Asked by: Haiat Zaslavsky
automotive road side assistance

Do I need an alignment?

Last Updated: 13th January, 2020

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A wheel alignment isn't necessary when you have new tires installed, but it's a really (like, really) good idea. An alignment helps ensure that all four tires are correctly angled with each other and the road. A wheel alignment can help you get more miles out of a new set of tires.

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In this manner, how do you know if you need an alignment?

Here are some common signs that you are dealing with wheels with poor alignment:

  1. Vehicle pulling to the left or right.
  2. Uneven or rapid tire wear.
  3. Your steering wheel is crooked when driving straight.
  4. Squealing tires.

Also, how often do I need an alignment? Your mechanic will typically recommend doing the wheel alignment every two-three years. Often, the wheel alignment is recommended when new tires are installed. The alignment should be done more often if your car has wider tires or if it's a sporty car, e.g. Audi, BMW, Mazda 3, Nissan 370Z, etc.

Then, how much does it cost for an alignment?

There are many service centers that can perform an alignment with the average wheel alignment cost being $75 for a single alignment up to $200 for an extended warranty. This is a very important preventative maintenance procedure to have completed as it will ensure the safety of your vehicle's operation.

Can I drive my car if it needs an alignment?

Driving a vehicle with improper wheel alignment can cause uneven wear on the tires. If the problem is not corrected soon enough, a vehicle's tires could suffer premature wear and tear, making them ineffective for safe driving. An alignment problem should be corrected immediately to avoid unnecessary tire damage.

Related Question Answers

Wenlong Perez

Professional

What does a bad alignment sound like?

Usually, you'll hear sounds caused by uneven wear coming from one tire. Alignment issues can also cause tire noises. As you travel, the air chamber produces a low humming or drumming sound. If your car is overdue for a wheel alignment, then you'll start to experience a bumpier ride.

Sharyl Gandares

Professional

How do you check wheel alignment at home?

To check camber, make sure the vehicle is parked on level ground. If not, factor the ground slope into the camber reading. Then place a straight edge across the wheel (use the inner lip if the outer is nicked or uneven) and use an angle finder to reveal camber.

Issouf Joshipura

Professional

What causes wheels to go out of alignment?

Here are the top three reasons your vehicle may fall out of alignment: Sudden disturbance or impact from hitting something such as a pothole, bumping into a curb, going too fast over a speed bump, or an accident. Suspension components, including poor shocks or struts, become worn or loose affecting alignment.

Hasni Diesterhaupt

Explainer

What is a free alignment check?

Free Alignment Check. During our free wheel alignment check, we'll measure your vehicle's wheel angles to determine if they are perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other to help ensure maximum tire life and optimal vehicle handling.

Ahmet Dangelmaier

Explainer

How long will tires last with bad alignment?

A small misalignment will shorten tire life by a few thousand miles, a major misalignmant will wear tires out in a few hundred miles. If the car is wandering, pulling to one side or shaking when driving, get an alignment. It might save you hundreds by making your tires last as long as possible.

Valentinas De Saa

Explainer

Anacleto Hagenbruck

Pundit

Can a bad alignment cause shaking?

Bad alignment can also cause vibration as wheels pull against each other. If your car is shaking while running down the road, check your alignment. A crooked steering wheel. Another sign of a vehicle that is out of alignment is that the steering wheel may be crooked while the car or truck is going straight ahead.

Renier Zul

Pundit

How much is a steering alignment?

Expect to pay between $50 and $75 for a two-wheel alignment, and double that for a four-wheel alignment. Many shops also recommend getting a tire rotation at the same time, which simply means moving tires from front to back and side to side, in turn promoting an even wear pattern.

Nirmine Presunto

Pundit

How much is a lifetime alignment at Firestone?

The Lifetime Alignment price is $89.95 in my area. Make sure that your tires are in good condition or purchase a new set if they are worn out.

Nouhad Sanyogita

Pundit

Does Jiffy Lube do wheel alignments?

Jiffy Lube now offers Alignment Services! Vehicle alignment service helps your tires last longer, can help improve gas mileage and provides tighter handling to give you and your passengers a better ride. The highly trained Jiffy Lube® technicians are knowledgeable about vehicle alignment.

Lutz Bley

Pundit

Does Discount Tire do alignment?

Discount Tire does not perform alignment services, but we want to provide you with useful information about how alignment settings can affect your tires.

Lorean Bouchard

Teacher

Does tire rotation fix alignment?

Tire rotation (also known as wheel/tire balancing) is completely different from an alignment. A tire rotation is when your mechanic, essentially, moves your tires from one position to another, creating even wear. You'll know if you need a rotation because your car will shimmy side to side while driving.

Mandita Puddu

Teacher

Can you align your own car?

Assuming that the steering wheel is already centered, adjust the tie-rods on each side the same amount. Roll the vehicle back and forth several feet a few times to transfer your adjustment to the tires, then re-measure the toe. To check camber, make sure the vehicle is parked on level ground.

Argeme Sanchez Vallejo

Teacher

How an alignment is done?

An alignment essentially requires squaring a car's wheels and axles with each other so that they're moving in the same direction. The mechanic adjusts the various suspension angles -- known as toe, thrust, camber and caster -- that influence tire movement and position.

Signe Agenosov

Teacher

Do rear wheels need alignment?

Cars with independent rear suspension usually do. A rear tire alignment is part of a four wheel alignment. Some cars don't have an adjustment in the back and that's why it's less common to hear about. If your car can have it done you should have it done with the front.

Sfia Carcaba

Reviewer

Does Costco do alignment?

Costco Tire Center Offers Free Lifetime Maintenance Services. However, one thing to note is that Costco will not do alignments when you get new tires. So you've got to factor that in if you're thinking about purchasing Costco tires.

Branko Czenz

Reviewer

How much is an alignment at Goodyear?

$59 for a Computerized Wheel Alignment and Balancing Package at Tucker Goodyear ($127 Value)

Khalid Recchi

Reviewer

How do I know if I need an alignment or balance?

The common symptoms of out-of-balance tires are uneven and faster tread wear, poor fuel economy, and vibration in the steering wheel, the floorboard or the seat that gets worse at faster speeds. When all areas of the wheel-tire unit are as equal in weight as possible, the tire will roll smoothly.

Fernando Pitchford

Reviewer

Why is getting an alignment important?

Misalignment may also cause vibration that you'll feel especially in the steering wheel. SImply put, proper wheel alignments allow for safer driving. Wheel alignment will also extend the life of your tires. Incorrectly aligned wheels are one of the main causes for uneven and/or premature tire wear.