If you’ve been driving around for a while, you may have noticed that your car seems to be pulling to one side, making it hard to keep it in a straight line when you’re driving on the highway. Chances are, you need a wheel alignment. So how much does a wheel alignment cost?
Wheel alignment typically costs between $50 and $200. A basic front-wheel alignment can generally cost you about $50 to $100, while a four-wheel alignment can cost upwards of $200. Some shops may offer discounts for multiple alignments or bringing in the car during off-peak hours.
Read on for a rundown of the factors that determine wheel alignment prices and tips for getting the best rates on the market.
What Is the Average Price for a Wheel Alignment?
The average price for a two-wheel alignment (sometimes called a “front-end” alignment) is generally between $50 and $100. For a four-wheel alignment, the price ranges from about $100 to $150. More comprehensive services that include caster and camber adjustments can cost up to $200.
That said, it’s essential to keep in mind that these prices are averages, and the cost of your alignment may be higher or lower.
Factors That Impact Wheel Alignment Cost
Now that you know how much you’d spend on wheel alignment, let me add a caveat: the cost may go higher than these estimates. Several factors can impact wheel alignment cost and the quality of the alignment job itself.
Let’s look at some of the key considerations:
Type of Alignment Service
The first thing to keep in mind is that not all alignments are equal. There are different types of alignments, each tailored to a specific type of vehicle or driving condition. The three most common types of alignments are:
- Standard alignment: A standard alignment is the most basic type of alignment service. It usually only involves adjustments to the steering wheel and toe angles. This type of alignment is recommended for most drivers and is generally cheaper than the rest.
- Performance alignment: A performance alignment is designed to improve the handling of a car, making it more responsive and agile on the road. This type of alignment is recommended for drivers who want to get the most out of their car’s performance, especially on the track or in competitive driving conditions.
- Front-wheel alignment: A front-wheel alignment is a specific service designed for front-wheel drive vehicles. This type of alignment is necessary to ensure that the front wheels are correctly aligned with the rest of the car.
- Four-wheel alignment: A four-wheel alignment is a more comprehensive type of alignment service that adjusts all four wheels of the car. This service is pretty expensive since it requires more time and effort to complete.
The Location of the Shop
Another factor that’ll impact wheel alignment cost is the shop’s location. Generally speaking, alignment shops in major cities tend to be more expensive than those in smaller towns. This is because the overhead costs (rent and utility fees) are higher in major cities.
The Vehicle Type and Age
The cost of a wheel alignment varies with the type of vehicle you have and its age. For example, a standard passenger car will typically cost less to align than a larger SUV or truck.
Similarly, an older vehicle may need more work to align the wheels than a newer one. This is because the suspension components can wear out over time, making it more difficult to achieve a proper alignment.
In addition, some vehicles may require special alignment services that aren’t available at all shops. For example, certain luxury vehicles or sports cars may need a four-wheel alignment, which is expensive.
Pro Tip: Before you take your car in for an alignment, be sure to ask the shop about their experience with your car’s make and model and what type of alignment services they offer.
Suspension and Steering System Condition
The condition of your car’s suspension and steering system can also impact wheel alignment costs. If these components are in poor condition, it may be necessary to replace them before the alignment can be completed.
Most notably, alignments require a certain level of precision. If the suspension or steering components aren’t up to par, the alignment might not be done correctly. This can lead to additional problems down the road, so it’s best to get these components fixed before getting an alignment.
Wheel Alignment Frequency
If you do a lot of driving on rough roads or in competitive driving conditions, you may need to get an alignment more often than someone who only drives on well-maintained roads. In general, it’s good to get an alignment at least once a year or more often if you notice that your car isn’t handling as well as it should.
That said, the more often you get an alignment, the more it’ll cost in the long run. Therefore, it’s essential to strike a balance between getting an alignment too often and not often enough.
