How Long Does An Alignment Take?

A maintenance task must be carried out routinely to ensure the proper running of your vehicle.

If your car wheel is misaligned, there is a need for repair. This repair task is referred to as a Tire Alignment.

When performing this task, the vehicle must be tested before the wheel alignment is done, and any problem observed is repaired to ensure its back to normal.

This guide will enlighten you on the basics of wheel alignment, including its conditions and procedures.

How Do You Know If Your Car Needs An Alignment?

If you notice these signs discussed below in your car, you need to consider aligning your wheel.

1. Off-center Steering Wheel

An oddly angled steering wheel could indicate a front-end alignment rather than a four-wheel alignment.

This means that the alignment is only carried out on your front axle. Alignment of this type is the simplest and is not recommended for modern vehicles.

A four-wheel alignment puts together all the thrust-angle and front-end alignments combinations.

It is commonly carried out on four-wheel-drive vehicles that have rear suspensions that are easily adjusted and also in all-wheel-drive vehicles.

On the other hand, the thrust alignment positions all four wheels by putting together a front-end alignment and thrust alignment. Vehicles having a solid rear axle can use this type of alignment.

When driving, you should closely observe the direction of the steering. If you aren’t paying attention, you might be driving with your steering wheel misaligned subconsciously.

The mechanic adjusts the front tie rods during a front-end alignment to remove any pull from the steering wheel.

It ensures that the front tie rods are in the same direction as the rear tires by changing their position relative to the steering column.

Doing this can get the directional pull working, but it can also cause the issue of off-tracking. It can also lead to a reduction in the vehicle’s performance and drivability since your vehicle makes a slight angle movement while driving.

Also, fuel economy is decreased from dragging and resistance from the wind.

2. Steering Wheel Vibrating

Whenever a car hits a pothole or even a curb, a misaligned wheel causes vibration, which can result in difficulty in handling your vehicle.

If an unbalanced tire pulls in the opposite direction, vibration can occur from the misalignment.

3. Loosed Steering Wheel

In addition to a misaligned wheel, a loose or slack steering wheel indicates a problem. Ideally, your vehicle should be able to be controlled.

If the tire movement is not changing much and controlling the wheel becomes problematic, you have to perform a wheel alignment immediately.

4. Uneven Tire Wears

Uneven tire wear is a common sign that can indicate your car needs an alignment. This is because misaligned wheels cause uneven wear on tires.

Therefore, a proper inspection must be conducted. You can take measurements of tread depth in different parts.

Tread depth equal to each other indicates proper alignment. On the other hand, unequal depth calls for a wheel alignment check.

Also Read: What is a Serpentine Belt & When Should You Replace It

Wheel Alignment Procedure

How Long Does An Alignment Take
Credits: AMNAT DPP / Shutterstock

First, you should know that wheel alignment refers to adjusting the suspension system to adjust the wheels. The angle of the tires is what determines how they contact the road. We will now show you how to align your wheels correctly.

  1. Do not neglect some important actions. For example, the tire’s air pressure should be correct as instructed. 
  2. Examine the wheels closely to see if they have any cracks. If you see a worn-out tire or one with very low quality, replace it immediately. 
  3. It is imperative that all suspension components are checked thoroughly. If a fault is found, it could lead to further complications.
  4.  Afterward, the vehicle should be hooked up to a computerized wheel alignment machine.
  5.  Utilize equipment and tools that are in good condition. You do not want to start over. 
  6. Take accurate measurements, measuring each angle by attaching the tools to each wheel and taking records. Angles are adjusted correctly from the records taken.

There are three angles in a vehicle. They include:

Camber Angle: If the camber angle is not correct, you should inspect the vehicle from the front. Malaligned camber is often caused by the incorrect alignment of ball joints and bearings.

Toe Angle: The toe angle can be viewed from the top of the car. Adjustment is required if the wheels are not angled correctly.

Caster Angle (or Caster Angle): These can be viewed from the side of the vehicle. They are responsible for equilibrium in steering wheels. A Positive caster wheel usually bends toward the driver and a negative caster toward the front.

Aligning the wheels is an important part of maintaining the vehicle. But why? Uneven tire wear is caused by unaligned wheels, which cause instability and reduce vehicle handling ability, and it can also affect the wheel bearings.

Here is a video on wheel alignment procedure

What Is The Cost Of An Alignment?

A car alignment is relatively inexpensive compared to other repairs and maintenance. A single alignment costs $75 and an average of $200 for extended warranties; this, however, depends on what kind of car you have and your place of residence.

The cost for multiple alignments could be higher than that of a single alignment with extended warranties. Check conditions to know if you are eligible for a free alignment.

It is the duty of your mechanic to see to the adjustment of your vehicle’s tire and suspension system.

Alignment companies often offer lifetime warranties. This is a smart idea for those who plan to drive their cars for many years on rough roads.

How Long Does An Alignment Last?

It is impossible to estimate exactly how long an alignment will last. As a rule of thumb, you should have your wheels aligned every two to three years or when you notice any warning signs. It’s also recommended that you align your wheels after installing new tires.

Also Read: Car Shakes When Braking – Why & How To Fix


There you have it, your answer to How long does an alignment take

On average, wheel alignment should take between 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on how complex the suspension system is and how many adjustments are needed to achieve the right angles. This is both for a two-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive vehicle. It does not include suspension work. it’ll take a longer time if some components have to be replaced.

Maintaining your car and keeping it in top condition will protect you and your family while you are on the road. It also prevents costly repairs. If your wheel alignment is faulty, you can have it checked periodically.

This will ensure that your tires last longer than you expected. After replacing or repairing suspension parts, wheel alignment must be done.

Make sure the wheel alignment center that you use has the proper measurements for each car model. These simple tasks will keep you safe and protect your driving.

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