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Q: 2 or 4 wheel alignment on 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe

This site allows me to check the cost of a 4 wheel alignment. Can/should that be done on my Santa Fe (which is out of alignment)? I've only ever heard of a front end alignment.
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Great question --
Nearly all front wheel drive cars today - and some rear wheel drive ones - take a 4 wheel alignment. Simply put - the rear wheels of the vehicle must be aligned first (and have alignment adjustment either via concentric cams or actual tie rod ends in the rear), and then the front wheels get aligned to the thrust angle determined with the rear wheels.

"Front end alignment" is a term used in the past when vehicles were most always rear wheel driven by solid axles. A solid axle provides no adjustment, so therefore, the front wheels alone would be measured and adjusted.

However, along the way, "front end alignments" progressed to "Thrust Angle Alignment" - which is measuring all 4 wheels and adjusting the front wheels to align with the non-moveable rear wheels, to provide a more straight ride. This is how bent rear axles are found, etc, when the rear wheels end up being out of adjustment on a solid axle vehicle...

So - yes, a 4 wheel alignment is a typical recommendation for most cars today.
Thanks! I learned my 2003 Santa Fe has "independent suspension" so the rear wheels are not tied together and all 4 wheels get an alignment even if I incorrectly ask for a "front end alignment". The shop printed out a report from the machine showing all 4 wheels out of alignment so that was very educational. Auto Lendes got it done for $69.
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