Like state inspections, wheel alignments should be done annually. This service can help you get the most out of your tires by preventing them from wearing out too soon, saving you money in the long run.
The type of alignment needed is based on the vehicle. Two-wheel alignments, which are also called front-end alignments, are performed on most pickup trucks. Four-wheel alignments, on the other hand, are conducted on most cars.
While doing an alignment, we check a few adjustments, such as caster, camber and toe. Caster is the angle of the wheels toward the front or back. Meanwhile, camber describes how they slant inward and outward. Toe refers to where the wheels are in relation to the center of the vehicle.
The wheels are inspected and a test drive is performed, as well.
How much is a wheel alignment?
The cost of a wheel alignment can be affected by different circumstances, including how old a vehicle is, the make and model, and the type of alignment needed.
An alignment costs between $80 and $188. This is how it breaks down, according to the type of vehicle.
The wheel alignment cost of a 2 wheel alignment or a 4 wheel alignment costs about $100. That is before any discounts or coupons.
If you have a GM truck, you could be looking at $146, due to the upper control arm adjustments needed. It takes a bit longer to do this service.
If you have a lifted truck and/or aftermarket suspension parts, it could cost $188.
These costs do not include additional services that are needed. This includes suspension components becoming worn or seized by rust, bushings that have gone bad, and needing special parts, such as ball joints and adjustable control arms that would need to be installed to bring an alignment back into the correct specifications.
For vehicles that only need front end adjustments – which you could normally do a two wheel alignment on – the back may be modified with shims on the backing plates to bring the toe and camber into the right specs, even if they aren’t on car adjustments.
Cars that have toe specifications on all four wheels may require other parts to change the caster and camber.
Vehicle safety systems, such as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), could impact the cost, because after getting an alignment there may be a system that needs to be recalibrated.
Shopping for a cheap alignment only based on price isn’t a good idea.
Many places will technically put the readings in the green, but it may not be a good overall alignment. The manufacturers provide a range of adjustments. Even if they may be in the green, if the tires are pointed slightly to the left, it could cause the vehicle to pull while going down the road.
Our technicians look at the overall alignment, not just trying to turn the screen green.
Sometimes, even though the specifications may be technically just outside the green zone on the screen, it isn’t always necessary to replace parts to compensate for it. The amount of wear would be so minuscule, repairs may not be needed.
That’s the type of information our technicians and service writers bring to our customers to help them make the best decision about a wheel alignment.
Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Goodyear tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including BMW and Mercedes. Services include oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.