Discounts and Coupons Reduce Costs
Some wheel alignment shops offer discounts or coupons to help offset the service cost. For example, some shops offer loyalty programs that give customers a discount after having a certain number of alignments. Still, some shops offer discounts for AAA members, so ensure you ask about any discounts or coupons that may be available when you call to make an appointment.
When you take your car to a shop for a wheel alignment, the technician will first need to inspect your vehicle to determine what type of adjustment is required. This inspection can take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, and the technician’s labor rate will determine how much you’ll pay for this service.
In addition, the technician will need to make adjustments to your vehicle’s suspension. This process can also take 15-30 minutes, and again, the labor rate will affect the final cost. So if you’re concerned about how much a wheel alignment will cost, be sure to ask for the rate card before making your appointment.
How To Get the Best Wheel Alignment Deal?
Now that you know the factors that affect wheel alignment cost, you’re probably wondering how to get the best deal on this service. After all, no one wants to overpay for something that can be reasonably affordable or compromise on quality to save a few bucks.
Here are some tips to help you get the best wheel alignment deal possible.
Compare Different Prices
The best way to get the best wheel alignment deal is to shop around and compare prices. Many shops offer discounts or coupons, so be sure to ask about any deals available.
In addition, it’s always a good idea to read reviews before making an appointment, so you’ll know what to expect from the shop. For example, you can check previous customer reviews on sites like Google, Yelp, or Angie’s List.
Schedule an Appointment in Advance
If you know you need an alignment, it’s best to schedule an appointment in advance. This will ensure that you get the best possible price, as many shops offer discounts for customers who schedule ahead of time.
In addition, some shops may be able to work you in for an appointment more quickly if you schedule in advance. This can be especially helpful if you’re in a hurry to get your alignment done.
Ask for a Package Deal
Another way to save on wheel alignment costs is to get a package deal. Many shops offer discounts when you combine an alignment with other services, such as a tire rotation or oil change.
Be sure to ask about any package deals available when you call to make your appointment. This can be a great way to save on the overall cost of the service.
Observe a Strict Maintenance Schedule
The best way to reduce wheel alignment expenses is to observe a strict maintenance schedule. This means keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure, rotating your tires regularly, and checking your suspension regularly.
By following a strict maintenance schedule, you can help ensure that your car remains in good condition and that you won’t need to pay for costly repairs down the road.
Note: If you need to keep track of your maintenance schedule, consider using this KNB Publishing Car Maintenance Log Book from Amazon.com. It comes with up to 340 entries and has space to track oil changes, tire rotations, and much more. Therefore, it can help you stay on top of your car’s maintenance and avoid expensive repairs.
How To Determine if You Need a Wheel Alignment?
Having your wheels aligned is an integral part of maintaining your car. But how do you know if you need a wheel alignment? There are a few signs to look for, including the following:
- Uneven tire wear: This can signify that your car’s wheels are out of alignment. If you notice that one or more of your tires are wearing down more quickly than the others, it’s good to get an alignment.
- Pulling to one side: If your car starts to pull to one side when you’re driving, it’s a sign that the wheels are out of alignment. This can be dangerous, so it’s vital to get an alignment as soon as possible.
- Squealing tires: If you hear squealing from your tires, it could be a sign that they’re out of alignment. This is usually caused by the tires not making contact with the road evenly, which can be dangerous.
If you notice any of these signs, take your car in for an alignment. This can help prevent further damage to your tires and suspension and improve your car’s overall performance.
Here’s a video that may come in handy if you need more insights into how to tell if your car needs an alignment:
If you’re like most people, you probably don’t think about getting a wheel alignment until there’s something wrong with your car. And even then, it’s only if the problem is so bad that you can no longer ignore it. But believe it or not, regularly getting your wheels aligned could save you money in the long run.
Wheel alignment services aren’t that expensive, and they can improve your tires’ lifespan. So if you’re overdue for a wheel alignment, schedule an appointment now. You may be surprised at how much difference it makes!