The wheel alignment cost for your vehicle can depend on a few different factors, like what kind of car you have, if you need a full wheel alignment or just a front end alignment, and the overall damage done on your vehicle, determining the amount of your wheel alignment cost. The average price of a wheel alignment cost is between $65-$100 based on the Kelley Blue Book.
The front end alignment usually costs between $65 to $100, with some brands being more, and should take care of your entire car and become a regular part of your maintenance. If you decide to make the maintenance and the wheel alignment more economical and long lasting, you could purchase a lifetime package at some automotive industries for around $200.
Let’s go over what a wheel alignment is, what the steps are, how often you should get it done, and what the total wheel alignment cost is for your specific car.
What is a wheel alignment?
Wheel alignment sometimes can be referred to as tracking, a part of a standard car maintenance that consists of adjusting the wheel angles to the car manufacturer’s unique specifications, meaning the exact wheel alignment will depend on what kind of car you have,
The purpose of doing a wheel alignment adjustment is to reduce tire wear, preventing uneven wear, and ensuring that the vehicle is straight, in line, and will roll straight and evenly to make sure that the tires do not roll unevenly and cause the vehicle to run lopsided and the tires to wear down incorrectly. This also can prevent the car from pulling to one side when you are trying to steer your vehicle in one straight line.
The alignment angle can be changed to accept the maker’s specifications and ensure that it goes with the right markers. More modern vehicles today have driver assistance systems like electronic stability, anti-lock brakes, lane departure warnings, and traction control, with these systems depending on and also aiding in mechanical adjustments and wheel alignments.
So what does wheel alignment do?
The wheel alignment process involves measuring and restoring the wheel alignment and the factory settings to three angles within your vehicle’s suspension system. The three angles involved in the wheel alignment is the Camber angle, with the vertical tilt of the side of the wheel in relation to the side of the vehicle when viewed from the front or rear of the car.
The second angle relates to the Caster angle, which is the tilt of the steering axis when viewed from the side of the vehicle. The last angle is the Toe angle, which is the lateral tilt of the side of the wheel in relation to the vehicle when viewed from above.
These angles and the wheel alignment means that you will definitely need to take your car to a mechanic so they can obtain the factory setting angles for your car and ensure that you do not set your wheel alignment to the wrong angles.
What are some common signs of bad wheel alignment? There are many causes and signs that show that the wheel alignment is uneven. The first one is the vehicle pulls to one side, with the car driving in a crooked line when you don’t have your hands on the steering wheel. The second sign of bad wheel alignment is that the steering wheel doesn’t return to the center after being led to one side. The third sign of bad wheel alignment is that the steering wheel is in its resting position off center. Next, another show that the wheel alignment is poor is excessive tire wear in certain spots, due to the tires wearing down unevenly. The last reason that wheel alignment could be damaged is loose steering.
Why Wheel Alignment Matters
If you have incorrect wheel or tire alignment, this can cause your tires to wear unevenly and wear down prematurely, causing your wheel alignment to suffer and specific types of tread wear that are susceptible and can be attributed to misalignment. This can be fixed with the right wheel alignment cost. These following types of tread wear are the reason of uneven wheel alignment:
First, feathering is a common attribution. The tires are “feathered” when the tread is smooth and even on one side, but sharp and uneven on the other. This is usually the cause of poor toe alignment and the wrong toe angle as we talked about.
Second, the camber wear is a strain of tread wear that means the inside or outside of the tread is much more worn than the very center of the tread. A poor camber angle can cause this type of wear, as you might have guessed from the name of the wear. Paying for a wheel alignment cost can ensure this type of camber angle gets fixed properly.
The third type of wear is heel and toe wear. This happens when one side of your tread blocks wear down faster than the other sides. When you feel the tread, it will look and feel very rough when viewed or felt from the side. The heel and toe wear can be a sign and reason of under inflation or a lack of turning and rotation in your wheels.
If you are experiencing these wear patterns on your wheel alignment, it is time to take your car to a mechanic and pay for the wheel alignment cost to fix the frame. If you wait too long to fix your wheels and the wheel alignment, this can lead to other problems in the future. Fixing your tires is an easy issue and is not very expensive. However, if you wait for this to hurt other parts of your car, this can become much more costly and significantly enhance the wheel alignment cost.
