Mirage Rear Alignment Problem FAQ
1. What is the rear wheel alignment problem with Mirages?
A significant number of Mirages can’t pass a rear wheel alignment check.
The toe and/or camber angles of one (or both) rear wheels are not within the factory specifications.
2. Can the rear wheels be adjusted to correct the alignment?
The rear wheels in some cars can be adjusted to fix alignment problems, but the Mirage has a solid torsion-beam
rear axle with NO
adjustments. This means the rear wheels on a Mirage cannot
3. If a Mirage’s rear wheels can’t be adjusted, how do you fix a rear wheel alignment problem?
The only way to correct the rear alignment on a Mirage is to replace the rear axle with a new one.
4. Is the Mirage’s rear axle the source of the alignment problem?
Yes. A Mirage’s rear alignment settings are determined by the axle assembly when it is manufactured. If the axle is built with the wrong tolerances, the rear wheel alignment will be out of specification.
5. Will a new rear axle fix the problem?
A new rear axle should fix the problem. A few of the first replacement axles installed in 2015 were outside of the factory specifications, but the more recent replacements have been OK.
6. Will there be a recall to replace Mirage rear axles?
No. Recalls are only done for serious safety issues (airbags, fuel leaks, etc.). This problem isn't in that category.
7. Is there a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) for this issue?
There is no TSB for the Mirage’s rear axle problem.
8. What problems can incorrect rear wheel alignment cause?
A Mirage with incorrect rear wheel alignment may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Rapid and/or uneven rear tire wear
- An off-center steering wheel
- General steering instability
- Reduced fuel mileage
9. How serious are these problems?
The severity of the problems will depend on how bad the rear alignment is…especially the toe settings. Mirages slightly out of specification may only experience mild tire wear and no steering side effects. Other cars with serious toe problems can wear out a set of rear tires in 10,000 miles and be annoying to drive because they require constant steering wheel correction.
10. Why do some Mirage rear axles have this problem while others don’t?
There is no official explanation. The manufacturing process of the rear axle may be inconsistent and quality control is not catching deficient assemblies. This is just speculation and we may never know. Hopefully Mitsubishi knows the cause so they can correct it.
11. What Mirages are affected?
All Mirage models and years (2014-2017) may have an incorrect rear wheel alignment.
12. 2017 Mirages have this problem, too?
Yes. Do not
assume your rear axle is within specifications because it’s a 2017. Here’s why…
- 2017 models use the same axle design as the 2014-2015 Mirage
- A 2017 Mirage failed a rear alignment check. See it here: Post 858
13. Does that mean Mitsubishi hasn’t fixed the problem?
It looks that way. All Mirages (2014-2017) use the same torsion-beam rear axle. Mitsubishi should be able to fix the problem with tighter quality control when the axles are manufactured…but it’s unclear if this has happened. While the axle tolerances may be improving, they do not have a 100% solution yet.
14. Is this a common problem with Mirages?
This might be a very common problem.
It’s impossible to know exact numbers, but the percentage of Mirages with deficient rear axles could be quite high. Consider the following data from this forum…
- There have been ongoing complaints about Mirages with premature tire wear, unstable steering, off-center steering wheels, and lower than expected fuel mileage. All of these are potential symptoms of rear alignment problems.
- Of the 30 alignment checks posted on this forum so far, 90% have incorrect rear alignment readings.
- Forum member 3dplane (a Mitsubishi technician) is reporting a 100% failure rate on Mirage rear alignment checks at his dealership…including more than 30 cars! See one of his examples here: Post 786
15. How does the Mirage’s axle relate to rear wheel alignment?
The Mirage's torsion beam rear axle (see below) is a single piece of steel with a “stub axle” welded onto each end of the assembly. The wheels ride on the stub axles. A Mirage’s rear wheel alignment is determined by the precise position of each stub axle. If a stub axle is even slightly
out of place when the rear axle is manufactured, the alignment of the wheel on that stub axle will be out of specification.
