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How Long Does a Wheel Alignment Take? You Need To Know All About Wheel Alignment For Your Vehicle

Do you want to know how long does a wheel alignment take? If so, you’re in the perfect place to find this out. If you feel frustrated because you don’t know how often you should get an alignment, don’t worry.

We know it’s frustrating when the tire is worn from the inside because you didn’t know when you should get an alignment.

How Long Does a Wheel Alignment Take At Car Repair Shop

We’ll go in-depth on when and why you should get an alignment.

By taking some time out of your day to learn more about wheel alignments, you will gain enough insight into wheel alignments.

Why Should I Get a Wheel Alignment?

If you recently got a car, you’ve probably heard that you should get a wheel alignment and get rid of the old tires.

But is that actually true? Well, it depends. Here is a list of things to know whether you need to get a wheel alignment or not:

  • The car does not pull to one side when going down the road
  • The vehicle shakes when reaching high RPMs
  • The tires are abnormally wearing out

If you’re experiencing any of those symptoms, we suggest getting a wheel alignment as soon as possible.

Dealing with such problems when driving is incredibly dangerous and pointless. You could get into an accident if you tried to put up with those problems.

And as time goes by, these problems will only get worse. So, consider getting a wheel alignment.

If you need to get a wheel alignment as soon as possible, we recommend reaching out to a professional for help.

Professionals have laser-guided alignment equipment, which is ideal for getting this job done.

They will find problems that the car may have. And they can accurately make adjustments to fix those issues.

What Is a Wheel Alignment?

All the vehicle wheels are supposed to get an alignment after traveling a certain distance.

So, what is wheel alignment? A wheel alignment is vital for the vehicle to go straight without wavering to one side.

However, as crazy as it sounds, the vehicle’s wheels are not turned entirely straight when the car turns straight.

If that were the case, the car would instantly squeal when you go straight. Back in the day, you could make all kinds of adjustments.

However, nowadays, you’re limited when it comes to making adjustments.

A good wheel alignment will ensure that your tires remain straight when you’re driving down the road. And the tires will not scuff or wear over time.

An excellent alignment ensures that you have excellent fuel efficiency. But, if you have a bad alignment, it will significantly lower fuel efficiency.

Also, keep in mind that all manufacturers take a different approach to how they align wheels.

But why does each manufacturer designate different angles to the wheels? The answer is performance.

All manufacturers make different vehicles, so performance is different from other models.

How Often Should I Have the Alignment Checked?

So far, we have covered why you should get your car aligned, but how often should I get a wheel alignment? Well, the answer is—it depends on the type of car you have.

As you might know by now, a wheel alignment is just a method of making changes to make the wheels straight and perpendicular to the road.

If the tires are wearing, the vehicle will not remain in a straight line, and the car might use more gas.

As a general rule, we suggest having the alignment checked at least every two years.

Two years should be more than enough time to have the alignment checked.

However, two years is not enough if something abnormal happens to the suspension of the vehicle.

For example, if you hit a curb, it is a great idea to have the alignment checked.

Therefore, if you suspect that the vehicle might need to be aligned, we suggest having the alignment checked to prevent further damage to the tires.

Also, every time you have the tires replaced, we recommend having the alignment checked.

Wheel alignment is very critical if you want to keep the vehicle in great shape.

Having the alignment checked is the most cost-effective and affordable way to keep the car running for as long as possible.

Wheel Alignment Cost

So, how much is a wheel alignment in most places? The average cost for a wheel alignment is about $100 in most areas.

If your car is not pulling to one side and shaking as you drive, a four-wheel alignment or a two-wheel alignment might fix this annoying issue.

A high-quality alignment is not cheap by any means, and we don’t recommend getting a cheap wheel alignment.

Here is a list of things you need to take into account to get a good alignment:

  • If you have a modern car, make sure the shop you go to has digital alignment equipment. Excellent digital alignment equipment will provide the best results for the vehicle
  • If possible, find a shop that gives digital print-out alignments. You want to get a digital print-out alignment to get a better understanding of what kind of adjustments were made

A lot goes behind the scenes and why it costs $100 to get a wheel alignment. However, depending on the vehicle, you might see that number go up a little bit.

Nonetheless, you still want to make sure the people working on your car have the right tools to perform a wheel alignment.

For example, if the vehicle you want to get aligned has backup cameras, blind-spot protection, and other fancy features, the price will most likely go up. So, keep that in mind.

Most mechanics charge an hourly rate so that $100 might end up being a $200 bill.

DIY Guide: How to Perform a Front End Wheel Alignment

Throughout this guide, we will cover all the steps to learn how to perform a wheel alignment like a professional.

How much does a wheel alignment cost? It cost about $100, which is somewhat expensive, so it’s not a bad idea to do this on your own to save some money.

