Wheel alignment is an important job. Every driver will require a wheel alignment at some point, and it is incredibly important that once you recognise the signs of needing one, you get yourself booked in at a local garage to have the issue resolved.

By the end of this article, you will know everything you need to know about wheel alignment, including how much wheel alignment costs.


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Your wheel alignment is important and should be checked once every 2 to 3 years. It can be knocked out of alignment by driving with uneven tyre tread and pressure, knocking curbs or potholes, or travelling with excessive weight in the car.

A wheel alignment takes around an hour to complete and costs an average of £74.64 for a 4-wheel alignment. The biggest symptom of needing a wheel alignment is feeling the car pull to one side when you are not turning the steering wheel on a straight, flat road.


What is Wheel Alignment?

Wheel alignment is when all four wheels on your car are aligned with each other under the manufacturer's specifications so that they connect with the road in coordination with each other. This ensures that your steering is accurate and safe, which helps prevent accidents and allows for a smoother, more enjoyable drive.


How Much Does Car Wheel Alignment Cost in the UK?

In the UK, the average car wheel alignment cost is £42.63, according to bookings made through BookMyGarage. For 2 wheels, the average wheel alignment cost is £41.23, and the UK average for a 4-wheel alignment is £74.64.

You should also look to book wheel balancing alongside your wheel alignment. This raises the cost slightly, but only by £5-10 per wheel. The exact cost of your wheel alignment will vary, depending on what you drive.

The table below shows the average UK cost for 26 popular makes of cars.

Make of Car

Average UK Wheel Alignment Cost



















Land Rover




























Averages calculated from wheel alignment and tracking bookings made on BookMyGarage. Prices vary by garage. To find the best deal on wheel alignment near you, compare deals on our directory now.


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What Happens at My Wheel Alignment Appointment?

Mechanics use specialist equipment to complete your wheel alignment. You should always book into a garage near you and should NOT attempt to adjust your wheel alignment yourself.

With the steering wheel in its most central position, a mechanic attaches clamps to each wheel. A computer uses reflections from the clamps to calculate what adjustments are needed. When the steering wheel is pointing straight, your front wheels should do the same.

The machine can measure the alignment much more accurately than the human eye to catch even the smallest misalignment. It also checks your wheels' camber (the angle of the wheel) and toe (how straight the tyre sits on the wheel). When set correctly, both improve handling and stability.


How is a Wheel Alignment Done?

There are four pieces of equipment that will be used to check your car’s wheel alignment. They are a lift, a computer module, cameras, and four sensors.

Once the car is lifted into the air, a target is attached to the outside of each of the car’s wheels. The cameras are then used to record the measurements – this is the most accurate way to work this out. The measurements are displayed on the computer so that the mechanic knows how the wheels need to be aligned.


BookMyGarage wheel alignment infographic showing negative camber (where the wheel points inward), positive camber (where the wheel points outward), toe out (where the tyres are turned out away from the chassis) and toe in (where the tyres are turned in towards the chassis)


How Long Does a Wheel Alignment Take?

On average wheel alignment takes 60 minutes. However, depending on the type of vehicle, it can take between 30 minutes to 2 hours to complete.  


How Long Does a Wheel Alignment Last?

Manufacturers do not provide timeframes regarding how long a wheel alignment will last, assuming the wheels never hit anything to become misaligned. However, mechanics often suggest having them aligned every 2 to 3 years. It is also a routine part of putting new tyres on a car.

You may need a wheel alignment sooner if you have a bump or you hit a deep pothole.

If it has been 3 years since you last had your wheels aligned, use our booking tool to compare local garage prices. Just enter your postcode and reg plate and start saving money today.


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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 minimal 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 drags on the car, like driving in a stiff breeze, meaning fuel economy will be impacted. It can also be unsafe to do so.


What Causes Wheel Alignment Problems?

There are a number of reasons why your wheels may become unaligned.

  • Hitting a pothole. In the UK it is near impossible to avoid driving on roads with potholes. If the wheel of your car falls into one there is a good chance that it will knock the wheel out of alignment with the others.
  • Knocking the curb whilst parking or turning. Even the best drivers will knock the curb every now and again, and doing so can affect your wheel alignment, as well as scuff your alloys.
  • Hitting or running over debris. Rocks or unavoidable waste can have the same effect on your wheel alignment.
  • Changing your tyres. If you have a puncture and have to use your backup, this can throw off your car’s wheel alignment.
  • Uneven and low tyre pressure. Having one tyre more or less inflated than the others will have an effect on your wheel alignment.
  • Travelling with excessive weight. If your car boot is often full you may find your tyres will wear quickly and unevenly.


How Do You Know if You Need a Wheel Alignment?

