training nor diagnostic procedures), so it would be unfair for them to have to pay without a first-inspection opportunity in their own facilities (an authorized Honda dealer).

The only exception to this is for emergency repairs, where no authorized dealer is nearby and further operation of the vehicle or towing to get it to a Honda dealer would cause increased damage.
 
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  #9  
Old 05-30-2006, 10:13 AM
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Default Re: Alignment = much better MPG. PLEASE READ!

Hrmm.. so Ben may indeed be SOL, or have an uphill fight at the very least.

Lansing, I've noticed the occasional jump, but it's always been at times/places where it could have just as easily been a truck passing the other direction, or passing a rough patch of road, so I've got nothing that can be 100% blamed on bad alignment.
 
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  #10  
Old 05-30-2006, 10:38 AM
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Default Re: Alignment = much better MPG. PLEASE READ!

Much of what people might feel as a shake or shimmy is actually due to the low Drag Coefficient (Cd) for the Civic Hybrid. Small headwinds, tailwinds, side drafts and vortexes from other vehicles can cause the car to shake or shimmy with the low Cd combined with the light weight.

As far as alignment-it can get knocked out of whack while sitting in the container or getting rocked around on the car carrier on its way to the dealer or it could be out of whack from the factory.

I doubt that is something that is checked when the car is prepped by the dealer. I would have gotten the readings, then called the Honda dealer or Honda in Torrance before having the work performed. Even if you had to pay for the measurements, you could at least ask for reimbursement for that. As far as having the alignment done, that is usually considered a maintenance item unless it was a problem from go, in which case you should have brought it back to the original dealer or another Honda dealer before having any work performed. It does not fall under warranty.

If all else fails, and you can prove (which will be hard) that it was out of alignment from day 1, you could always sue in small claims court if you don't get a desired resolution from Honda or your dealer. Of course that could cost you a day of work, and that might be more than you paid for the alignment.
 
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