How Long Does Wheel Alignment Take. Minutes or Hours?

When you discover that your vehicle`s usual handling becomes worse, then you have to pay a visit to a tire alignment station. 

You may be wondering: how long does a tire alignment take?

Normally tire, oh actually, wheel alignment takes from 30 to 60 minutes. This includes the time when the vehicle arrived at the station until everything is ready. Such factors as type of tire alignment, vehicle type and condition of its components alongside mechanic experience significantly influence the time of maintenance.

If you want to know more about tire alignment and why it is necessary, keep reading our article for more information.

How Much Time Does Wheel Alignment Take?

Tire alignment depends on its type which can be divided into front wheel, four wheel and thrust alignment.

  • Front wheel alignment means the front wheel axle works. This is the most affordable and fastest type of repair and adjustment. Although the front wheel alignment is considered to take less time than four wheels, the preparations together with the adjustment and process can take from 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Four wheel alignment incorporates repair and adjustment of both front and rear axles of the vehicle. Usually four wheel alignment is done to the four wheel drive cars with independent suspensions, however it is also applicable to any other vehicles to be sure that both front and rear wheels are fine. The overall time of four wheel alignment from the beginning to the end can vary from 40 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Thrust alignment means that the front wheels of the vehicle are aligned to the rear axle. Thrust here means the direction that the rear wheels are moving. In this case the rear axle tires position has to correspond or to be close to the front (which are in a neutral position with a straight steering wheel). Thrust alignment usually takes no more than 1 hour.

What Can Affect Tire Alignment Time?

The whole procedure usually takes from 30 minutes to 1 hour. Some things, however, can significantly prolong the period of waiting until the mechanic informs that your vehicle is ready to go.

Below we will count the most widespread cases which can affect tire alignment time.

Vehicle type

A modern hatchback or a sedan is easy and faster to service in comparison to a 30-year-old van. While the hatchback or sedan beneath are far more reachable and easier to align, an old van may require additional time for tires adjustment because of components accessibility which can be restricted by suspension construction. 

Suspension components condition

Worn out, broken or old parts always require an imminent replacement with new ones. The removal of such components needs extra effort especially, if your vehicle is not new and has rust on nuts and bolts, the tire alignment may take longer than you thought. 

Car mechanic experience

A seasoned car mechanic can easily identify the issue and tell you about the solution. As an example if the vehicle has damaged steering bushing, a mechanic with a lot of years of practice won’t lose it from the sight and definitely tell you it needs to be replaced first before moving on to wheel alignment. Also, with an experienced car technician you save your time and nerves. 

Is It Necessary To Align Tires?

Yes, it is. When your tires are correctly aligned your vehicle’s handling is smooth and precise while riding comfort brings you joy. Cars on misaligned tires behave more strangely and unpredictably which can be dangerous for you and others. 

Additionally, misaligned wheels can lead to excessive and uneven tire wear and increased fuel consumption.

How Often Do My Tires Have To Be Aligned?

It is recommended to run a tire alignment check once for 2 or 3 years. However, visiting tire alignment stations once a year provides you with calm and confidence that your tires are fine.

At the station you can, with the help of the professional, visually check tires and other suspension components and identify minor issues, and if there are any to appear, find a solution to fix them, to save your time and money in the future.

How To Know That Wheel Alignment Is Necessary?

Your vehicle definitely requires visiting a tire alignment station if you notice that:

Steering wheel and front tires position do not coincide – when you are driving forward and your vehicle pulls to the left or to the right side while your tire pressure is fine and steering wheel is straight, it can be a sign that your car needs wheel alignment procedure. 

Tires wear unevenly – the axes of the wheels are always equal. If you notice that one tire appears worn out, the other one must be out of alignment since it makes less contact with the surface.

What Are The Reasons For Tire Misalignments?

Hitting a huge pothole or rushing through road bumps are the most recent reasons that cause misaligned tires.

If you don’t want to be a constant customer of tire alignment station, then you`ll have to be more careful while driving your vehicle, here are some handy tips:

  • When you are driving through a road when it’s dark or foggy, it may have unexpected road obstacles, lower your speed, so you could intime detect and avoid them. Yes, it takes more time, but will save your tires and suspension from repair.
  • If you are a city car owner, it is better not to test your vehicle`s off road capabilities. City cars’ axles and suspension were developed to meet even surfaces. Any serious impacts with road debris or obstacles may sustain stress or damage them. 

To Sum Up

When you come to the alignment station, to get your vehicle back, you want to be sure that tires are aligned as they have to.

A quick and high-end tire alignment guarantees your safety and confidence on the road.

The time of how long tire alignment takes can be affected by different factors which are individual for every vehicle. 

In any case, sometimes it is better to wait a bit longer until repair works are done, knowing it will be worth it.
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