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 the total wheel alignment cost for your specific car.
Wheel Alignment – What is it?
Wheel alignment sometimes can be referred to as tracking, a part of 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,
Purpose of a Wheel Alignment
The purpose of a wheel alignment adjustment is to reduce tire wear, prevent uneven wear, and ensure that the vehicle is straight. A tire alignment ensures the tires do not roll unevenly and cause the vehicle to run lopsided and the tires to wear down incorrectly. Tire and wheel alignment can also prevent the car from pulling to one side when 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. Today’s modern vehicles have driver assistance systems like electronic stability, anti-lock brakes, lane departure warnings, and traction control. These systems depend on and aiding in mechanical adjustments and wheel alignments.
Wheel Alignment Process
The wheel alignment process involves measuring and restoring the wheel alignment and the factory settings to three angles within your vehicle’s suspension system. There are three angles involved in the wheel alignment and the wheel alignment cost.
Wheel Alignment Angles
Camber Angle – The vertical tilt of the side of the wheel concerning the side of the vehicle when viewed from the front or rear of the car. The camber angle is a huge part of the wheel alignment in every car on the road.
Caster Angle – The second angle relates to the caster angle, which is the tilt of the steering axis when viewed from the side of the vehicle.
Toe Angle – 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.
Signs of Poor Wheel Alignment
What are some common signs of bad wheel alignment? There are many causes and signs that show that the wheel alignment is uneven – let’s see the top four signs of this common vehicle concern.
Vehicle Pulls to One Side
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 most common reason your car pulls to the right when braking is that the wheel alignment is uneven and not leveled correctly when driving flat roads. Whether it gently skews to one side over prolonged use, or whether it comes from hitting a rock or some other object in the road, wheel alignment can be drastically changed for the worse by driving conditions. Since it can be easily changed or due to an accident, you need to constantly check the wheel alignment to keep the car from pulling to the right when braking.
The second most common reason as to why your vehicle might pull to the side is due to inconsistent tire pressure. Sometimes, the problem can be fixed as easily as adding the correct amount of air to your tires, making sure each tire is filled to the required specifications and pumped all tires evenly. The tire pressure fluctuates over time as you drive, changing with the amount of wear and tear on the tires and the prolonged use, and can decline as you continue driving.
Steering Wheel Malfunction
The second sign of bad wheel alignment is that the steering wheel doesn’t return to the center after being led to one side.
If you find that the problem is not with your tires or wheel alignment, it could be the steering system or the suspension system that causes braking problems. Damaged components or those that have become excessively worn down over time can influence how your car drives and your vehicle’s performance.
When looking at why your car pulls to the right side when braking, memory steer refers to the car pulling in the direction you turn. In this case, if you turn right at a stop sign, your car will also turn right. Any problems with memory steer or worn-out suspension parts can exacerbate this steering issue due to damaged tie rods, broken ball joints, and faulty strut bearings.
Off-Center Steering Wheel
The third sign of bad wheel alignment is that the steering wheel is in its resting position off-center.
Steering Wheel Function
The steering wheel in any kind of car should operate efficiently, at a high-performance level, and quietly, only making noise to dedicate to the driver, and there is a problem that immediately needs to be taken care of. If you notice that your steering wheel makes a rubbing noise or a louder sound while turning the wheel, this is a sign that something is wrong with the entire system.
The steering system functions to determine the car’s direction and contour in which direction your car will drive. The driver is allowed to steer the car and control the vehicle by applying a moderate force on the wheel to shift the entire car in the intended direction.
If you rotate the steering wheel, this can keep the car moving in the direction by utilizing the complicated steering system. Within the system, various components are crucial to the turning of the car. Pivoted joints work in tandem to enable the wheels to either move up or move down in the chosen direction.
Excessive Tire Wear
Next, another show that the wheel alignment is poor is excessive tire wear in certain spots due to the tires wearing down unevenly. Excessive tire wear can happen unevenly due to inconsistent tire pressure, like having overinflated or underinflated tires.
Two causes can affect the lifespan of the tires. Both overinflation of the tires and the tires’ underinflation can cause tread wear prematurely and potential early tire failure. Overinflation can result in decreased traction, early tire wear, and the inability to absorb road impact and handle rough terrain.
Overinflated tires can show premature wear on the tire tread, mainly centering in the middle of the trade. Looking at why your car pulls to the right side when braking, overinflated tires can be the culprit.
The other cause of a high wheel alignment cost in your car will be underinflation. Underinflated tires can cause the tires to respond sluggishly, decrease fuel economy, and lower miles per gallon, excessive heat buildup, tire overload, and stress. An underinflated set of tires can show premature wear on both sides of the tread instead of centered in the middle and focus on the tires’ shoulders. If you can’t figure out why your car pulls to the right side when braking, adding air to your tires can sometimes solve the problem.
Importance of Wheel Alignment
Suppose you have an incorrect wheel or tire alignment. In that case, 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. The following types of tread wear are the reason for 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. Uneven tread wear 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 tread’s very center. 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.
Heel and Toe Wear
The third type of wear is heel and toe wear. Heel and toe wear 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.
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 alignment cost varies 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 to ensure that an even wear pattern is placed on the new tires.
Sample Wheel Alignment Costs
Regarding a few popular automotive centers, let’s compare the wheel alignment cost at various locations. At Walmart, a front-wheel adjustment runs you at about $50, and the 4-wheel alignment is around $75 for a wheel alignment cost. At Sears Auto Center, the standard wheel alignment cost is $75, while the one-year alignment cost is $95, and the lifetime wheel cost is around $190.
At Firestone, the wheel alignment check is free, just to see the issue without providing a fix. The standard wheel alignment cost is $70, while the lifetime wheel alignment cost is $160. Another popular car location, Goodyear Auto Services, provides wheel alignment checks for free as well but will run at about $60 for the entire front end wheel alignment cost.
Pep Boys, arguably one of the most famous automotive professions in the business, can provide front end wheel alignment for $80, and 4 wheel alignment cost at $90.
Getting a wheel alignment is a crucial and preventive measure that any car owner should take for their car’s safety and longevity!