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In Ashburn, people who book through CarAdvise save $22 on average for Wheel Alignment. Lock in this price now.

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What is a wheel alignment?

A wheel alignment is a service aimed at calibrating the steering and suspension systems on your vehicle. A properly aligned vehicle drives straight, responds well to changes in the surface of the road, and ensures optimal handling when steering. It also helps your tires to last longer. Also known as a front-wheel or four-wheel alignment (and sometimes incorrectly as a “tire alignment”), this procedure involves adjustments to the caster, camber, and toe of the wheels and tires.

How do I know if my vehicle needs a wheel alignment?

There are a few key indicators that your vehicle needs a wheel alignment. Normally, your steering and suspension should remain in alignment. But damage from hitting potholes or curbs can jar the components of either system out of specifications. Your vehicle might need a wheel alignment if you notice any of the following signs

Your vehicle pulls to one side or the other when driving

Your steering wheel is crooked when driving straight down the road

Your tires are wearing unevenly or too quickly

The steering wheel - or the whole vehicle - shakes when driving

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How is this service performed

How is a Wheel Alignment done?

A wheel alignment requires a dedicated alignment machine that can accurately measure all of the angles of the wheels and tires in relation to one another. This is done most frequently with a system of lasers that read sensors connected to each wheel. Information is fed to a computer, and a 3D measurement is made. The placement of each wheel front-to-back (caster), the inward tilt of the top of each wheel (camber), and the degree to which the tires are pointed inward or outward at the front (toe) are all discerned by the alignment machine. A technician will pull your vehicle up onto a special lift, install the sensors to the wheels, turn on the computer and engage the sensors with the laser, and run the steering through a series of movements until all measurements have been taken. If any measurements are out of specification, then the technician will have to either loosen and adjust the components or (on many vehicles today) replace the components, since they are often not adjustable.

OTHER QUESTIONS CUSTOMERS ASK

What will wheel alignment do?
A wheel alignment ensures that the tires and wheels are in the right relationship to the ground, to each other, and to the rest of the vehicle. That way, your tires can contact the road at the proper angle. There are several variables in the geometry of your vehicle’s suspension system. Caster, camber, and toe are among the measurements that are taken and corrected during an alignment. In short, a wheel alignment helps your vehicle to drive straight, handle properly, and save on premature or uneven tire wear.
How long does an alignment take?
For a basic wheel alignment, you can expect the service to be complete in about one hour. Less if only a front-wheel alignment is being done or if your vehicle is only scheduled for an alignment check. But if your vehicle is out of alignment and needs new steering or suspension parts to correct it, the job will take longer. Corroded components can also lengthen the time it takes for a wheel alignment.
Do I need an alignment after replacing tires?
A new set of tires on your vehicle does not require that you get a wheel alignment. But if your vehicle is out of alignment, those new tires will not last nearly as long as they should, and they will not perform to their potential. An alignment helps to keep your tires in contact with the road at the specific angles so they track properly. That is why most tire shops recommend an alignment check when you get new tires. An alignment check is essentially the same procedure as a wheel alignment, except that it only measures your vehicle to determine whether it is in alignment. If it is out of specs, an alignment will be recommended.

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