How Long Does An Alignment Take: Step By Step Guide

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Wheel alignment helps your tires to last longer, improves vehicle handling, and stops vehicle vibration by aligning and adjusting your vehicle’s suspension that is connected to your wheels.  In this article, we are going to be looking at how long wheel alignment takes, and how to understand your alignment report.

Taking your vehicle for an alignment can often fix many problems that have developed in your vehicle out of the blue.

Before we go on to share how long an alignment takes, let’s quickly define what wheel alignment means.

What Is Wheel Alignment?

Wheel alignment is the process of bringing all of your vehicle’s wheels into alignment so that your suspension system may perform at its best. All of your car’s wheels must work in unison for it to perform at its best, and wheel alignment is the only method to ensure that.

If you don’t have your wheels aligned on a regular basis, it can not only make driving difficult but can also lead to serious car accidents. We strongly advise that you align your vehicle on a regular basis.

How Important Is Wheel Alignment?

To avoid potential damage caused by misaligned wheels, which could result in a reduction in your car’s handling abilities, you should get your car’s wheels aligned on a regular basis.

You may notice that your car is unable to change direction, making driving monotonous and tedious. This can also be dangerous since you may lose control of the vehicle. In addition, if you don’t have your vehicle’s wheels aligned, the tires will become faulty and will need to be replaced, which will raise the expense of maintenance.

Because misaligned wheels increase tire strain, they can cause a number of flat spots and tire blowouts, as well as damage to suspension systems and wheel rims, lowering the vehicle’s performance.

How Do You Know If Your Car Needs An Alignment?

If you detect any of the indicators listed below in your car, you should consider having a wheel alignment.

1. Off-center Steering Wheel

A steering wheel with an unusually inclined tilt could indicate a front-end alignment rather than a four-wheel alignment. This signifies that your front axle is the only one that is aligned. This is the most basic alignment and is not advised for newer vehicles.

All of the thrust-angle and front-end alignment possibilities are combined in a four-wheel alignment. It’s typically done on four-wheel-drive vehicles with easily adjustable rear suspensions, as well as all-wheel-drive vehicles.

The thrust alignment, on the other hand, combines a front-end and thrust alignment to position all four wheels. This sort of alignment is suitable for vehicles with a solid back axle. When driving, you should pay special attention to the steering direction. You can be driving with your steering wheel misaligned subconsciously if you aren’t paying attention.

During a front-end alignment, the mechanic adjusts the front tie rods to reduce any steering wheel pull. It changes the position of the front tie rods relative to the steering column to ensure that they are pointing in the same direction as the rear tires.

This may work to get the directional pull working, but it may also result in off-tracking. Because your car makes a tiny angle movement while driving, it might also reduce the vehicle’s performance and drivability. Additionally, dragging and resistance from the wind reduce fuel economy.

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2. Steering Wheel Vibrating

A misaligned wheel generates vibration whenever a car strikes a pothole or even a curb, which can make it difficult to control your vehicle. Vibration can be caused by misalignment if an unbalanced tire pushes in the opposite direction.

3. Loosed Steering Wheel

A loose or slack steering wheel, in addition to a misaligned wheel, suggests a problem. Your car should, in theory, be able to be controlled. If your tire movement isn’t altering much and you’re having trouble controlling the wheel, you should have a wheel alignment right away.

4. Uneven Tire Wears

Uneven tire wear is a common symptom that your vehicle needs to be aligned. This is due to the fact that mismatched wheels produce unequal tire wear.

As a result, a thorough inspection is required. Tread depth measurements can be taken in many areas. Proper alignment is shown by tread depths that are equal. Unequal depth, on the other hand, necessitates a wheel alignment check.

Do I Need An Alignment After Replacing Tires?

Tire stores and auto care shops strongly instruct you to go for an alignment after replacing tires for full tread life. An alignment guarantees that the tires meet the road at the appropriate angle and that they are centered correctly in the wheel wells.

According to, when the wheels are aligned to meet the original specifications, the vehicle gets better gas mileage, the correct road contact, a smooth ride, and long tire life.

Benefits Of Wheel Alignment

Here are a few benefits of wheel alignment:

1. Improved steering

With a proper wheel alignment, you won’t have to steer your wheel at an odd angle to move straight or side-to-side with perfect alignment. This will provide you with more control and comfort while driving.

Misalignment leads cars to lose control and veer from side to side. That can easily become dangerous. The more your car is misaligned, the more difficult it will be to steer. Wheels that are perfectly aligned will work together to provide you with more control.

2. Fuel efficiency

Misalignment can cost you up to 10% of your gas money, according to the US Department of Energy. By aligning your wheels, you can enhance your mileage and save up to 31 cents per gallon.

A misaligned vehicle generates unnecessary drag and prevents the wheels from easily moving. As a result, tires will wear out faster, requiring more power from the engine to keep them running. We propose aligning your automobile wheels to discover the finest possible combination for your car if you want to reduce the number of gas station trips.

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3. Fewer repairs

Other parts of your car can be damaged if your car is misaligned. When your car is out of alignment, even minor events like striking a pothole can cause significant damage. These elements will take the impact harder than others, and the suspension system as a whole will eventually fail. This will happen sooner than you expect on a misaligned or unaligned vehicle.

We strongly advocate spending a few dollars now to align your automobile so you don’t have to spend more money later on pricey suspension repairs.

4. Smoother ride

Wheel alignment can make driving more enjoyable. It will smooth out the rough and vibrating sensation, giving you a more enjoyable “behind-the-wheel” experience.

It’s possible that your car’s wheels are misaligned, causing it to automatically go to the left or right instead of straight ahead. It’s exhausting, inefficient, and unsafe to adjust the steering wheel all the time.