Surprisingly, there is no dashboard light to alert you to wheel misalignment, but there are several tell-tale signs that you may 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, it is a sure sign that your car needs a wheel alignment. Also, if the steering wheel is shaking, or the tyres are making squealing noises, wearing out rapidly (or unevenly), you may have an alignment problem. We suggest that you book an appointment as soon as you notice any of these symptoms.


How Do You Know if You Need a 2- or 4-Wheel Alignment?

2-wheel alignment consists of an inspection and relevant adjustments to the front wheels, while a 4-wheel alignment inspects and adjusts all the wheels on your vehicle. Many UK vehicles are front-wheel drive only, so have a solid rear axle which doesn't need adjusting.

If your car is front-wheel or rear-wheel drive only, you should book a 2-wheel alignment.

If your car uses both the front and back wheels to steer, you should book a 4-wheel alignment. Don't worry if you don't know whether your car needs a 2- or 4-wheel alignment. Check your vehicle handbook which has all the relevant information about your car's tracking. Failing that, a mechanic will be able to tell you what you need.


Can I Drive Without Proper Alignment?

While you can technically still drive your vehicle with a misalignment, we strongly advise against it. It can be unsafe as you don’t have 100% control of the vehicle, so in the worst-case scenario, you could have an accident.

It can also lead to excessive and uneven tyre wear, which may mean you require a tyre change faster than the full lifespan – which can be expensive.


What is the Difference Between Wheel Alignment and Wheel Balancing?

Wheel alignment and wheel balancing 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.


BookMyGarage wheel balancing infographic showing offsetting weights being placed on a wheel to improve light spots (not enough weight) and mitigate heavy spots (too much weight).


Do I Need To Align My Newly Mounted Tyres?

If you have just had new tyres fitted, it is a good idea to have your wheel alignment checked. This will allow you to get the maximum use out of your new tyres, as well as improve how well and comfortable your car will drive. It never hurts to get them checked!


How Can I Book My Car in For a Wheel Alignment?

Since wheel alignment is a complex job which uses lots of specialist equipment, you shouldn’t attempt to do your wheel alignment yourself. Luckily, by using BookMyGarage you can compare prices of your local garages and get yourself booked in for the best possible price. Just enter your registration plate and postcode into our online booking tool to view the best deals near you.


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Is Wheel Alignment the Same as Tracking?

While wheel alignment and balancing are two separate things, tracking is the same as alignment. It is a more informal term for wheel alignment and refers to how well your wheels align with each other and the rest of your car.

If someone says that you're "tracking straight and true", it means that your back wheels are driving along the same section of road as your front wheels. You can tell if your car has a tracking issue if your tyre tread seems unnaturally wide.


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What is the Difference Between Wheel Alignment and Wheel Balancing?

Wheel alignment and wheel balancing 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.


What is Wheel Balancing?

Wheel balancing ensures that your wheel is correctly weighted so that the tyre can rotate evenly. This prevents unnecessary vibration and wear of your tyres, suspension and steering components. As with any rotating object, wheels need balancing to run efficiently. Otherwise, your car feels uncomfortable to drive.

Take a washing machine for example. If you load laundry unevenly, it unbalances the drum causing a loud noise and lots of vibration. The same is true with your car's wheels.


BookMyGarage wheel balancing infographic showing offsetting weights being placed on a wheel to improve light spots (not enough weight) and mitigate heavy spots (too much weight).  

How Does a Wheel Balancing Appointment Work?

Again, the mechanic uses specialist equipment so you should NOT try wheel balancing yourself. They remove the wheels from your car to check their balance. Then, they place the wheels in a specially designed machine which spins them at great speed to measure the vibration. If there are issues, the mechanic places small offsetting weights at points on the rim of the wheel. They repeat the process until the balancing issues have been resolved.


How Much Does Wheel Balancing Cost?

Wheel balancing costs between £5-10 per wheel, depending on the type of vehicle.

However, most garages include this in the price of the wheel alignment appointment. We recommend booking a wheel balancing appointment every 3,000 - 6,000 miles to ensure your tyres are at their most efficient.

Also, you should always balance your wheels when you fit a new tyre or book a wheel alignment appointment.


How Long Does Wheel Balancing Take?

On average, wheel balancing takes 45 minutes.

However, depending on the type of vehicle, it can take up to 2 hours to complete.  



The average UK wheel alignment cost is £42.63. This includes a professional inspection and adjustment of 2 or 4 wheels (depending on whether your vehicle is 2- or 4-wheel drive) using specialist equipment.

It takes around 60 minutes to complete, and you should book an appointment every 2 to 3 years. This is because misaligned wheels can become very expensive due to increased fuel economy and tyre wear - meaning you have to fill your tank up and change tyres more often!

To keep your wheel alignment cost low, compare deals on BookMyGarage. Our comparison tool can save you up to 70% vs going directly to a main dealer! Enter your reg and postcode today to find the best deal near you.


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