Depending on the type of vehicle, wheel alignment, which is also known as wheel tracking, costs between £25-50, but it might be included in the price of a service by some garages. Not all garages perform wheel alignments, but you can find one near you that does, including how much they charge, using our wheel alignment comparison tool.
According to data from bookings taken via bookmygarage.com, the average cost of a wheel alignment in the UK is £34. The most expensive area to get a wheel alignment is south London, where the average amount charged is £46, with the south-east not far behind at £44. The least expensive area is Wales at £25, followed by the north-east at £27. At £65, Alfa Romeos are the most expensive make of car to perform a wheel alignment on, way ahead of the next most expensive, Chevrolets at £48. Chryslers are the cheapest at £18, followed by Citroëns at £24.
What is wheel alignment?
Wheel alignment is when all four wheels on your car are aligned with each other in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications so that they connect with the road in coordination with each other.
What is the difference between wheel alignment and wheel balancing?
They are completely different. In a nutshell, wheel alignment considers how a car’s wheels interact with each other and the road. Wheel balancing concerns weight distribution around a car’s wheels. Wheel balancing will be discussed further down below.
Why is wheel alignment important?
Driving with misaligned wheels is an unpleasant experience. Aligned wheels ensure that your car drives straight and true, which creates the most stable and fuel-efficient ride with minimum tyre wear. Failure to keep wheels aligned might cause tyre wear and steering and suspension damage, which could prove costly. Furthermore, because the car would effectively be driving in more than one direction, misaligned wheels place drag on a car, like driving in a stiff breeze, meaning fuel economy will be impacted. You can find out, using BookMyGarage’s comparison tool, exactly how much a wheel alignment will cost near you.
How are the wheels aligned?
Special equipment is required to align wheels. With the steering wheel in its most central position, special clamps are attached to each wheel. A computer uses reflections from the clamps to make calculations about any adjustments required, not only to test alignment but also how much the wheels lean (which is known as camber) and angle (which is known as toe). When set correctly, both improve handling and stability. A misalignment of wheels is when any of these factors are out of whack.
What causes wheel alignment problems?
A major cause of wheel alignment problems in the UK is potholes. If the wheel of your car falls into one, or if it hits a curb, bump or ramp with force, there is a good chance that the wheel will be knocked out of line with the others. Also, if a tyre has been changed and it hasn’t been aligned with the others before being driven, there is a decent chance you’ll notice the car steering off-centre. The excessive weight inside a car and low tyre pressure in a car’s wheels are also factors that are also known to have caused wheel alignment problems.
Is there a wheel alignment dashboard warning light?
How do you know if you need a wheel alignment?
If you ever feel your car drifting to the left or right when you are on a flat, straight road and don’t have a firm grip on the steering wheel, then that is the sure sign that your car needs a wheel alignment. Also, if the steering wheel of your car is shaking, or your car’s tyres are making squealing noises, wearing out rapidly (or unevenly), you probably have an alignment problem.
How long does a wheel alignment take?
Depending on the type of vehicle, wheel alignment takes between 30 minutes and two hours to complete, with about 60 minutes being the average.
How long does a wheel alignment last?
Manufacturers do not provide timeframes regarding how long a wheel alignment will last, assuming that the wheels never hit anything to become misaligned. However, mechanics often suggest having them aligned every 2-3 years, but it is also a routine part of putting new tyres on a car.
What is the difference between wheel alignment and wheel tracking?
There is no difference, they are the same thing.
What is wheel balancing?
Wheels and tyres, as with any rotating object, need to be balanced in order to reduce vibration. A good example of this is when laundry is loaded into a washing machine unevenly, the drum is not correctly balanced, so it vibrates. Similarly, wheel balancing ensures that the weight of the wheel and tyre is even around the axle to prevent this type of vibration.
How much does wheel balancing cost?
Depending on the type of vehicle, wheel balancing costs between £5-10 per wheel, although most garages include this is the price of the tyre if you bought it from them. Using our wheel balancing comparison tool, you can compare wheel balancing deals in your area, from over 8,500 garages. You can also compare local garages’ reviews and other services offered, allowing you to save money while ensuring that you choose a garage that you know you can trust.
Why is wheel balancing important?
You should always have your wheels balanced whenever you have new tyres installed. Car tyres which are fitted on wheels that have not been properly balanced will wear very quickly and unevenly. This is due to the inconsistent points of friction between the tyre and the road, creating an effect like rubbing sandpaper on the tyre aggressively. Losing grip this way could be very dangerous and the vibration also makes the car’s ride very uncomfortable, possibly to a point of distraction that might lead to an accident. Remember, it’s illegal to drive with worn tyres.
How are wheels balanced?
Wheels are typically removed from a car before their balance is checked. They are placed in a specially-designed machine and spun to measure the vibration. Small offsetting weights are placed at points on the rim of the wheel based on results from the balancing machine. This is repeated until the machine reports that the wheel is balanced.
What causes wheel balancing problems?
Items on the road, if hit, can be hazardous to the balance of your car’s wheels. And ageing, worn or damaged parts can impact your car’s suspension and, therefore, its wheels. Also, if the height of your car has been altered without rebalancing the wheels, there are going to be issues. But, most importantly, your wheels have to be balanced right after your car’s tyres have been replaced or there will be problems for sure.
What are the possible signs that a car needs wheel balancing?
The things to look out for are whether your car’s tyres are wearing out quickly or unevenly if your car feels though it is wobbling once it passes around 40 mph, and when the steering wheel of your car starts shaking. You will need to book a wheel balancing as soon as you notice any of these symptoms.
How long does wheel balancing take?
Depending on the type of vehicle, wheel balancing takes between 30-60 minutes.
How long does a wheel balance last?
Tyre manufacturers suggest balancing wheels every 3,000-6,000 miles and definitely when new tyres are placed on a car.
Mandy is an ex-mechanic, with 22 years’ experience in the motor industry. As an in-house motoring expert, Mandy is the go-to woman for any relevant questions that our customers have; both garages and drivers. From specific problems with your car to general maintenance, Mandy is a reliable source of information and advice. Her passion for motoring is a huge factor to her success and the huge wealth of knowledge that she has. She now uses her remarkable grasp of the industry to write regular content for our readers to help drivers understand their car better, avoid being ripped off by garages and save money on their motoring requirements.