16. Can a shop bend the rear axle to correct the alignment?
While it might be possible to bend the stub axles to correct the rear alignment, don’t expect to find a repair shop willing to do it because of liability concerns. Bending suspension components like this can cause metal fatigue and potential failure.
17. Are there any DIY alignment fixes I can try?
18. If my Mirage needs a new rear axle, is it covered by the factory warranty?
The rear axle is covered by the 5 year/60,000 mile warranty.
See Mitsubishi’s official statement here: Post 878
When this problem was first discovered in 2015, there was a lack of information at Mitsubishi dealers. As a result, service departments did not handle rear alignment complaints consistently. Some forum members got replacement axles while others got no help from their dealer. With this statement from Mitsubishi, hopefully any defective rear axle will be replaced.
19. How much would a dealer charge to install a new rear axle in a Mirage?
This job will cost roughly $1100 at a dealer. The list price of a rear axle assembly is $830 and requires 2.3 hours of labor to install. The axle assembly is available at on-line sources for around $650 if you want to attempt the job yourself.
20. What is the part number for the rear axle assembly?
The rear axle assembly is part number 4120A150. This number has changed over time. The original number used to be 4120A139…but that now shows up as “no longer available.” Does that mean the axle was updated at some point? Who knows!?!
21. How hard is it to install a new rear axle in a Mirage?
Nobody has done it yet. Everyone getting a replacement axle right now is having it done at the dealer under warranty. It looks like a reasonable DIY job that could be done in a few hours, but we won’t know for sure until somebody actually does it.
22. How do I know if my Mirage has a rear alignment problem?
The only way to know for certain is to have it checked on an alignment rack.
23. Should I have a Mitsubishi dealer or an independent shop check my alignment?
If you trust your dealership service department, have them check it. Otherwise, consider having an independent shop check it first…and then take it to your dealer.
If you go to an independent shop first, you'll know what your rear alignment settings are before the dealer looks at it. An independent second opinion can come in handy if you suspect a dealer may not be completely honest in evaluating your rear alignment.
Remember...some shops don’t charge a fee just to check the alignment. But even if you have to pay for it, it is money well spent.
24. Will a Mitsubishi dealer check my alignment for free?
Yes…but only if your Mirage is less than a year old and has less than 12,000 miles.
Adjustments required as a result of a manufacturing deficiency are covered during this period.
TIP: Some dealers may still try to charge you for an alignment check even if your car is in the 12 month/12K mile period! To avoid this, just tell the Service Manager it feels like your steering wanders or pulls to one side. Mentioning a specific complaint will ensure the alignment is free.
TIP: Always request a printout of your alignment settings!
25. The dealer checked my alignment but didn't give me an alignment printout. Is that OK?
No. You should be skeptical when they don’t provide a printout from the alignment machine showing that all settings are within specifications. At a minimum they should indicate your exact alignment readings on your completed work order. This is why you should also have the alignment verified by an independent shop.
26. My rear alignment settings are slightly outside of the specifications. Do I still have a problem?
Yes. The acceptable ranges of the factory toe/camber specifications are very generous. Even if you’re slightly beyond one of the specified measurements, you have a problem that needs to be corrected.
27. My rear alignment check is not within the factory specifications. What should I do now?
If the car is still under the 5/60 warranty, bring it to your Mitsubishi dealer as soon as possible. Have the dealer verify the rear alignment is incorrect. Be sure to request (and keep) copies of any alignment printouts.
If your rear tires are prematurely worn or have odd wear patterns, have the dealer make a note of this. If you must replace worn out rear tires, keep your old tires so you can show them to the dealer (or take photos of the wear patterns). This will help support your case.
You may have to be proactive with your dealer. They may not offer a replacement axle solution immediately unless you help the process along and let them know you understand the problem. Be firm, but don’t hack off the Service Advisor. You’ll need his help during the warranty process.
28. My dealer has never heard of this problem and doesn’t seem eager to help. What can I do?
This isn’t unusual. Remember…some dealers don’t sell many Mirages and there are no technical service bulletins for this problem. So don’t be shocked if the Service Manager hasn’t heard about it.
