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4 minutes read. published March 9, 2023.

Writen by Rebecca Betterton Written by Auto Loans Reporter

Rebecca Betterton is the auto loans reporter for Bankrate. She specializes in assisting readers in navigating the ways and pitfalls of using loans to buy the car they want.

Editor: Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor

Rhys has been editing and writing for Bankrate since the end of 2021. They are committed to helping readers gain the confidence to take control of their finances through providing concise, well-researched, and well-edited information that dissects complex topics into manageable bites.

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The safety features on your car include more than anti-lock brakes. They also include airbags, and traction control systems. Your tires and wheels help you maintain a straight line to turn corners, and stop when necessary. To achieve optimal performance, have your car tires aligned that can cost as low as $50 or as high as $170. What is an alignment of tires?

The process of altering the suspension of your vehicle, making sure that your tires meet the road at the right angles.

How much does an alignment of a tire cost? The entire service can cost between $50 and $168 for a two-wheel alignment, up to $168 for a full four-wheel alignment, based on the service provider. The procedure should be completed every year around once and the exact date will depend on the car you drive and your driving habits. How to know if you need a tire alignment Regular maintenance is essential for keeping your family and passengers safe. Although experts suggest that you get your tires aligned at least once every 2 years, you can find other indications to head to the autobody shop. The car is damaged. After an incident or collision that is minor having your tires examined is an excellent idea. This is especially important when you’ve hit an object or damaged or broken your tire in a different way. You hear noises. Although there are some sounds that are expected when driving and turning, loud squeaks could be cause for concern. Problems with steering. If you’ve had steering parts replaced or noticed a vibration when driving, the cause may be related to the alignment of your tires. Uneven wear. When you next park check how your tires are wearing. An alignment for your tires might be in order in the event that one is looking balder, or an individual tire is wearing asymmetrically. The factors that affect alignment costs The price of alignment is determined by several variables the number of wheels. An alignment for front-end vehicles that only involves the two wheels on the front of the car generally costs between $50 to $75. Four-wheel alignments cost more, usually between $100 and $168. What kind of car. If the car you are considering has special equipment, has a design that makes the job more demanding and time-consuming, or is a luxury car, service will cost more. Extra services. Services like tire balancing or suspension repair for cars, which the mechanic might need to complete before the alignment can add to the cost of alignment. The cost of local labour. The cost for alignment is contingent on your location , and may be different between mechanics. Alignment packages. Certain automotive shops, such as Pepboys and Firestone provide lifetime alignment services. In this instance you’ll receive alignments every six months or for 6,000 miles at a one-time price. Expected wheel alignment costs The cost of a wheel alignment differs by location, type of vehicle and even the ZIP code you reside in. Here is a breakdown of the expected costs for a four-wheel alignment, according to state for a 2022 Toyota Camry according to Kelley Blue Book’s fair repair range. City

State

Price to be expected

New York

New York

$146 to $172

Los Angeles

California

$133 to $156

Chicago

Illinois

$135-155

Dallas

Texas

$110 to $129

Orlando

Florida

Between $117 and $117 to $136

Atlanta

Georgia

$122 to $142

Richmond

Virginia

From $122 to $142

Phoenix

Arizona

From $142 to $166

Philadelphia

Pennsylvania

Between $143 and $169

Charlotte

North Carolina

Between $119 and $139

What happens when you align your car? When you bring your vehicle to a mechanic for an alignment technician begins by analyzing angles at three checkpointswhich are caster, camber and toe using an alignment device and then performing a visual inspection. Caster is the angle between the upper and lower ball joints. The angle influences the vehicle’s steering to ensure that it remains at the right height and provides more stability at high speeds. Camber The angles between the tires and road. Camber determines how much of the tire touches the road, and it can impact the way the tires wear. Toe The angle between the tires. This setting affects the tire’s wear and the stability of the vehicle when turning. Some mechanics take the vehicle on testing to look whether there are any indications of alignment issues for example, a steering mechanism that vibrates or a vehicle that turns left or right while the wheel is in a stationary place. The mechanic then compares the angles to the specifications of the manufacturer to ensure optimal performance. After the analysis is completed, the technician positions the car on an aligner rack and mounts targets on the wheels’ ends. The technician then uses the machine to adjust caster, camber and toe until they are within the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended ranges. A majority of mechanics take their vehicle for a second test drive to verify the adjustments made and make sure everything functions properly. Why vehicle alignment matters Regularly adjusting your vehicle’s alignment offers several benefits that help you save time, provide you a smoother drive and help you stay safe when you’re on the roads. The alignment of your tires will ensure that your car functions as the manufacturer intended. Incorrectly aligned tires can lead to worse , wear and tear on your tires as well as damages to the vehicle’s components. Correctly aligned tires ensure an improved contact with the road’s surface by prolonging the lifespan of your tires and reducing skidding on slick roads. It also decreases the resistance to rolling and improves the absorption of road shock, resulting in increased gas mileage as well as more comfortable driving on asphalt surfaces. While aligning the mechanic might find worn parts of the suspension and give you the chance to replace them prior to turning into a costly or hazardous mechanical issue that can take your car off the road for a prolonged period. In order to get your alignment, get an alignment done at any auto mechanic in the area or repair shop. If you do not have a relationship with a mechanic, call for quotes or utilize resources such as Kelley Blue Book to compare prices in your area. If you call ahead for an appointment, the wheel alignment itself should take only about one hour. But it could be longer if the technician finds any underlying issues or needs to replace additional components. The final word: If an alignment seems expensive, remember that avoiding it can ultimately be more expensive. Forgoing this means you’ll have to replace the tires more frequently. Driving with unaligned tires could cause wear on components such as your suspension. Spending a hundred or so dollars per year for alignment of your tires could result in costly repairs.

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Written by Auto Loans Reporter

Rebecca Betterton is the auto loans reporter for Bankrate. She has a specialization in helping readers to navigate the ins and outs of securely borrowing money to purchase an automobile.

Editor: Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor

Rhys has been writing and editing for Bankrate from late 2021. They are dedicated to helping readers gain confidence to control their finances through providing clear, well-researched information that breaks down otherwise complex topics into digestible chunks.

Auto loans editor

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