Wheel alignments are critical when it comes to keeping your car running smoothly and efficiently. Over time, your car’s wheels can become misaligned, which adversely affects your vehicle’s braking and handling capabilities, compromising safety on the road. But do you have to go to a specialty shop to align your wheels, or can Walmart do wheel alignments?
Walmart no longer offers wheel alignment services since 2021. You can visit other stores like Mr. Tire and Big O Tires for wheel alignment services. Walmart offers other auto services, including wheel mounting, wheel rotation, and valve stem installation in its Auto Care Centers.
In this article, I’ll discuss everything related to Walmart wheel alignments, including whether Walmart offers free alignment checks, how good their wheel alignment services were, and where you can get your wheel alignment done now that Walmart no longer offers the service.
What Is Wheel Alignment?
Wheel alignment is the process of resetting your car’s wheels to the proper orientation. It includes adjusting the angle of your tires so that they’re pointing in the same direction.
During a wheel alignment, a technician will use a special machine to measure the alignment of your car’s wheels. They’ll then make adjustments to fit your car, driving preferences, and manufacturer’s recommendations.
The goal of a wheel alignment is to improve your car’s handling, fuel efficiency, and tire life. It’s an important part of regular car maintenance, and it’s recommended that you get your wheel alignment checked after one to two years of use or every 6,000 miles (9,656.06 km).
Does Walmart Do Free Alignments?
Walmart doesn’t offer free wheel alignments, but they offer a free alignment check. This is a visual inspection of your car’s alignment, and the technician will look for any signs that your car’s wheels are out of alignment.
If they find any issues, they’ll recommend you get a full wheel alignment. However, keep in mind that this is just a visual inspection, so it’s possible they could miss something.
It’s always best to get a full wheel alignment from a reputable shop specializing in alignments. This way, you can be sure that your car’s wheels are properly positioned and that you’re getting the best possible service.
Are Walmart Alignments Good?
Although Walmart no longer offers wheel alignment services, they did offer the best wheel alignment services at affordable prices. The technicians at Walmart Auto Care Centers are highly trained and use state-of-the-art equipment to assess your car’s suspension.
A satisfaction guarantee always backed Walmart’s wheel alignment services, so you could be sure that you were getting a good value for your money. It would cost you between $30 and $95, depending on the branch and the type of service you needed.
A simple front-wheel tracking adjustment without a wheel alignment would cost you around $30 to $65, while a full four-wheel alignment would set you back between $70 and $95, depending on your car’s type.
Signs You Need a Wheel Alignment
Understanding the signs that indicate you need a wheel alignment can help save you time and money. It’s best to get your car’s alignment checked as soon as possible to avoid more serious and expensive problems down the road.
Some of the signs that you might need a wheel alignment include:
- Your car drags to one side while driving
- The steering wheel is off-center
- Tires wearing unevenly
- Your car feels like it’s shaking or vibrating
- Noisy steering
- Squealing tires
If you notice any of these signs, it’s crucial you take your vehicle to an experienced technician for a thorough inspection and, if necessary, a wheel alignment.
Causes of Wheel Misalignments
There are several factors that can cause your car’s wheels to become misaligned. It’s important to be aware of possible culprits if you want to take steps to avoid them. Common causes of wheel misalignment include:
- Hitting a pothole or curb
- Driving over a speed bump too fast
- Accidents or collisions
- Running over or colliding with a parking barrier
These scenarios can knock your car’s wheels out of alignment. If you hit a pothole or curb, it’s important to get your alignment checked as soon as possible. Even if there’s no visible damage, the impact can alter your car’s alignment.
Benefits of Wheel Alignments
Like regular oil change and battery replacement every 2-4 years, wheel alignments are an important part of your vehicle’s maintenance. Unfortunately, it’s an often forgotten or neglected service that can lead to serious damage if not taken care of. Some of the benefits of getting a wheel alignment include:
Improved Fuel Efficiency
Poor wheel alignment decreases gas mileage by up to 10%. Misalignment causes your car’s tires to drag, causing your engine to overwork to propel your vehicle forward.
