how long does a tire alignment take

If you are curious, how long does a tire alignment take? Then you are in the right place. More than half of the total number of cars in the US are misaligned, posing a potential risk to drivers and passengers. Misalignment may sound like a minor deal. Still, it can increase accident risks, tire sidewall damage, and fuel consumption. In this article, we will explore the telltale signs of misalignment and provide some expert tips on what steps to take to ensure your car stays on the right track.

How Long Does An Alignment Take?

What Is A Wheel Alignment?

Wheel alignment is sometimes referred to as tracking, breaking, or alignment. While most drivers stick to the manufacturer’s recommended alignment specifications, some individuals may opt for unusual wheel alignment angles depending on their preferences and driving style. These unconventional alignments enhance car control and handling in specific conditions, such as racing or off-roading.

how long does tire alignment take

Remember that after performing a wheel alignment, it is essential to reset the car’s Advanced Assistance Systems (AAS). This step ensures that any alterations made during the alignment process do not interfere with the functioning of these safety features. Adequate training and knowledge are required to perform wheel alignments accurately and appropriately reset AAS.

How Long Does A Wheel Alignment Take?

If your car drives straight and doesn’t pull to one side, why bother with an alignment? Well, here’s the thing: proper wheel alignment is not just about keeping your car on the road. It’s about preserving its overall health and performance. Below are some reasons why you should need a wheel alignment.

how long does a wheel alignment take

Better Fuel Efficiency

A well-aligned vehicle ensures better fuel efficiency. When your wheels are correctly aligned, the tires have less resistance, so your engine doesn’t have to work as hard to move the vehicle forward. This can save you money at the pump in the long run.

Prevents Uneven Tire Wear

Misaligned wheels can cause excessive and uneven wear on your tires. If left unattended for too long, this can lead to a shorter lifespan for your tires and ultimately cost you more money in regular replacements.

Improved Handling and Safety

When aligned correctly, each wheel allows for smooth cornering and stability while driving at high speeds or navigating tight turns. This translates into enhanced control over your vehicle and reduced risk of accidents or loss of control on slippery or uneven surfaces.

When Do You Need A Wheel Alignment?

When Do You Need A Wheel Alignment?

Many assume that if their car runs smoothly and they don’t notice any pulling to one side, there’s no need for an alignment. But some telltale signs indicate it may be time to align your wheels. These include:

Uneven Tire Wear

One of the most obvious signs that you need a wheel alignment is if you notice uneven tire wear. When your wheels are misaligned, they don’t make proper contact with the road, causing excessive wear on specific areas of the tires. This can result in bald spots, cupping, or feathering on the tread. Not only does this affect your vehicle’s performance and safety, but it can also lead to costly tire replacements.

Vehicle pulling to one side.

If you experience that your car was constantly pulled to one side when driving, this could be an indication that your wheels are not aligned properly. When the camber or toe angle is off, one of the tires will experience more resistance than the others, causing the vehicle to veer in that direction. It’s important not to ignore this issue as it can lead to unsafe driving conditions and unnecessary strain on other components of your vehicle.

Steering wheel vibration

Misaligned wheels cause instability and create vibrations through the steering system, making an uncomfortable driving experience. If left unaddressed, these vibrations may worsen over time and harm other parts of your car, such as suspension components or power steering systems.

How Often Should You Do Wheel Alignment?

Wheel alignment is an essential maintenance task that car manufacturers recommend every 10,000 miles. Factors like driving habits and road conditions determine how often alignment is needed. Careful drivers on smooth roads may only need alignment every 3 to 4 years. It’s essential to address misalignment symptoms promptly, even if the car hasn’t reached 10,000 miles.

How Long Does A Tire Alignment Take?

A standard wheel alignment usually takes 30 minutes to an hour. If there are issues with your suspension or steering, it may take longer. The technician must inspect these parts before aligning them because they affect how well your wheels align. So, be prepared for delays if other repairs are needed. Specialized alignments, like four-wheel or all-wheel drive vehicles, may take more time and resources, and larger vehicles need extra steps for proper wheel alignment.

How Much Does A Wheel Alignment Cost?

Please see the table below for a comprehensive list of companies, their respective services, and corresponding prices.

ShopServiceCost

Walmart
Front-end Alignment$50
4-Wheel alignment$80

Firestone complete Auto care
Wheel alignment checkFree
Standard wheel alignment$70
Lifetime wheel alignment$160

Goodyear Auto Service
Wheel alignment checkFree
Front-end Alignment$60
Pep BoysFront-end Alignment$80
4-Wheel alignment$90
Sears Auto ServiceStandard wheel alignment$75
Lifetime wheel alignment$190
MidasFront-end Alignment$70
4-Wheel alignment$90

Walmart offers customers the option of front-wheel alignment for $50 or four-wheel alignment for $80. Firestone provides a free wheel alignment check to determine if adjustments are required. If so, they charge $70 for standard alignment and $160 for lifetime alignment. 

Goodyear takes a slightly different approach by offering a free alignment check and front-end alignment services at $60. Pep Boys charges $80 for front-wheel alignment and $90 for four-wheel alignments. Goodyear sets their price point at $75 for standard wheel alignments.

Midas is offering two options at different price points. For a front-end alignment, you can avail their service for $70. Alternatively, if you require a more comprehensive alignment service for all four wheels, Midas charges $90. 

Big O Tires provides slightly different pricing options for their alignment services. Their front-end alignment costs marginally higher at $80, while the standard wheel alignment is $70. 

Can You Drive With A Bad Wheel Alignment?

Driving with bad wheel alignment can have fatal consequences for the vehicle and its occupants. One of the risks is that the tires are more likely to experience a blowout due to the excessive pressure caused by misalignment. Bad wheel alignment can negatively impact fuel mileage as more force is required to move the vehicle. Given these potential dangers, driving a misaligned car is not worth risking one’s life.

Conclusion

Car alignment is a crucial aspect of vehicle maintenance that should be noticed. By ensuring that the wheels are correctly aligned, drivers can save money in the long run by preventing unnecessary wear and tear on their tires and other components. In this blog, I hope you’ll understand How Long Does a Tire Alignment Take? Signs of misalignment should be addressed promptly to prevent further damage and avoid costly repairs down the line. Don’t wait until it’s too late – take action now to protect your investment and maintain your performance.

FAQs

How long does a proper alignment take?

The good news is that, in most cases, a wheel alignment can be completed in an hour or less. This quick turnaround time makes it convenient for vehicle owners who may have busy schedules and need to get back on the road as soon as possible.

Do I need a two or 4-wheel alignment?

Modern vehicles like cars, small SUVs, crossovers, and vans need a four-wheel alignment. These vehicles have independent suspension systems that let each wheel move independently. A four-wheel alignment ensures that all four wheels are aligned with each other and the vehicle’s frame.

What is done during an alignment?

When you bring your vehicle in for an alignment, a machine measures your wheel angles. This is done by attaching sensors to each wheel and connecting them to a computer. The device then measures various angles, such as camber, toe, and caster.

How do I know if my wheel alignment is done correctly?

Go for a drive on a level, straight road. The steering wheel should be in the middle position, and the vehicle should travel in a straight line without veering to one side. 2. Steering Wheel: While driving straight, the steering wheel should be centered and not skewed to either side.

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