The technique of lining up a car’s wheels with each other and the ground surface is known as wheel alignment. Are alignments necessary and how long does it take? Let us help you clear out all the confusion with this article!
In this article:
Is Wheel Alignment Necessary?
Yes. Your car’s ability to handle will drastically decrease if the wheels are out of alignment. It will consistently tug in one way, making it very difficult to pivot or travel straight ahead. This could endanger the safety of you and your passengers, in addition to making driving more challenging and reducing riding pleasure.
Additionally, suppose you don’t periodically adjust your wheels; car repair costs could go sky-high. Uneven tire wear can be caused by improperly aligned wheels, which will increase the frequency of tire replacement.
Wheel misalignment can result in your tires experiencing more tension, which frequently leads to flat areas and tire blowouts. Damaged wheel suspension and rims from misaligned wheels can impair the performance and life of your car.
How Long Does It Take To Do An Alignment?
The time frame varies depending on which type of alignment you go for, ranging from 30 to 60 minutes. Here is what you need to know.
For 2-Wheel Alignment
Usually, it will take around 30 minutes to align two wheels. However, it already takes about 15-20 minutes for the setup and breakdown procedure. Thus, the time can be extended as putting up the process and then taking it apart again when the alignment is complete takes a lot of time.
Though experts recommend aligning 4 wheels at once, many maintenance facilities offer 2-wheel alignments for a good reason. This is because they can complete more of them in a day thanks to the higher average speed. And they can charge up to 75% less than they would for a four-wheel alignment.
For 4-Wheel Alignment
You can anticipate a standard alignment for four wheels to take 30-60 minutes. Notice that this is the approximate time; it can be longer or shorter depending on your situation. Still, this full-fledged service is worth taking as it will bring out the best performance of your tires, suspension system parts, and more.
Although a four-wheel alignment is significantly more thorough and the best option for your car whenever it needs an alignment, you can still go for a two-wheel alignment method that we mentioned above, as it is the quicker and less expensive substitute.
Factors Affect Wheel Alignment Time
As you can see, the time of a proper alignment session won’t take too long. Still, some variables will affect this; here are a few of them.
The type of vehicle being worked on has the largest impact on how long the alignment process will take. For example, aligning a pickup truck with 35-inch tires will normally take much longer than a compact sedan with regular 15-17-inch wheels.
Also, newer automobiles will typically adjust quicker than older ones. This is due to how large everything is underneath and how simple it is to access each component.
Components And Tire Condition
Some wheels may require more time than usual since repairs or part replacements may be necessary, depending on how well they are overall. Some major issues that can lengthen the processing time include significant wear and tear, broken suspension system, steering bush problems, track rod extensive damages, etc.
Technician’s Level Of Experience
The technician’s experience is one of the biggest factors that can significantly affect how long the process takes. This is among the most crucial elements when it comes to any auto servicing you have performed, not just alignments. More experienced mechanics typically finish tasks faster than those with much less experience. We have seen many pros finishing our 4-wheel alignment in 30 minutes!
How Often Should You Get An Alignment?
Wheel alignment schedules can change from vehicle to vehicle and from driver to driver. While following the interval recommended in your vehicle’s user manual is the best approach, the majority of mechanics recommend getting your wheels aligned every 1-2 years.
However, sometimes, you might need an alignment sooner than this threshold to prevent severe tire wear and gas mileage loss. Here are some cases that you should get the procedure done.
- New tire purchase: Having an alignment right after installation is a must to ensure your wheels are aligned.
- Uneven tire wear: If there are differences in the wear patterns, your wheels may not be properly aligned.
- After lifting or lowering the vehicle: These processes may damage the camber, toe, and caster angles of your car. To prevent them, check and have an alignment if needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Alignment Expensive?
Not really. On average, a wheel alignment procedure costs between 50 and 168 dollars. However, consider that prices can differ based on the kind of alignment and the service provider.
Can I Do Wheel Alignment At Home?
Yes, you can. There are a variety of reasonably priced home systems that you can purchase for your home garage. Notice that they won’t ever be able to match the ones tire centers use for work, but they will nevertheless assist you in carrying out the alignment process.
Do I Need To Align My Wheels When I Buy New Tires?
Yes. Once an automobile receives a new wheel set, the initial step is to get the wheels aligned. It is essential as it can extend the tire life expectancy, improve the control of your car, and ensure that the proper amount of rubber touches the road.
The Bottom Line
How long does a wheel alignment take? Generally speaking, the time is not too long.
So, don’t hesitate to bring your car to a reliable tire service center and have your wheel properly aligned when needed. This way, you can keep your car performing at its best and secure your safety while driving.
See more: How long does it take to change a tire