Q: My car is too low for shops. I have about 3 inches of ground clearance. How should I get an alignment done?

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My car is too low to take to shops, but I need a full inspection and an alignment. I'm not sure how to approach this. I usually drive onto 2x4s to give it enough clearance for a jack to fit under. What should I do? What do you guys recommend? I've never tried to do an alignment myself.

My car has 153000 miles.
My car has a manual transmission.

Aligning a vehicle yourself is easy especially given the ready availability of tools in the aftermarket which any consumer can purchase. I use Ammco optical toe gauges and a digital caster/camber tool vended by InterComp. You have to use these tools with wheel clamps and turn plates. In your circumstance, if the suspension height has been modified from stock, technically nobody (including yourself) can align the vehicle because the published alignment specifications from Nissan pertain ONLY to the fixed, static vehicle height as manufactured. Once you change the vehicle height, the published camber and toe settings are meaningless as references, and thus you are basically experimenting with whatever settings you end up with. To develop optimal settings in a circumstance where you have modified the vehicle height would require some research but, if you are doing it yourself, the vendors of these aftermarket suspension kits might have some ready guidance for you. Also, if you understand the principles of alignment, in the context of your modification you can probably create a specification that is good enough or at least workable. If you want further advice as well as an inspection of the suspension, please schedule service using YourMechanic’s service page for brakes, steering and suspension inspection and the responding certified mechanic will address all of your concerns. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.

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