There is temptation, when you are handy with a spanner and socket set, to take on absolutely every job on a car. Even doing DIY wheel alignment.
This is a mistake.
In principle, DIY wheel alignment is easy. Its a few bolts on each corner of the car. Adjust them. Job done.
Except it is not easy. Yes the mechanical bits are relatively straightforward but that is not the difficult part. The tricky part is the measurements. Not only do the measurements need to be accurate they need to be consistent.
Again, sounds easy but in practice, unless you have the tools to do the job it isn’t easy and it isn’t fast.
Plum bobs and marked spirit levels could do the job but the reality is the job is so time consuming it simply is not worth doing. And more than that, in my opinion you shouldn’t be doing it. The accuracy just won’t be there, even after all the time spent.
If you are doing multiple wheel alignments a week then for sure, it could well be worth you investing in a dedicated laser alignment set up with a flat platform. However, if you are buying a dedicated rig then the term “DIY” starts to transform into the word “Pro” and pro is not what this article is about.
In summary, the cost of a dedicated laser alignment rig and the frequency the average driver/home mechanic is doing a wheel alignment, it makes DIY alignment pointless in my opinion. Even if I get good experience of doing the alignment myself, the skills I learn are not going to be useful in future for all the reasons above.
Bringing it back to the start, it’s tempting to take all jobs on, it’s almost an “admission” of defeat or perhaps I might think of myself as lazy for not doing a job but I’d be wrong.
There are some jobs, due the costs of the equipment involved, the frequency a job needs to be done and the time involved, for some jobs the smart choice, the cost effective choice is to pay a professional, its faster & cheaper, and wheel alignment is definitely one of these jobs.