Differing from the tire or wheel alignment, tire or wheel balancing is the process of compensating for any weight differentials or imbalances in the tire and wheel combination iand is often performed at the same time at the mechanic’s office with wheel alignment for your car, enhancing the overall wheel alignment cost. There are two main types of tire and wheel imbalances that generally need correcting – single, or static, plane and dynamic, or dual, plane alignment.
The static or single balance addresses, as the name will imply, only one plane – vertical movement which can cause vibration while driving your car. However, on the other hand, a dynamic imbalance addresses balance or balance issues within two planes, with vertical and lateral movement. Both types of these imbalances can hurt your wheel alignment and enhance the wheel alignment cost when you have to fix the issue, since both of these require using a special balancing machine.
To begin with balancing your tires and the wheel alignment, a technician will have to mount them on rims and change the pressure to reach optimal inflation and the right pressure after this, each tire must go on the center bore of the special balancing machine you will find at a mechanic’s office. The machine spins the tire at a fast speed to ensure the wheel and tire combination are balanced. This can signal how much weight the technician needs to add to balance the tire and understand the areas where the additional weight is needed.
How much does wheel alignment cost?
Now that you know how to set a wheel alignment and the process involved in taking your car to a mechanic, a front end alignment usually runs at about $50-$75 before discounts for the total wheel alignment cost. A four-wheel alignment cost is usually twice as much, running in at about $100-$150.
Of course, the wheel alignemnt ocst varioes depending on your specific type of car and any other issues you have along with the wheel alignment. Many shops also recommend getting a tire rotation at the same time to cut down on labor costs, which simply means turning your tires front and back and also side to side, in order to ensure that an even wear pattern is placed on the new tires.
Regarding a few popular automtoive centers,
How long does a wheel alignment last for my car?
After paying the money required for the wheel alignment cost to keep your vehicle running smoothly, you need to make sure you keep up with the right amount of maintenance or your wheels. Most vehicle manufacturers do not include this process and the repairs in the general schedule of maintenance for cars, so you need to keep on top of this. The recommended wheel alignment time is one to two years, meaning you won’t have to worry about continuously paying for wheel alignment cost every few months. It is also recommended that you do a wheel alignment with a new tire purchase for new treads.
Should I get a two-wheel or four-wheel alignment?
Whether you can adjust the alignment on just two wheels or you have to do the wheel alignment focus on four wheels really depends on your specific vehicle, your vehicle’s drivetrain, and the suspension type of your specific car. However, all modern wheel alignment processes are generally designed to be performed as four wheels, ensuring that you do not have your tires wear unevenly.
Do I need an alignment when I get new tires?
This is a tough question, because the answer is a bit vague – not necessarily. But it is recommended, since the tires will wear differently compared to your previous options. If it has been a while since your last alignment, mounting new tires can be a good opportunity to fix the wheel alignment and cut wheel alignment cost. If your old and discounted tires are showing uneven wear, this is a sign that your wheel alignment needs to be changed. Getting this wheel alignment, regardless of the total wheel alignment cost, ensures proper tire wear and full tire life.
How do I read a post-alignment printout?
If the alignment professional does not show you how to read the printout about the review of your wheel alignment, then you should ask the professional and mechanic to review the alignment printout with you there.
Every vehicle has specific alignment specifications as we have talked about, which are referenced by your shop during the alignment and after the process is complete. The alignment measurement will depend on the specific vehicle you have and the tries. Following the alignment service, the report should show that the completed process was a success, the alignment specifications, including the camber angle, toe angle, and caster angle, and explain how the values were out of specification beforehand if your wheel alignment was off, and how the wheel alignment cost helped to fix the specification.
Can tire wear cause misalignment?
No, this is actually a misconception. If your wheel alignment is incorrect, this can cause uneven tread wear. Check the wear across the width of the tires, and if the insides or outsides are wearing faster, this is a sign of potential alignment issues, which can be fixed by paying your technician the wheel alignment cost.