When your car’s wheel alignment is out of whack, it’s time to get it taken care of before the tires wear unevenly. Where do you go to get these wheel services and how much can you expect to spend?
If you are already heading to Walmart to do some shopping, you may think getting your auto services performed at the same time is wise. But does Walmart do alignments or will you be wasting your time?
In this guide, we cover the auto services that Walmart offers and discuss average prices. We also look at how the wheel alignment is done and discuss some general terms. At the end of our guide, we talk about the auto service that Walmart offers and discuss whether the car services are beneficial.
Does Walmart Do Wheel Alignments?
Walmart no longer offers wheel alignment services, even if some locations once provided it. While you can’t get a wheel alignment at your local Walmart today, there are plenty of other tire services being provided at a reasonable cost, including mounting and balancing.
Not only are there a variety of tire services available from Walmart, but the mega superstore is also one of the cheapest places to get auto parts. While your car is in for regular service, you can pick up new windshield wipers, motor oil, accessories, and more.
Additional Walmart Auto Services
1. Tire Services
While Walmart doesn’t offer alignments, you can find plenty of tire services. When you first purchase tires, you may require mounting services. If you bring tires with you, Walmart will also mount the tires, but the cost will be more. The auto team also provides balance and rotation services. Additionally, there are road hazard warranties available if you are worried about flat tires down the road.
If you do get a flat tire, Walmart will repair a tubeless tire for $15, as long as it is safe. You could also need valve stem installation or lug nut replacement. The other tire service that is charged is the rotation, which is usually performed the most often. There are also a couple of free services, including the TPMS re-learn and a 50-mile re-torque of services.
RELATED: How Much Does a Tire Rotation Cost? (& Is it worth it?)
To keep your vehicle in its best condition, you want to get regular oil changes. Walmart offers standard, high-mileage, semi-synthetic and synthetic oil change services. All of these include up to five quarts of oil and the filter.
Walmart is also known for providing free inspections of the car during this service. In some cases, the tire pressures are checked, while other technicians might inspect the battery charge.
3. Battery Services
If you are already purchasing your new car battery at Walmart, it makes sense to have the technicians put it in. Your installation is free, so there’s no reason to do it yourself. However, if you purchase your battery somewhere else, you will have to pay a small fee for the installation.
Aside from the installation, technicians can also provide a check to determine the health of the battery. You can also have corrosion cleaned off of the battery if you are worried about the connection.
4. Fuel System Services
Walmart auto centers will provide regular maintenance for your fuel systems as well. You can get the fuel system cleaned out for a minimal charge.
At some locations, you can get fuel maintenance for a discounted rate when bundled with other services. For this reason, you might choose an oil change and fuel maintenance at the same time.
5. Miscellaneous Services
With most major systems of your car, you can find an auto service offered by Walmart. For example, participating locations will offer transmission fluid change.
You can also get the refrigerant recharged for better air conditioning performance or have an air filter replaced. Walmart auto services also provide smaller services, such as headlight replacement or windshield wiper installation. You can see the full list of available services on the company’s website.
Cost of Walmart Tire Services
One of the reasons many people continue to use Walmart for auto services is that the prices are so reasonable. Even if you are on a tight budget, you can get many tire services for a reasonable cost.
To have the tires mounted, Walmart’s website currently lists a price of $11 per tire, which is extremely reasonable. Additionally, to have the tires balanced and rotated, you will spend $14 per tire, according to the website. What’s nice about using Walmart auto services is that the prices seem to be the same across the board.
Walmart Car Service Review: Can You Trust the Technicians?
Walmart auto services have come a long way over the years. The technicians hired by Walmart can tackle a multitude of issues, whether it’s time for an oil change or tire rotation.
The best part about using Walmart is the availability of appointments. Because Walmart locations are throughout the country, you will be able to find one near you and the prices are always reasonable. We recommend using Walmart for basic car care needs and saving the dealership or high-tech repair shop for things that need more attention.
