When Should You Get an Alignment Check?

tire alignment check

Getting your alignment checked is an essential part of every driver’s car maintenance routine. Depending on your driving habits and maintenance schedule, your vehicle’s alignment should be checked by a reliable and trustworthy mechanic at least once per year.

Alignment for the front tires alone can cost up to $100 or up to $200 for a full alignment. Local auto shops may offer the alignment check services for free, but if not, then EnduranceAdvantage™ can help cover up to $25 toward your next alignment check. Learn more about the importance of getting your vehicle checked this season and how an extended car warranty can help cover your future maintenance cost.

What Is An Alignment Check?

Alignment is a short way of saying the direction your tires are pointing. When your vehicle and the tires are properly aligned, they’ll turn in unison in response to your steering column. 

When a mechanic performs an alignment check, they will measure your wheels’ angles against manufacturer recommendations. If they don’t meet the recommendations, our experts suggest getting them adjusted right away. Mechanics will also check your tires, suspension, and steering components to see if they have any unusual wear or damage.

An alignment check is a standard part of car maintenance and is typically offered whenever tires are replaced. However, alignment checks can be done at any point of the year by a trained professional. 

If you’re wondering, “where can I get an alignment check near me?” Endurance recently partnered with RepairPal to help customers find a certified mechanic that accepts their coverage. Every extended warranty provides customers access to our extensive partnership network to get you back on the road in no time.

Common Alignment Angles

When a mechanic performs an alignment check, they’ll examine the three angles of alignment: 

  • Camber—this is the angle the vertical axis of your wheel makes with your vehicle’s vertical axis. When looking for indicators on improper alignment, look for inward or outward tilts that look out of the norm. The camber can be adjusted left to right in both the front and rear and is vital to your car’s ability to make tight turns.
  • Caster—the caster is the angle between the pivot line and the vertical axis when viewing the side of your vehicle. If you have a positive caster, the steering axle tends to tilt toward the driver. Negative caster results in the steering access leaning toward the front of your vehicle. When the caster is correctly aligned, your vehicle will center itself because it allows the wheel to trail behind the perfectly centered axis. It can be adjusted left to right in both the front and rear.
  • Toe—this angle is also referred to as “tracking”. Each wheel makes a symmetrical angle with the vehicle’s longitudinal axis, and it interacts with the camber to prevent your car from rolling. When viewed from above, toe alignment needing adjusting looks similar to inwarding your feet to the center of your body or outward. You can do left, right, or total adjustment to this angle in the front or rear. 

If you’re unsure whether your car has a proper alignment, Endurance’s Roadside Assistance program can tow you to any local mechanic. Utilizing roadside assistance can help avoid causing additional damage that can later result in a breakdown. Plus, any tow within 25 miles from home listed on your contract is covered by us.

How to Check Your Car’s Alignment

Our experts highlighted warning signs to look out for to notify your mechanic when you go in for the check. 

  • Uneven wear on tires—when your car is not aligned correctly, one easy way to spot it is uneven wear and tear. If they look bald on the outside but pristine on the inside, your alignment may be off or need to rotate your tires, causing this uneven wear pattern. Correcting the alignment will also prevent them from wearing out faster than they usually would. 
  • Vehicle pull—alignment issues can affect more than just the physical appearance of your vehicle. It can also impact your steering. When driving, if your car seems to veer left or right when your hands are not on the wheel, then you need your alignment checked. This pulling is a clear sign. 
  • Suspension work—the suspension system in your car helps absorb shocks on the road. Since its primary function is to keep your wheels on the road’s surface, you should get an alignment check done when you have any suspension work. This includes coil spring replacement to increase stability or repairs to your shock absorbers and struts, which keep your car from pulling. A ball joint replacement is necessary if the connection between your tire and wheels and your suspension needs adjusting. These components make up your suspension and help keep your car stable. If the wheels are correctly on the road, they need to be correctly aligned as well.

All the above problems are clear signs that your alignment needs a check-up and possible re-calibrating. Failing to get your alignment checked can result in more significant wear and tear on other components and premature damage to your tires. Your suspension and steering column can also experience issues down the line if this continues to be neglected over time. Learning how to take care of your car by keeping up with your maintenance is essential to avoid sudden breakdowns from happening.

Important Tip: Always get your alignment checked when you get new tires. 

Getting new tires is a standard car maintenance task. Some shops may do this automatically, but they will commonly ask if you want this service included. 

Introducing Revolutionary Vehicle Protection

For the first time, experience protection and savings beyond anything else the industry has to offer. EnduranceAdvantage™ saves you thousands on auto repairs while also covering maintenance costs plus the perks of an Endurance Elite membership. These include key fob replacement, tire repair or replacement, and $250 shopping dollars.

Most auto protection plans have a steep list of disclaimers and exclusions, but not EnduranceAdvantage™. We pay the mechanic for parts and labor to shield you from high repair costs. Every extended car warranty plan comes with one-of-a-kind, comprehensive maintenance coverage that can help cover your next alignment check.

Request a free, no-obligation quote below to find the personalized Endurance warranty coverage today.

A Vehicle Service Contract (VSC) is often referred to as an “auto warranty” or an “extended car warranty,” but it is not a warranty. A VSC does, however, provide repair coverage for your vehicle after the manufacturer’s car warranty expires. A VSC is a contract between you and a VSC provider or administrator that states what is a covered repair and what is not. Not all vehicles qualify for coverage; Endurance does not offer VSCs in California.