(Updated on June 8, 2020)
Wheel alignments are important to get done periodically on your vehicle. A proper wheel alignment is when the angles of your tires are adjusted so that they’re parallel with each other. As a result, this will increase the longevity of your tires and ensure that they perform well on the road.
After you get the wheel alignment done, you’ll notice the results right away while driving because the steering will feel easier as the car tracks straight and the response time will be faster. With a bad alignment, your car will always veer towards one side of the road with your hands off the steering wheel.
If you neglect to get wheel alignments done then the treads on your tires will wear out faster. Then you’ll have to purchase new tires a lot sooner than you would have if you had gotten the alignments done.
Wheel Alignment Cost
Wheel alignments are not terribly expensive. Typically, the prices will vary slightly based on the make and model of your car and the price charged by the shop. The average wheel alignment should cost you anywhere between $100 and $200 for all four wheels. If you are just getting the two front wheels aligned then that will cost you on average between $50 and $100.
Some tire shops will offer an extended warranty plan for another $100 but you don’t have to get this done. Overall, the costs are not too bad and most people should be able to afford it. But if you keep putting off getting the alignment done and you end up ruining your tires, then you’ll have to purchase new tires at an average cost of $100 per tire.
When Do You Need a Wheel Alignment?
It is very easy to tell when you need to get a wheel alignment done. For starters, your car will start to vibrate when you drive. It will also pull towards one particular direction; left or right. A great way to test this out is when you’re driving straight.
While driving, take your hands off the steering wheel and see if the car stays straight on the road. If the steering wheel becomes crooked and swerves very easily towards the left or right then you need a wheel alignment badly.
Some people have even heard their tires squealing when they became too unaligned. Don’t take any chances once these symptoms are present in your car. Go to the nearest tire shop or auto repair shop and have the wheel alignment done right away.
If you can get them done at the service center of the car dealership that sold you the car then that’s even better although expect to pay a bit more. They’ll know the proper angles to align your specific car’s tires at.
Wheel Balance Cost
Wheel balance is an important maintenance service to have done on your tires. It is similar to wheel alignment but there is a slight difference.
When your tires or rims have imperfections or damage to them, it causes those particular tires to become out of balance. This could be due to one rim or tire being heavier than the others because of these imperfections. This will result in that tire wobbling or hopping while you drive the vehicle.
In this case, you will need a wheel balance in order to correct these imperfections and ensure that all of your tires and rims have equal weight. If you fail to have a wheel balance done then it will ultimately damage your shocks, bearings and wheel assembly.
There really is no excuse for not getting a wheel balance service done when it is necessary. The average cost of a wheel balance service is only about $10 per tire. This comes out to $40 total to balance all four tires.
The costs may fluctuate slightly based on where you go to get the wheel balance done whether it’s a tire shop, alignment shop, general auto repair shop, or dealership. The most it should cost you is $75 which is still a decent price when you consider how valuable this service is.
The price of this service is based mainly on the labor rate of the shop. Other than the small, stick on weights, there are no auto parts needed in order to perform this service. Of course, the shop you go to may try to pressure you into getting a tire rotation and alignment done in addition to this service.
If these services are within your budget then you should get them done. If not, just worry about the wheel balance costs.
Often, when you purchase new tires at somewhere like Discount Tire or Les Schwab, they will perform a wheel balance free of charge. If they don’t, ask for it as they will usually give it to you for free if it means you buy new tires.
Balancing your wheels will almost always be under $100 which makes it one of the cheapest maintenance services you can ever get done for your car. It’s best done when you have new tires installed and then you don’t have to worry about it again.