Tire Alignment Cost

Tire Alignment Cost

If you are looking for a tire alignment cost estimate, this article will be helpful. Read to get an idea about the procedure and cost involved.
A little known car maintenance job is tire alignment, which new car buyers are often ignorant about. It is one of the most important maintenance jobs, that directly affects tire quality, lifespan and directionality while driving. In this Buzzle article, I provide a cost estimate of the alignment procedure, after briefly outlining the details of the wheel alignment procedure.

Two factors which cause wear and tear in a car are friction and heat. Friction affects every mechanical part of the car, when there is a problem with alignment and there is a lack of lubrication. Car suspension system, including tires, is also obviously not insulated from being affected by friction. Alignment is aimed at restoring the orientation of car tires in such a way, that they aren't unequally subjected to friction and their wear and tear is reduced. Regular alignment checkup goes a long way in enhancing the life of a car tire. Another objective of wheel alignment is to provide precise control in terms of directionality, while steering a car.

Alignment Basics

To understand and appreciate the importance of and necessity of bearing the cost for alignment, one must know the basics. There are three parameters of wheel alignment, that deal with the angles at which the tires are oriented with respect to each other and with respect to suspension. They are the following:

CamberThe angle made by the wheel diameter line with a perpendicular drawn from the ground is camber. Ideally the camber, measured in degrees should be zero, that is the tire diameter line should exactly be perpendicular with the ground. If camber alignment is disturbed, it can cause major wear and tear of tires.
CasterThe front wheels of a car turn on pivots, attached to the car suspension. Caster is the angle made by the steering pivot, when you look at a wheel from sideways. A misalignment can cause steering control problems and rapid wear and tear of a tire.
ToeThe toe measurement indicates how well, the front and back tires are aligned with each other. Ideally they should be parallel but if they are not, then tires can wear off fast.

So wheel alignment involves adjusting the camber, caster and toe settings to minimize tire wear and improve steering directionality. Failure to get periodical wheel alignment done, can result in rapid wear and tear of tires.

How Often Should an Alignment Be Scheduled?

One clear indication of the need for alignment is excessive wear and tear of a tire, caused by misalignment. Another indicator is the non-central alignment of the steering wheel, while driving straight. If not fixed in time, it can lead to major car problems. Car mechanics suggest that a car wheel alignment is necessary, after about 10,000 miles of running or about one year.

Cost of Tire Alignment

Wheel alignment is quite an advanced car repair job and requires special tools. It is best left to an auto repair shop. The cost will depend on three factors, which are labor costs, tire type and location. There are two types of wheel alignment jobs, which include either two wheel alignment or four wheel alignment. The average cost varies from $100 to $200. Four wheel alignment cost of pickups and trucks can cost around $190 to $200. Cost of aligning tires for sports utility vehicles (SUVs) can range from $150, to as much as $200. Most car repair shops offer a guarantee certificate for the alignment. It is recommended that you always go for a four wheel alignment, instead of a two wheel one (which excludes rear wheel alignment). For most car models, the labor charges are around $80 per hour and the job takes about 2 hours on an average to complete. Here are some quotes from auto dealerships for wheel alignment of various car models, which should serve to provide an approximate estimate. Here, 75% of the cost is labor charges.

Car ModelCost Estimate
Ford Mustang (2001)$200
Infiniti J30 (1997)$190
Toyota Tacoma (2005)$210
Honda Civic (2008)$200

As you can see, cost of aligning is quite low and it's a small price to pay, in order to lengthen the life of your car tires. Ensure that you schedule a periodic wheel alignment check, along with other car maintenance essentials. Proper wheel alignment also reduces gas mileage costs, as tire rolling friction decreases. That way, only bearing the alignment cost is cheaper, compared to tire replacement cost, which is substantially higher.