Ask your Service Manager to call the Mitsubishi Tech Line to report the problem (this is like a help desk for Mitsubishi service departments). The Tech Line people are aware of defective Mirage rear axles by now and can advise your dealer about the issue.
Here are a couple of completed work orders from forum members who have had rear axles replaced under warranty…
29. Should I have the alignment checked BEFORE I buy a new or used Mirage?
With everything we know at this point, it’s a good idea to get any Mirage checked before a purchase. This is critical for Mirages no longer covered by the factory warranty. A few dollars spent to check the alignment could save you from buying someone else’s problem.
30. Is an alignment check part of the dealer's inspection process when I buy a new/used Mirage?
No dealer checks the alignment on cars they sell. Whatever "100-point" inspection a dealer may advertise, be aware that an alignment check is not part of it. Even Mitsubishi dealers familiar with Mirage rear axle issues are NOT going to check the alignment on a Mirage they are selling unless you require them to do it.
31. Are there signs of rear alignment problems I can look for on a Mirage?
Here are a few things you can check…just remember these are not
a substitute for an alignment check!
- Are both rear tires worn evenly?
- Does either rear tire have a strange tread wear pattern?
- If the car has low miles, does it have 4 original Enasave tires with fairly even tire wear?
- Does the car have 2 new tires? If so...why?!?
- When you test drive the car on a straight road, is the steering wheel centered? If you have to hold the steering wheel off-center to keep the car tracking straight, this could be a sign of a rear alignment problem.
Here are two perfect examples of used Mirages (at CarMax) that should make a potential buyer proceed with caution. Why do these cars with less than 15K miles have 2 new tires? There could be a legitimate reason...but both cars likely have serious alignment problems.
32. My car drives fine and the tire wear seems OK. Do I really need to worry about this?
Your front and/or rear alignment can be incorrect without a steering complaint or noticeable tire wear. An alignment check is the only way to verify you don’t have a problem. Get it checked BEFORE your warranty expires! THIS
forum member didn't notice anything unusual...but his car has a rear alignment problem.
TIP: Only 1
forum member has posted a Mirage alignment printout where both the front and
rear alignment settings from the factory were acceptable. Odds are your Mirage needs an alignment check even if the rear axle is OK!
33. My rear alignment is incorrect, but I have lowering springs, aftermarket wheels and non-stock size tires on my car. The dealer says they can’t help me because of the non-stock parts on my car. Is that true?
Yes, most dealers will follow this policy. If you know
you have a rear axle problem and you want a hassle-free warranty replacement process, do not
go to your dealer with non-stock suspension parts on the car! That’s the first thing many service departments will look for to deny an expensive warranty repair. Make it easy for you (and your dealer) and put the stock wheels/tires/springs back on the car first. HERE
is someone in this situation.
34. Can rear wheel alignment be changed by hitting a large bump or pothole?
It’s possible but extremely unlikely in a Mirage. The car is light, the axle is strong, and the springs are soft. The rear wheels can absorb most road hazards without affecting the axle. Unless your car was in a collision, any rear alignment deficiency was almost certainly there when it left the factory.
Before the rear alignment problem was well-known, some service departments tried to use this as an excuse to deny a warranty claim. Hopefully this won't happen any more.
35. I haul heavy stuff all the time. Does additional weight in my Mirage affect the rear alignment?
Yes. Some technicians on the forum have said that when they compress the rear suspension, the rear toe/camber settings get worse.
36. Will lowering springs change my rear alignment settings?
Yes. Someone observed that lowering springs in his car made his rear toe settings worse than when it had the stock springs.
37. Why would Mitsubishi make a rear axle with no alignment adjustments?
The torsion beam
rear axle design used in the Mirage has several advantages. It's inexpensive to manufacture, generally durable, has fewer parts, and it's fairly lightweight. Unfortunately, one of it's major disadvantages is that it can't be adjusted.
The Honda Fit uses the same type of axle…and has the same problem as the Mirage.
Read about it HERE
38. Can you explain the basics of a Mirage rear wheel alignment?
I'm working on that for a separate thread.
39. What are some alignment settings that other forum members have posted?
See the next post in this thread.