Don’t worry! By the time you finish reading this article, you should know how to perform a proper wheel alignment independently.

You will be surprised by simple this process can be.

As long as you have the right tools, you should be able to perform a wheel alignment.

So, without any further due, here are the steps to perform a wheel alignment on your own:

01. What You Will Need 

First and foremost, what do you exactly need to perform a wheel alignment at home? Here is what you need to perform a wheel alignment on your own:

  • Wrenches to adjust the car
  • A floor jack to lift up the vehicle
  • Jack stands to make sure the car does not fall off of the floor jack
  • A ruler or measuring tape
  • A rope to measure the car

Once you have gotten all these tools, you can proceed with the rest of the tutorial.

02. Jack Up The Vehicle

Jacking up a vehicle is not an easy task; if you don’t do this properly, you can get severely injured, and in the worst-case scenario, you can get killed.

To safely lift and support the vehicle, here is what you need to do:

  • Place the jack floor underneath the stabilizer bar and lift it up
  • Do not get underneath the car just yet
  • Place the jack stands underneath the vehicle
  • Make sure you put the jack stands on areas that are meant to support the weight
  • The tow hooks are your best option for this kind of work

If you’re a visual learner, we recommend watching this video:

03. Loosen The Locking Nut

Once you have jacked up the vehicle, you want to loosen the locking nut. Here is how to do a wheel alignment on your own:

  • Get underneath the vehicle
  • Use the wrench to loosen the locking nut
  • Be careful as you don’t want to hit any parts of the vehicle
  • Make sure to do this process on both sides

If the bolts got corroded, we suggest using WD-40 to loosen them up. Otherwise, you will have a hard time doing so.

04. Straighten The Steering Wheel

We’ve made a lot of progress so far, but now we need to straighten the steering wheel. To do this, follow these steps:

  • Get on the car and place your hands on the steering wheel
  • Turn around the steering wheel a couple of times
  • You don’t want to apply too much pressure when doing this. All you need to do is move the steering wheel a little bit
  • After you have done this process, refrain yourself from using the steering wheel until you have completed the next steps

Once you have done this process, you’re pretty much ready to move onto the next section.

05. Set Up The Rope

Setting up the rope takes a little bit of time before you get it right, so don’t feel disappointed if you don’t get it right on your first try. Here is what you need to tie the rope:

  • Place a jack stand on both the front side and the backside
  • Tie a piece of string to both jack stands
  • Make sure the rope is straight enough
  • Leave some space between the string and the wheels

Once you have set up the rope, you need to measure the wheels, more on this in a moment, but for now, set up the string.

06. Measure The Distance Between The Rope And The Wheels

This process is a little bit complicated as you have to measure the distance between the rope and the vehicle’s wheels; this is very important as you won’t get the car aligned if you get this wrong.

Don’t worry, though. With these steps, you will get this thing right.

  • Measure the distance between the string and the rear side
  • Now you want to measure the distance between the string and the front side of the wheel
  • You want both measurements to be equal; otherwise, this method will not work
  • Also, you have to do this process on both sides

If the measurements are not equal, you need to do some adjusting to get this right. Take as much time as required before you get the right measurements.

07. Adjust The Toe

If the measurements are a little bit off—you want to adjust the toe to get accurate measurements. To do this, make sure to follow these steps:

  • Get underneath the vehicle
  • Now take the smaller wrench
  • If you turn the inner tire out clockwise, it will start pulling the wheel in. However, if you turn it the other way, you will cause the wheel to point towards the outside

Here is an excellent video you can watch about this topic:

08. Tighten the Locking Nuts

By now, we’re almost done. However, before you get on the vehicle and run a few miles, you need to tighten the locking nuts. And then lower the car.

Once you have done, you’re ready to drive down the road as much as you want.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you want to know more about wheel alignments? If so, here is a section with the most common questions about wheel alignments:

How long does an alignment cost?

The average cost for a wheel alignment is about $100 pretty much anywhere you go.

There are some places where you might find a lower price, but we do not recommend such places as they might skip some parts to lower the cost.

How long does it take to get a wheel alignment done?

It takes roughly an hour to get the car aligned. However, this depends on the mechanic. Some people might take two hours, but for the most part, it takes about an hour.

How do you know when your alignment is done?

Here is a list of common symptoms that you need to get the car aligned:

  • The vehicle is not pulling to one side
  • The tires are wearing
  • The vehicle is shaking

If you notice any of those symptoms, we recommend getting a wheel alignment as soon as possible.

Conclusion

How long does a wheel alignment take? As you know by now, it takes roughly an hour in most places.

That is plenty of time to get the car aligned, but only if everything goes right.

However, if the mechanic finds a problem, they might take some time before they get the car aligned.

You also learned how to perform a front end alignment on your own, and while this process takes some time on the first try, once you get the hang of it, it will be surprisingly easy next time.

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