How Long Does Tire Alignment Take?
Getting a tire alignment is one of the best ways to keep your tires in optimal condition. How long does it take for an alignment to be made?
We know how hard it is to sit at the shop and wait for your vehicle to be repaired.
Maybe you dropped it off while you walked across the street to get some lunch, and you hope that it will be finished when you get back.
As important as an alignment is to your vehicle, it is just one of the things you need to do.
How long does it take for a tire alignment? In this article, we will talk about tire alignments and more.
Once the vehicle is pulled into the shop, it will take between 30 and 60 minutes for the tire alignment to be completed.
What type of alignment, what kind of vehicle it is, the condition of the vehicle’s components, and the experience of the technician are a few of the things that will affect this.
The information in this article was gathered from experts in the field who have decades of experience with it.
The technicians who have done thousands of alignments over the years have attested to everything you read here.
You can be sure that this is the real deal when it comes to tire alignments.
How Long Does Tire Alignment Take?
When you have your vehicle aligned, the four-wheel alignment is the most comprehensive type of tire alignment.
This kind of tire alignment involves adjusting the alignment on all four wheels of the vehicle.
Even though they have six wheels, dual trucks are also included. It means that the alignment is adjusted on the front and rear of the vehicle.
It can take around 30 minutes to an hour for a four-wheel alignment. More on that later, but this will be dependent on many different factors.
It can take upwards of an hour to get all four wheels aligned on your vehicle, but it is worth it to get the most out of the alignment, your tires, the components of your suspension system, and more.
Even though the four-wheel alignment is more comprehensive and the better option for your vehicle, there is still a cheaper and quicker alternative.
The two-wheel alignment is the quicker and cheaper alternative, as you have probably guessed by this point.
A two-wheel alignment, as the name suggests, is a procedure where the alignment of the front of the vehicle is checked and adjusted.
The majority of the time, a two-wheel alignment is only offered for the front of the vehicle if the customer chooses to do so.
A two-wheel alignment will take upwards of 30 minutes or more, and on average it will be faster than a comprehensive four-wheel alignment.
A lot of the time both types of alignment is due to setting the process up and then tearing it down once the alignment is finished.
Between setup and teardown, you can expect it to take less than 20 minutes. Two-wheeler alignments don’t save a lot of time.
Why do people choose to only do two-wheel alignments? Shops offer two-wheel alignments for several reasons.
It is faster on average, so they can do more of them throughout the day, while still charging up to 75% of the alignment cost at the same time.
Some shops have machines that only do two-wheel alignments, but can’t measure the rear of the vehicle.
One last thing to keep in mind when getting your vehicle aligned is the possibility of the shop just doing a quick toe adjustment on the front of the vehicle.
This type of alignment is frowned upon by technicians and shops that pride themselves on doing high-quality work.
The aspect of the alignment that is most important in the long run is the toe-n-go alignment because it is one of the worst things that can chew up tires.
It isn’t the only thing, there’s also a camber, caster, etc.
Some alignment machines will only show toe adjustments so the technicians can only do one at a time, but sometimes they will choose to only adjust the toe.
If you have an alignment that seems like it went fast, you should ask to see the before and after measurements and have them explain how they did everything they could.
In some vehicles, the toe is the only thing that can be adjusted. Even if they are doing as much as possible, it will be like a ‘toe-n-go’ alignment anyway!
What Makes a Tire Alignment Take Longer?
Remember when we said that there are things that can affect how long the alignment will take?
To see what makes a tire alignment take longer, we need to dive a little deeper into a few of those things.
Other than the previously described type of alignment, the three biggest factors of how long an alignment will take are the following:
Different Types of Vehicles
The type of vehicle that is being worked on has the biggest impact on how long an alignment will take.
A one-ton diesel pickup truck with 35” tires will typically take more time to align than a small sedan or car with standard 15” 17” wheels.
Older vehicles are more likely to be quicker to adjust than newer ones, but we will get into that in the next section.
This is due to how easy it is to access the various components underneath. The tie rods, which are used to adjust the toe, are very easy to get to without a lot of additional work.
The 2001 Ford F-250 takes longer to set up and adjustment components can be hidden behind the frame and other large suspension parts and pieces.
Condition of Components
Older vehicles are more difficult to align and make adjustments to due to the condition of the components that you are adjusting.
Take the Honda Civic and Ford F-150 from above into account.
The nuts and bolts on the Honda Civic are going to be 18 years older than on the F-150. They will likely have no rust, will not be seized, and will be easy to adjust to.
It is very difficult to adjust the nuts and sleeves on the old F-250 because they were rusted and seized.
If the condition is bad and the technicians are worried about stripping the components, they might have to bring in a torch or lubricant to help break them loose.
The alignment will take much longer than the Civic because of this.
Experience of the Technician
The experience of the technician can have a big effect on how long it will take to align a tire.
This is one of the most important factors when it comes to any kind of service that you have done on your vehicle, not just alignments.
The technician with more experience will take less time than someone with less experience.
If you want to compare a lube and alignment technician who just finished alignment training to a technician with 20 years of experience, you should take a technician who is certified by the ASE.
In 30 minutes or less, the technician will be able to knock an alignment out, without having to look at anything or set it up.
The lube and alignment technician might have to look up what tools to use, where the components are, and how to make the adjustments after setting it up.
It could take someone new like this 60-90 minutes to get the same vehicle.
Since you will be paying the same price for the alignment, if you can get a certified technician, you will get out of there much sooner.
Truck driver by profession, automotive lover by heart. Ricky is the main publisher and editor at Truckile.com sharing his life-long knowledge and experience in the auto industry and truck driving!