5. Improved safety

Misaligned wheels can result in fatal accidents, and this alone should be reason enough to have your car examined on a regular basis. You won’t be able to control your misaligned vehicle as well as you should, especially if it’s large and heavy. Many things can happen on the road, and even a minor delay might cause major problems.

A properly aligned vehicle will provide you with superior control and a safe stopping distance/time.

How Long Does An Alignment Take?

The duration an alignment takes on a car is really dependent on the type of alignment. Here are the different kinds of wheel alignment and how long it takes to do an alignment for each of them.

1. Two-Wheel Alignment

A two-wheel alignment takes roughly half an hour to accomplish, but if your vehicle’s caster or camber has already been changed, it may take less time (you may need a four-wheel alignment if these adjustments have been made).

The procedure of altering your vehicle’s caster and camber angles is known as two-wheel alignment. The centerline of the ball joint is measured against a perpendicular line drawn through the centerline of your tire, while the camber angle is measured at right angles to this line (through the tire).

A car service professional will measure the amount of toe-in or toe-out on each tire when performing a two-wheel alignment. Toe-in and its inverse (toe-out) are steering assembly adjustments that assist a vehicle to go straighter when following another vehicle at moderate speeds.

These measurements are obtained from the steering wheel tires, not the axle unless a four-wheel alignment is conducted, in which case some technicians would test the bearings between the hub and the appropriate control arm.

Four-Wheel Alignment

Now we will discuss how long it takes for a four-wheel alignment. The overall time it takes for a four-wheel alignment is about 40 minutes to 50 minutes. Here are the steps involved in this process:

Step 1 – The first stage in a front-end wheel alignment is to evaluate your vehicle’s camber and caster using various equipment such as measuring tapes, rods, and so on.

Step 2 – For the next phase in front-end wheel alignment, a large jack is needed to lift your vehicle. After lifting it off the ground, a piece of electronic measuring equipment is used to position it.

Step 3 -You may need to be involved in this portion of the four-wheel alignment procedure if you require extra angles and points to be measured, such as toe-in.

Step 4 – You must manually adjust the angles after getting the reading from the electronic measuring instrument until they are in compliance with the specified wheel alignment points.

Step 5 -Lower your vehicle to the ground again after correcting your wheels, and use a bubble level to double-check all four tires.

Step 6 -Tightening the nuts, bolts, and other brackets is the final phase in four-wheel alignment. Now it’s time to take a spin in your car.

What Is The Cost Of An Alignment?

In comparison to other repairs and maintenance, wheel alignment is quite inexpensive. A single adjustment costs $75, with extended warranties costing on average $200; however, this varies depending on the type of car and where you live.

Multiple alignments may be more expensive than a single alignment with extended warranties. Check the terms to see if you qualify for a free alignment. Your mechanic is responsible for the tire and suspension system adjustments on your vehicle

Lifetime warranties are frequently offered by alignment firms. This is a good idea for people who want to drive their cars on bumpy roads for a long time.

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Factors That Affects The Cost Of Alignment

The cost of an alignment depends on several factors:

  • The number of wheels: According to Bankrate, front-end alignment, which involves only the two wheels on the front of the car, typically costs anywhere from $50 to $75. Four-wheel alignments cost more, usually $100 to $150.
  • Type of car: The type of car you have can also affect the cost of an alignment. For instance, luxury cars will have more expensive tire alignments, as will models that require specialized equipment or have a design that makes the job more difficult and time-consuming.
  • Extra services: Added services like tire balancing or car suspension repairs, which the mechanic might need to complete before the alignment, increase the cost of the alignment.
  • Local labor costs: Lastly, the cost of alignment can also vary from mechanic to mechanic.

How Often Do I Get A Tire Alignment?

Wheel alignment frequency is influenced by a variety of factors, including vehicle type, driving behavior, and other considerations. Wheel alignments should be performed every 2 to 3 years, according to most mechanics. It’s recommended to follow the instructions in your owner’s manual.

Your car handbook will tell you how frequently you should get your tires aligned; a technician may also help. The type of vehicle you drive, as well as your driving habits, can all influence how often you need to get your tires aligned.

For a clear understanding, you might occasionally seek professional help from a technician. An owner’s manual may be useful in certain circumstances, but not all, as some can be difficult and tiresome.

If the road you’re driving on doesn’t have any bumps or potholes, a wheel alignment is usually unnecessary. A vehicle’s alignment will usually be slightly wrong after a few years of driving and will need to be adjusted.

Wheel alignment can be affected by a variety of circumstances. Cars with larger tires, for example, would require greater wheel alignment. When you replace a tire, you should utilize a wheel alignment.


The length of time it takes to align your wheel will be determined by its condition. If it continues to make mistakes, the time may exceed one hour. So don’t even think about asking, “How long does an alignment take?” Instead, take your car to an auto repair shop as soon as you see signs of misalignment. You can speed up the repair process this way.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost for car alignment?

Some shops may provide vehicle alignment packages to help you save money throughout the life of your vehicle, but front-end and four-wheel alignment normally cost between $75 and $150.

What is alignment on a car?

Alignment is the process of adjusting the vehicle’s suspension system, which connects the wheels to the tires. It is not the same as adjusting your tires or wheels.

Do you need an alignment after tire replacement?

To get the most out of your new tires and avoid uneven wear, it’s advised that you align them once they’ve been placed. Vehicle alignment should be done at least once a year.

How do you know if your car needs an alignment?

Here are a few symptoms of your car being out of alignment:
Uneven or rapid tire wear.
The steering wheel is crooked when you are driving straight.
Noisy Steering.
Pulling to the right or left.
Squealing tires.


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