After trying many ways of aligning a car and not being satisfied with any of them. I finally tried a variation of an alignment method that works very well and is easy to do.
to start with you need to mount a pair of laser pointers to the wheels. They need to be spaced away from the car enough so they clear all the bodywork. The alignment of the pointer parallel to the wheel does not need to be precise. My setup was pretty basic. I used a bungee cord that was tied up short across some of the holes in the rims. These cords were holding a scrap of wood and the laser pointer.
I did the same thing on both sides of the car and adjusted the steering to get them close to pointing straight back behind the car. I then put a 2×4 on some stands for a target about 30ft behind the wheels.
I put a line on the board where the lasers hit it. I moved the board a bit so the picture would show the line a bit better. I drew the lines directly through the center of the dots.
After making the marks, I moved the board 30ft in front of the car and rolled the wheels half a turn so the pointers were pointing forward. I lined up one side with the mark. Since I replaced the passenger side inner tie rod I lined up the drivers side line. I then marked the board again on the passenger side then made a target mark centered between both marks. I then adjusted the tie rods to hit the target mark. I rolled it back and forth a bit to keep the wheels from binding. I made sure not to let the drivers side wheel move and kept turning the wheels to keep it pointed at it’s mark. After I got the laser to exactly on the target line I put it 30ft behind again to verify it was all good.
This gets the alignment incredibly close. As long as the board is square to the front and rear of the car your alignment should be every bit as good as any machine can do. If you want more precision just set the board out at a farther distance from the car. The great thing about this method is that it does not need the laser pointers to be aligned well. Since they are not being touched they will be accurate front to back even with a bent rim. Most production cars have a small amount of toe in so if you want that just set the front points to be about 1/16 inch narrower than the rear to give it a degree or two of toe in.
Filed under: Metro