This wastes fuel and puts unnecessary strain on your engine, which can lead to more serious and expensive problems down the road. A wheel alignment service ensures your wheels are aligned correctly, allowing your car to run more efficiently and saving you money at the pump.
Nothing wrecks a road trip quite like a bumpy ride. If your car’s wheels are out of alignment, you’re likely to feel every minor imperfection on the road.
Besides, you will need to constantly adjust your steering wheel to keep your car going straight, which can be tiring and dangerous. A wheel alignment allows you to experience a smoother and more comfortable ride.
Improved Vehicle Safety
Besides being annoying, driving with misaligned wheels can also be dangerous. Misaligned wheels can cause your car to pull to one side, making it difficult to keep your car in a straight line.
This increases the risk of accidents and collisions, especially on highways and at high speeds. Properly maintaining your car’s alignment can help improve its safety and protect you, your passengers, and other drivers on the road.
Longer Tire Life
Since wheel alignments help improve your car’s fuel efficiency, it also indirectly helps extend the life of your tires. Misaligned wheels cause your tires to drag, putting unnecessary wear and tear on them. This can shorten their lifespan and lead to having to replace your tires more often – which is not a cheap fix.
Uneven wear can also cause your tires to blow out while driving, which can be extremely dangerous. A wheel alignment balances your car’s suspension, which helps distribute the weight of your car evenly across all four tires.
Reduced Expensive Auto Repairs
A car is a collection of many moving parts, all of which need to be in alignment for your car to function properly. When your wheels are misaligned, they throw off the rest of your car’s suspension as well. This can lead to severe and costly problems, such as:
- Worn out shocks and struts
- Premature tire wear
- Excessive engine wear
- Leaking fluids
- Reduced fuel efficiency
A wheel alignment helps keep all of the moving components of your car in place, which reduces wear and tear and the need for expensive repairs.
Other Places To Get a Wheel Alignment
Although Walmart no longer offers wheel alignment services, plenty of other shops do. It’s essential to find a reputable shop that has experience aligning different types of cars. This ensures they’ll be able to properly align your car’s suspension, regardless of its make or model.
Before choosing a shop, be sure to read reviews to ensure you’re getting the best possible service. Some of the best places to get a wheel alignment include:
Wheel alignment at these shops typically costs between $50 and $100. However, the costs can vary depending on the type of car you have and the severity of the misalignment. Many of these shops offer coupons and discounts, so check their websites before making an appointment.
Other Walmart Auto Services
Walmart Auto Care Centers remains one of the best and most affordable places to get auto care services. Its in-store Auto Care Centers offer competitively priced services, including free 50-mile (80.47 km) re-torque and TPMS relearn services. Other tire services Walmart offers include:
- Tire rotation: $2.50 per tire
- Lug nut replacement: $2 per tire
- Flat tire repair (tubeless): $15 per tire
- Valve stem installation: $3 per tire
- Road hazard warranty: $10 per tire
- Tire mounting (carry-in): $10 per tire
- Tire mounting: $5 per tire
- Lifetime balance and rotation: $14 per tire
The store also offers oil change and general maintenance services for $19.88 – $49.88 and $3.50 – $45, respectively. You may incur additional charges for non-featured oil changes. To book tire or other maintenance services at Walmart, you can use their online Store Finder tool to locate a store near you and make an appointment.
While Walmart’s in-store Auto Care Centers no longer offer wheel alignment services, you can still take advantage of their other affordable tire and maintenance services.
If your car needs wheel alignment, there are plenty of other reputable shops to choose from, including Mr. Tire, Sears Auto Center, and Firestone Complete Auto Care, that offer wheel alignment services for $50 to $100. Read customer reviews before making an appointment to ensure you’re getting the best service possible.
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