If you drive a vehicle, wear and tear on your tires is a fact of life. In addition to reducing wear and tear, having your car aligned regularly can keep your car driving safe and smooth. Routine car maintenance such as car alignments can be expensive, and they range in price depending on where you live and the type of vehicle you have.
Research of alignment prices around the U.S. reveals that on average, an alignment costs between $107.89 and $126.61 . Find out how much an alignment costs in your area and learn why you might need one.
- In the U.S., an average alignment costs between $108 and $127. The lowest price found was around $88, and the highest price was $148.
- An alignment resets your steering and suspension mechanisms so that your car steers correctly and prevents additional wear and tear.
- Vehicle experts recommend that you get your vehicle aligned at regular intervals or whenever needed.
Average Car Alignment Costs
Information from the United States Census Bureau (USCB), Kelley Blue Book, and Insurify was used to find the average alignment costs around the country. The USCB recognizes four regions and nine divisions in the U.S., which were used to narrow the search area.
Random zip codes within the nine divisions were used in conjunction with the web-based Kelley Blue Book alignment cost estimation tool. The most preferred vehicles in each census division were used, and the data for the vehicles came from a report by Insurify.
There was only $1 in the difference between the cars chosen to represent the costs—even four-wheel alignments—so only the low and high for preferred make and models are used.
If you live in one of these areas, you'll likely pay within a few dollars of these prices for an alignment.
|Average Vehicle Alignment Prices by U.S. Census Division|
|Region||Average Low||Average High|
|East South Central||$98.00||$115.00|
|East North Central||$109.50||$128.75|
|West South Central||$95.50||$112.25|
|West North Central||$116.00||$136.00|
What Is a Car Alignment?
As you might imagine, a car alignment requires aligning components of your vehicle to meet certain specifications.
There are three parts the mechanic will inspect:
- The caster (the forward or backward slope of your tire relative to its vertical position—this affects the steering effort required to turn)
- The camber (the vertical angle at which your tires hit the road—this impacts how quickly your tires will wear down)
- The toe (the direction the tires are pointing, similar to looking down at your toes and pivoting on your heels to adjust the angle between your feet)
The mechanic may also analyze how well the vehicle drives on the road to check for issues and look for a vibrating or pulling steering wheel. Your suspension is also inspected to make sure there are no issues.
The mechanic adjusts your car's caster, camber, and toe. After completing the adjustments, they use an alignment rack to make sure the alignment is correct; they may also take it for a test drive just to make sure.
Do I Need a Car Alignment?
You might need to get an alignment after hitting a pothole or if you notice a tugging on your steering wheel. Recommendations for alignment frequency vary—many automotive repair shops recommend you get it done every 6,000 miles or as needed. Some state agencies and other associations also publish guidance. For instance, the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs advises an alignment every 10,000 miles or once a year.
Car experts recommended that you get your tires rotated every 5,000–8,000 miles.
Signs You Need an Alignment
- Issues with steering the vehicle
- Unusual amounts of road noise
- Uneven wear on your tires
How Do I Choose the Best Place for a Car Alignment?
Any established mechanic should be able to offer you a car alignment service. Many even give a free alignment check to let you know how badly you need one.
To ensure your mechanic is qualified to safely complete a car alignment, verify that they are ASE certified. If a mechanic suggests you need expensive suspension work beyond the basic alignment, consider getting a second opinion from a different auto shop.
Will Insurance Cover Car Alignment?
If another driver hits you, their car insurance may cover the cost of your car alignment, depending on insurance laws in the state you live in.
Your insurance probably won’t cover a routine car alignment. However, you might be able to get some financial assistance through your city or county governments if the alignment is part of greater damages caused by hitting a pothole. Most cities and states have procedures for drivers to file claims if there is damage caused by lack of repairs on a maintained road.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What happens if tire alignment is off?
You might feel the steering wheel pulling to one side. It can also affect braking and increase fuel consumption.
How do you check your car alignment?
Some telltale signs that your car is misaligned include the feeling that your vehicle is pulling to one side, uneven wear on your tires, or unusually loud road noise when driving. You can do some at-home tests for alignment, but it's best to have a mechanic inspect it with the right tools to fix the right problem.
What does tire alignment do?
A tire alignment ensures your tires are at the right angles for proper steering, better gas mileage, and less tire wear.
United States Census Bureau. "Census Regions and Divisions of the United States."
Kelley Blue Book. "Wheel Alignment Prices."
Insurify. "Most Popular Cars In America - 2021."
Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations. "Tire Alignment: What You Need to Know."
New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. "Keep Your Wheels Aligned," Page 1.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. "Tires."
North Carolina Department of Transportation. "Property Damage Claims."