Would you sit in a car that has tires going in different directions? We’re sure you wouldn’t feel safe doing that. Would you? Well, getting a tire alignment is essential because it is one of the regular maintenance tasks.
It is required so that your vehicle stays in a top-notch condition and ensures your safety at all times. Car maintenance can be a lengthy and cumbersome job. However, with the proper maintenance services, it can be a smooth sail.
If you’re wondering how long does alignment take, well, we are here to help you with it. Generally, a wheel alignment takes an average of one hour, but there is so much more that you should know about the entire process.
Today, we will tell you everything that you need to know about tire alignment. Read on to find out!
What is Wheel Alignment?
Before we begin understanding how long alignment takes, let’s first look at what a tire alignment process means. As the name suggests, tire alignment is the process of aligning the wheels of your vehicle with one another and the road.
We achieve wheel alignment by bringing the suspension system, which includes the struts, to its proper positioning and configuration. Tire alignment is not a task that you can do all by yourself. It requires the expertise of experienced mechanics who know how to use an alignment machine.
Why is Tire Alignment Necessary?
A tire alignment ensures the squaring of the wheels and axles of your car. You’d want your car to move in one direction. Wouldn’t you? So, yes! Tire alignment is necessary for this straightforward reason.
If your car’s wheels are misaligned, you will not be able to handle your car at all. Thus, through the process of tire alignment, you can get a perfect handle over your vehicle.
The tire alignment process adjusts all the suspension angles that have an impact on tire positioning and movements. It ensures that your steering wheel is perfectly centered. Wheels that are not aligned properly are likely to experience more wear and tear.
As misaligned tires lead to added tension, your car’s wheels will likely experience tire blowouts or flat spots if tires are not aligned. It will force you to replace the tires of your more frequently than you do now. You do not want that to happen.
Additionally, misaligned wheels can also lead to damaged suspension and wheel rims. That will affect the longevity and performance of your car. Now, let’s take a look at how long a wheel alignment process takes.
How Long Does It Take to Do a Tire Alignment?
If you want an exceptionally accurate alignment, you will have to pick a workshop with a preprogrammed wheel alignment machine as per the measurements of your cars. It would be best if you did this so that your wheels get a precise alignment.
You’re going to get good results only if you ensure that all bolts are tight enough and replace the defective parts. A typical wheel alignment takes at least 30 minutes to 1 hour.
However, this depends on the type of suspension system your car comes with, the required adjustments, and how complicated the process is.
You have to do a test drive before and after the wheel alignment process to see the difference in performance. Along with the wheel alignment, there is another process that you should get done.
This additional process is known as wheel balancing. While wheel alignment may take up to an hour, a wheel balancing process consumes 40 minutes to 2 hours. During this time, correct measurements with proper machines balance the wheels of your car.
Now, you know that wheel alignment isn’t a lengthy process. So, let’s jump to seeing how long a wheel alignment lasts.
How Long Does Wheel Alignment Last?
The life of a new wheel alignment is entirely in your hands. How long a wheel alignment lasts depends on your driving habits, the previous condition of the car, and the road condition.
However, you can get the wheel alignment checked every time you get an oil change. Wheel alignment is a subjective issue because the wear and tear of tires are directly related to how you drive, where you drive, and how much you drive.
Nevertheless, it is better to get a routine wheel check-up done to ensure that no excessive damage occurs. Additionally, you can even check the owner’s manual that came with your car to determine the interval at which you should get your wheels checked.
Generally, we advise you to get the car wheels checked at least once a year. Usually, 1-2 years of driving affect the wheel alignment of a car. Nevertheless, if your car holds well on the road and does not have worn-out tires, it’s not necessary to get a wheel alignment frequently.
However, you must note that cars with wider tires or cars that are performance-oriented need to get wheel alignments more frequently than other cars.
How Much Does a Wheel Alignment Cost?
A wheel alignment does not cost as much as you think for a process that keeps your safety on the highest pedestal. It is not as expensive as compared to other car maintenance and repair work.
Typically, a wheel alignment costs between $75 for a single alignment to $200 for an extended warranty. However, you will require additional services and costs if your car faces tire equilibrium or suspension issues.
In such a case, the mechanics will have to fix these problems to align your tires correctly. This cost is an extra addition to the original cost.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Wheel Alignments
Although we have already given you a substantial amount of information about wheel alignment, here are the frequent doubts about this process. Check them out to see if they answer any other questions that you might have.
How do I know when the wheel alignment is done?
The wheel alignment is perfect when:
- Your car starts pulling to one side again
- The car stops shaking
- Your tires don’t wear out as frequently anymore
Why should I get wheel balancing done along with the wheel alignment process?
Balancing your car’s wheels is essential because it helps restore the appropriate balance to the weight distribution of your car’s wheels. To put it simply, even if your car’s tires are aligned, there could be an uneven distribution of weight around the tires.
You can avoid this unevenness by wheel balancing. Furthermore, balancing the wheels will also end abnormal vibration or shaking you experience while driving.
Is it alright to drive a car with bad alignment?
No, it is not alright to drive a car with bad alignment because the wheels become very weak. Additionally, the vehicle will not move in one direction. So, it will be challenging to control your vehicle.
How do I know if my car needs a wheel alignment?
Here are the potential signs that will help you determine whether you need a wheel alignment process or not:
- Whenever you drive, the car bends to the left or right
- Hearing a loud noise whenever you’re speeding
- Your steering wheel vibrates every time you drive
- Whenever you take a corner, the car moves in the wrong directions
- You have a crooked steering wheel, i.e., and the wheel is not in the center
- If the tires on your vehicle have uneven tire wear pattern on the front and hind wheels, it is an indication of misaligned wheels
Why do wheel alignments take longer than expected?
Wheel alignments taking a long time are entirely dependent upon the kind of car you have, the weather you drive the vehicle through, and how much the tires have suffered. Some adjustments include tightening or adjusting the control arms or steering tie rods. These processes take a long time.
However, all these processes ensure that the wheel alignment of your car is wholly accurate.
Checking your car’s wheel alignment regularly is a great idea, especially if you notice any symptoms mentioned above. It is always better to take your vehicle to an auto repair shop as soon as your car starts causing the slightest trouble.
That being said, always make sure you have the right set of tires for the terrain. If you are more into off-roading, pick the best off-road tires for daily driving and similarly for other terrains.
Wheel alignment is a crucial matter of your safety and your car’s health. We hope we have successfully helped you to understand everything that you need to know about wheel alignments.