How Often Should I Get My Alignment Checked Per Year?

You don’t have to go off-roading to cause alignment issues. The wheels on your car or truck will get out of alignment over time. Especially with speed bumps and potholes everywhere. Over time, those misaligned tire and wheel assemblies will impact your gas mileage (MPG), cause tires to wear out faster, and reduce drivability. That’s why it’s important to get your vehicle properly aligned at least once or twice a year as part of your basic auto maintenance. Here are some reasons why alignments are necessary, what causes misalignment, and how long it takes to get your vehicle realigned at Les Schwab.

Yes, Alignments Are Necessary

Check out the article Do I Really Need an Alignment for a more in-depth look at the causes and parameters of a properly aligned vehicle. In it, you’ll learn about alignment measurements, tire angles, as well as some of the issues an out-of-alignment vehicle can cause.

What Can Affect My Vehicle’s Alignment?

Everyday driving will cause your vehicle to go out of alignment. But some of the more common alignment-altering events include speed bumps, off-roading, potholes, rubbing along curbs, and carrying loads that are too heavy for your vehicle (or leaving too much weight in your car over a long period of time, such as household items). Other things that can impact your vehicle’s alignment include worn suspension parts, as well as when your vehicle is lifted or lowered. Check out our article on when to replace your shocks and struts.

Things that could indicate you need an alignment:

Hitting Curbs and Potholes

Avoid concrete dividers in parking lots as well as potholes and other road hazards.

Tires Showing Uneven Wear

If you notice one or more of your tires wearing more quickly than the others, your vehicle could be out of alignment. Stop by Les Schwab and we’ll check your tires for free.

Vehicle Drifts or Pulls

Does your vehicle drift or pull to one side? It could be time for an alignment.

Steering Wheel Off-Center

If your steering wheel isn’t level when you’re driving straight, it might be a sign of a misalignment.

When You Buy New Tires

Anytime you buy new tires, get an alignment to prolong the life of your investment. The relatively low cost of an alignment can prevent your costly tires from wearing out too quickly.

Getting it Straight

A properly aligned vehicle handles correctly, achieves optimal fuel efficiency, and maximizes your tire life. When one of your tires is slightly out of alignment, it is essentially skidding. This makes that tire wear out faster. It’s also the reason your vehicle might pull or wander to one side. This can waste fuel, cost you money, and cause safety concerns. Plus, it can add unnecessary wear-and-tear to your car or truck.

When your vehicle needs to be realigned, the experts at Les Schwab will most often perform one of these common types of alignments. These include:

4-Wheel Alignment

This is for vehicles that have adjustment capability at all four wheels. This is common on most front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, passenger cars, SUVs, and crossover vehicles.

Thrust Alignment

This is for vehicles that have an adjustment capability only available on the front axle. This includes larger trucks and SUVs with solid, rear axles.

Remember, getting your vehicle properly aligned will not put tread back on your tires. But it will help prevent further uneven tire wear. That’s why it’s vital you have your alignment checked at least once per year (twice per year is ideal). Check out our list of Alignment FAQs for some quick answers to common questions.

How Long Does an Alignment Take?

A wheel alignment service, once your vehicle is in our service bay, can take up to one hour. The time frame depends on the severity of the misalignment and whether or not your vehicle requires a thrust or four-wheel alignment. The pros at your local Les Schwab Tires can give you an accurate time estimate.

What’s Included in That Alignment?

In addition to the alignment angles of your tire and wheel assemblies being measured and adjusted, you’ll also get a tire inspection, test drive before and after the alignment, steering and suspension inspection, and a detailed printed report.

Schedule Your Free Visual Alignment Check

The pros at your local Les Schwab can take a look at your vehicle’s alignment and let you know if you need any repairs. If everything looks good, it won’t cost you a thing. If you do need an alignment, we’ll get the job done right and send you home with our Best Alignment Value Promise, which includes a 30-day guarantee and a warranty on all labor costs.

Schedule an Appointment