How to Choose the Best Alignment Shop

A quick breakdown of how to choose the best alignment shop.

Car alignment might not be something you immediately think of when it comes to regular car maintenance. However, a vehicle that is only one inch out of alignment is equivalent to dragging the tire sideways 100 feet per mile. That can easily start to affect your fuel efficiency and ultimately lead to other issues. The road from tire misalignment to other problems is one slippery slope –sometimes literally! If your tires are misaligned, you wear down your tires unevenly and could face trouble with stopping safely during wet or icy conditions. 

We’ve put together a FAQ for you to learn more about vehicle alignment and what to consider when you choose an alignment shop. 

How Do I Know When My Vehicle is Out of Alignment?

Hitting potholes, curbs, or other obstructions in the road tend to lead to alignment issues. 

There are a few indicators of alignment issues on your car:

  • The steering wheel is off-center and tilts left or right when driving straight.
  • The steering wheel requires continuous correction when driving straight because it pulls to the left or right if you take your hands off of the wheel.
  • You feel pulsing or shaking through the steering wheel or your seat, regardless of road conditions. 
  • One or more tires have uneven wear.

What Does an Alignment Shop Do?

Alignment is the process of properly configuring a vehicle’s suspension, wheels, and tires with one another and the road surface or conditions. The objective is to square a car’s wheels and axles to move in the same direction. 

Professional mechanics use alignment machines that clamp to your car’s wheels and connect to a computer so they can make the most precise measurements and adjustments for alignment. 

There are three main types of alignment, and the kind of suspension your car has will determine which of these three types your mechanic will recommend:

  • Front-end Alignment– The most basic of alignments limited to adjustments of the front axle
  • Thrust-angle Alignment– A front-end alignment plus alignment of the car’s rear wheels to be parallel with the front axle and perpendicular to the center point of the vehicle, typically reserved for cars with strong rear axles
  • Four-wheel Alignment– Alignment typically reserved for vehicles with four-wheel and all-wheel drive that combines concepts of front-end and thrust alignments with positioning the rear axle

How Often Do I Need a Tire Alignment?

If you have been driving under normal driving conditions, experts recommend an alignment once or twice a year– or every 6,000 to 12,000 miles. However, if you drive on pothole-laden and bumpy roads, you’re in the habit of curb checking, or you just so happen to hit a pothole so hard that your soul briefly leaves your body, the recommendation is to come in more frequently.

Can I Buy Tires at an Alignment Shop?

Each alignment shop has different options in terms of tires. Some are limited in their supply of tires, and others have a breadth of brands. Before you choose an alignment shop to work with, check which brands of tires they have available. 

You don’t necessarily need an alignment when you get new tires, but the mounting of new tires is an excellent chance to check in on alignment. This is particularly true if the old tires have worn down unevenly or you need tire repair.

What Should I Expect to Spend at an Alignment Shop?

Angie’s List says most two-wheel alignments cost $50 to $75. Four-wheel alignments can cost $100 to $150. Many mechanics also recommend a tire rotation service along with alignment to help mitigate uneven tire wearing. 

Alignments take typically an hour-long, but if more is found to be wrong with your car– such as axle or CV joint damage –it can take longer and add to the cost. A new axle costs $75 to $150 depending on car make and model, and labor can cost double that. Replacing the CV joints can be $95 to $200 per joint.

For most visits to the alignment shop, expect to pay $50-$70.

Why Choose Gross & Son’s Alignment Shop?

If you’re seeking the best alignment shop in Pensacola, Florida, Gross & Son’s Paint & Body Shop is here to help. We provide fast service using one of the best alignment systems available on the market. 

Using four precision cameras to measure position and orientation of targets mounted to each wheel, our Hunter’s HawkEye Elite® Alignment Machine can show alignment results in just 70 seconds. The machine also uses patented adaptors to grip the tire and eliminate the risk of rim damage.

Gross & Son is a one-stop-shop for alignments, tire repair, new tires, wheels, and mount and balance. We have nearly 20 top brands of tires available, including BFGoodrich, Continental, Falken, Michelin, Nitto, and Pirelli. 

Need an alignment quote? Contact Gross & Son at 850-434-5309 or fill out a contact form.