How is a Wheel Alignment Done?
Wheel alignments are all done in a comparable fashion, no matter where you visit. The only difference between a two- and four-wheel alignment is how many wheels are being worked on.
Depending on what type of vehicle you have and where you go for the alignment, here are the general steps that will be followed:
- The mechanic puts the car up on a special ramp.
- The parking brake is applied to ensure the car doesn’t roll away.
- With the plates placed perfectly under the tires and the steering wheel facing straight, the vehicle is clamped in place.
- The engine is turned off.
- Devices are put against the wheels at a specified distance.
- The car gets lifted, so the technician can get a better view of what’s going on.
- The nuts are loosened or tightened on the tie rods based on the reading from the machines.
- Other adjustments are made based on the readings from the computers.
- The mechanic takes the car for a test drive to ensure that everything is lined up.
In some cases, the technician will need to put the car back on the rack and make a few more adjustments.
RELATED: 5 Symptoms of a Bad Wheel Alignment (Why you should fix it)
General Wheel Alignment Terms
1. Toe In/Toe Out
The toe is one of the most thought-about issues when dealing with a wheel alignment. Just as you would with your toes on your feet, as you look down at them, they can either be placed straight, in or out.
Therefore, when the toe is in, the wheels are pointing inward under the vehicle. The opposite is true with the toe-out situation. In this case, the wheels will point outward from the vehicle.
The camber is the description of how the tire sits in relation to the ground. This angle can also be placed inward or outward, just like the toe, but it’s compared to the vertical angle.
The camber talks about the way the tire contacts the road. The negative and positive camber angles will both place the tires on a diagonal relation to the road. You may have seen this purposely done with hot rods in your area for a unique look.
The caster angle defines how the center of the wheel hub assembly compares with the road. The caster plays a major role in how stable the car is.
A neutral caster keeps the vertical alignment completely straight. On the other hand, a positive caster angle is tilted back, while the negative caster angle is tilted toward the front of the car.
4. Steering Axis Inclination (SAI)
The SAI isn’t something that is talked about as often, but still important. The steering axis inclination is a term used to describe the position of the suspension parts.
Instead of just looking at the wheels, this inclination is used to determine suspension in the mix of all of it. This gives directional stability, just like the caster angle.
5. Thrust Angle
When the thrust angle of the wheels is off, crabbing occurs. The thrust angle is the relation of the rear wheels to the center line of your vehicle.
When it’s off, you see that the back wheels aren’t in line with the front. They will not sit directly behind the front wheels. This is why it’s known as crabbing, because of the appearance it offers. With Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), you must have the thrust angle correct or the sensors could malfunction or give the wrong readings.
Does Walmart Do Tire Balancing?
While Walmart doesn’t do alignments, you can trust the team for regular tire balancing. According to the prices on the website currently, you will spend $14 per tire for lifetime balance and rotation. Typically, tires get balanced every rotation, which should occur in relation to the oil change schedule.
Is Tire Rotation the Same as Wheel Alignment?
No, the wheel alignment is needed to adjust the angle of the tires to ensure that everything is centered and lined up for a smooth ride and even tire wear. On the other hand, tire rotation requires moving the tire and wheel to a new position on the car, whether from the front to the back or diagonally.
How Much Does Tire Alignment Cost At Walmart?
Walmart won’t do wheel alignments, but you can find many other locations for the service. On average, you may spend $75 to $300 for a wheel alignment. Depending on your driving habits, you might need an alignment every other oil change or once a year.
If you are looking for a one-stop shop for your auto care services, you will naturally wonder if Walmart does alignments, but they don’t. While the auto services are comprehensive at most Walmart centers, you will have to go elsewhere for the regular wheel alignment.
However, we’ve found the company’s other services to be priced reasonably and they are convenient, especially if you are already shopping at the store. It’s also easy to schedule maintenance and repair services to fit your busy lifestyle.
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