Wheel alignment is necessary if you are keen on saving fuel money and making your tires last longer. When your wheels aren’t aligned, a lot could go wrong. You could quickly get in an accident because your steering wheel doesn’t function as it is supposed to.
When purchasing a new car, you will find that your wheels are perfectly aligned, facing forward as they should. But with time, they get crooked. The toe, camber, and caster stop being as straight as they should, which interferes with the steering wheel. You will find that it gets hard to steer because the wheels don’t face the right direction, and you have to use a lot of effort to make them steer in the right direction.
When the wheels don’t respond to the steering as they should, it results in accidents. For example, when you’re driving in the rain and your car hydroplanes, it will be hard to regain control of the vehicle, resulting in an accident if there is traffic around.
It is essential to get your wheel alignment checked every year or twice a year. If you mostly have bad roads, you should have them checked every six months. Rough roads always interfere with wheel alignment because of how many bumps there are on the road. Such a bumpy road makes the toe, caster, and camber move from their original positions quickly.
How much does it typically cost to get an alignment?
On average, a complete wheel alignment for all four wheels will cost between $150 to $200. This estimate is just average, meaning you can get a cheaper or more expensive mechanic. When you only need a set of wheels to be aligned, it could cost between $50 to $100.
The amount of money you will be charged for wheel alignment depends on how complicated your situation is and the need for specialized equipment. But if you have an average car with basic requirements, the price will be fair.
You might also visit your mechanic thinking of wheel alignment only. Then your mechanic finds more problems in your car. When dealing with alignment, your mechanic will also check on your brakes and suspensions. No mechanic will let you leave with such dire issues as they could lead to significant problems later on. Such additional unavoidable expenses could make you spend more at your mechanic’s than you anticipated.
If you have recently purchased your car, you might have the benefits of wheel alignment in your warranty. Those free alignments only last for a while, and then you’ll start paying out of your pocket for your wheel alignment.
Your insurance doesn’t cover wheel alignment since that is maintenance. But if your wheels need an alignment because you’ve recently been in an accident, then your insurance will cover those services.
How do I know if I need 2 or 4 wheel alignment?
Two-wheel alignment means adjusting the two front wheels of your vehicle and leaving out the back wheels, while 4-wheel alignment means adjusting all four wheels.
When aligning your tires, the wheels will be aligned depending on the type of car you are driving. If you have an SUV or big truck, the rear axle is always solid and never gets out of alignment not unless you have been in an accident and your axle is bent and out of line.
When doing a two-wheel alignment, your mechanic will also perform a “thrust angle adjustment.” This is when your mechanic also puts alignment heads on the rear wheels as this aligns the front wheels and back wheels, making them “square” with each other.
Four-wheel adjustments are made on vehicles with independent suspensions found in cars with an all-wheel-drive model. The mechanic will adjust the toe, caster, and camber on the front wheels and adjust the toe and camber on the rear wheels on such a vehicle. After your mechanic has completed this, the car will steer correctly since the front wheels will be straight, making the steering wheel straightforward.
So, when going to your mechanic for an alignment, know which type of car you have, and that will determine the kind of alignment you will get and the amount of money you will pay.
Wheel alignment is a necessity that should be dealt with every six months or yearly, depending on your roads, how frequently you hit the curb and speed bumps. These affect how easily the toe, camber, and caster fall out of alignment.
You need to align your vehicle to avoid accidents and reduce the amount of money you usually use on fuel and new tires. When your car is aligned correctly, you won’t need to change tires as frequently, saving a lot of money.