|$ Two-wheel alignment: $20 to $100||$ $ Four-wheel alignment: $50 to $150+||$ $ $ High-end vehicles: $75 to $400+|
Have you ever felt like your driving is not smooth as always and your car leads to one side when on the road? Well, that probably means you need a wheel alignment.
A wheel alignment is a service that consists of adjusting the angles of the tires, changing and adjusting the way they make contact with the road, making sure the wheels run parallel to each other.
Usually, this involves adjusting the suspension system, which is the part of the car that connects the wheels with the rest of the vehicle.
A bad wheel alignment is one of the many risk factors that can cause tire wear, as this article of Bridgestone explains, but tire wear is just one of the consequences that not aligning your wheels can provoke.
Table of Contents
How Do You know If You Need A Wheel Alignment?
The first sign that will tell you if you need a wheel alignment would be if your car starts pulling to one side, but this is a late sign, meaning that you should have done this service sooner.
Other signs that may indicate needing a wheel alignment can be: the reduction of the life of your tires, the tires wear more from one side, the car tends to wander, the steering wheel is off-center when driving straight, and others.
Depending on the suspension system of your vehicle, the type of alignment will be different. If you have a four-wheel-drive suspension, you need a four-wheel alignment, and if you have a front-wheel-drive system, you need a front-end alignment or thrust-angle alignment.
The price will vary depending on the type of suspension system of your vehicle, the make and model, the shop’s location, and if your car has a warranty.
A service of two-wheel alignment (front-end alignment) can cost $20 to $100, while a four-wheel alignment service (all tires) can cost $50 to $150 or more.
Usually, to get proper alignment to high-end vehicle brands, more specialized places and equipment will be required, which typically are only available at car dealerships, making the wheel alignment costs for high-end vehicles go from $75 to $400 or more.
You can get a wheel alignment done at most car dealerships, tire dealers like Big O Tires, Firestone, and Goodyear, and repair shops/departments like Pep Boys and Sears; But, even when we are talking about the same service, the prices between all of them vary.
|Company||One-Time Service Average Price (Car)|
The price can vary also depending on the location, as it’s explained by this Forbes article that tells us all about it by comparing prices of a wheel alignment using as an example a 2018 Ford F-150 pickup truck in different cities, getting as results that the cheapest city was Katy (Texas) with an average price of $77, while the most pricy was Chicago (Illinois) with an average price of $98.5.
Things to Consider
- First, check your vehicle manufacturer; they often designate standard angles for aligning their tires (that vary depending on make and model).
- Check the suspension of your vehicle. The type of alignment it needs will depend on its suspension system. If you have a rear-wheel-drive system, your car needs a front-end alignment, and if you have a four-wheel-drive system, you need a four-wheel alignment.
- Don’t try to do this procedure at home. Even if you have a lot of experience fixing your own car, wheel alignment requires an experienced technician and an alignment machine to do a precise job because the measurements are very fine. You won’t be able to tell if your wheels are well aligned just because they look good.
- If your car also has a part of its suspension system damaged, it’s recommended to replace it first before doing a wheel alignment.
- Before the technician starts with your wheel alignment, it’s a good idea to let him know you want a printout. This will show you your alignment measurements right before the wheel alignment. Then, ask for another printout of your alignment measurements right after the service; that way, you can verify the job done and if everything is okay.
- A wheel alignment made by a professional typically takes less than an hour.
- The process is simple. The vehicle is placed on a platform so the wheels can spin while a computer calculates their orientation, which is then compared to the manufacturer’s specifications for that specific vehicle. Then necessary adjustments are made, and the vehicle is tested again. If everything is okay, then you are good to go.
- The technician that checks your tire alignment will look out for three things: the Camber, which is the inward or outward angle of the tire when viewed from the front of the vehicle; the Toe, which is the extent to which your tires turn inward or outward when viewed from above them; and the Caster, which is the angle of your steering axis when viewed from the side of your vehicle.
- Usually, wheel balancing is done at the same time as wheel alignment.
- Many experts say that you should do a wheel alignment only if your car starts pulling to one side, as they establish that getting into some holes on the road isn’t enough to knock a vehicle out of alignment, although some tire centers recommend doing it annually. In contrast, you might need a wheel alignment more than once a year if you drive continuously on rough terrains.