Whether you have a flat or simply need to change your all-season to winter tires, getting them changed isn’t a quick fix.
So how long does it take to get tires changed? We’re finding out how long it will take per wheel and if you were to do it yourself.
Let’s get the jack ready and start working.
How long does it take to get tires changed?
- Changing one tire can take 15 to 30 minutes.
- Changing all four can take up to an hour or more, depending on who does it.
- Tires should be checked when they’re six years old.
- Tires should be replaced after 10 years.
How Long Does It Take to Change a Tire?
How long it will take depends on the person doing it, the tools available and how many tires you need to change. On average, it can take a person between 15 and 30 minutes to change one tire.
However, technique and speed play significant roles—for instance, a beginner can take close to an hour or more to change the tires, whereas a professional might do it in half that time. Roadside assistance will change your tire or tires relatively quickly, depending on how many tires they’re dealing with.
Maintenance services can take up to 20 minutes per tire—that means, if you need to change all four, it could take between 50 and 60 minutes.
Can tires be changed quickly? Unless you’re pulling into an F1 pitstop, make sure you free up at least an hour of your day when you need all of your tires changed.
How Long Do Tires Last?
Tires do have an expiration date, and if you want to make sure your car is safe to drive, it’s essential to replace the wheels when needed.
In saying that, there is a general rule of thumb that says your tires should be inspected, at the very least, after six years. At 10 years old, you should replace the tires altogether, regardless of tread wear.
There are two basic ways to check whether your tires need to be changed or not:
Tire Identification Number
The TIN code will usually contain different numbers and letters that tell you the manufacturer’s name, plant code, and wheel size.
However, what you want to look for are the four last digits. The last digits will show you the week and year the tires were made, for example, 2613—you’ll know the tires were made week 26 of 2013.
According to federal laws, the TIN code is required on every tire. But finding the code isn’t always straightforward. Some manufacturers put the code on the inside of the tire, meaning you’ll need to get under the car with a flashlight.
Keep in mind; the TIN code isn’t actually meant for consumers’ convenience. They were mostly put in place to track recalls. With that said, you can use the code to check the tires of the used car you’re considering buying.
Tread wear is a fast and effective way to get an indication of the tire’s condition. According to tire manufacturers and safety advocates, a tire is considered worn down when the tread depth is 2/23 of an inch.
With this easy test, a penny can buy you peace of mind regarding your tires and safety.
A super quick and easy way to check your tires’ tread depth is by using the penny test. Insert the penny head-first into the tread grooves around the tire (make sure to check more than one track).
If you see the top of Lincoln’s head throughout the grooves, the tread is shallow and worn. In this case, you should replace the tires.
On the other hand, if the tread does cover a part of Lincoln’s head, there’s likely more than 2/23 of an inch depth. In this case, re tires, you’re good to go.
Should All 4 Tires Be Replaced at the Same Time?
Car owners will often opt to replace only the worn-out tires on their car to save money—back in the day; snow tires were often only mounted on the drive wheels.
However, all four tires should be the same type, model and have the same wear for this very reason: Predictable behavior. A car with four of the same wheels will be balanced and predictable, whether referring to accelerating, braking or steering.
If one or two tires are more worn and older than the others, you can lose traction and the performance will be unbalanced.
This is especially crucial if you’re driving an all-wheel-drive car (AWD). Even if just one tire needs to be replaced, you have to replace the other three at the same time.
New tires have a larger diameter than used ones—even if it’s only a minor difference—which can cause the old tires to spin faster. This small difference can engage an AWD system on dry surfaces, which could damage it altogether.
The same rule applies to front- and rear-wheel-drive cars since the imbalance can send false signals to the antilock braking system and traction control.
As with anything, there is an exception to the rule, and that is if the treads on the original tires are still deep enough—meaning they don’t have as much wear as the tire being replaced.
Dangers of Driving on Old Tires
One way to think of a tire is to compare it to a rubber band. A new rubber band is fresh, able to stretch and regain its original shape without a problem. However, as the rubber band degrades and ages, you’ll notice cracks or signs of wear when pulling it.
Stretch the rubber band too far, and it will snap—you don’t want your tires to “snap.”
Driving on old or worn-out tires will increase the risk of punctures, blowouts and flats. Furthermore, with less tread, the tires become slippery and unable to grab the road, making it hard to accelerate, steer and brake.
Unfortunately, old or worn-out tires have been the culprit of many road fatalities over the years. For this reason, proper tire maintenance is crucial—it might take a long time for the various air pressure checkups, adjustments or tire change, but it will ensure your safety on the road.
Factors That Degrade Tires
There are different factors that can degrade a tire, including the following:
- Heat: According to research, tires age quicker in warmer climates. Moreover, exposure to sunlight and warm, humid conditions of coastal climates can also affect the life of your tires.
- Usage: Here, we refer to factors like proper inflation, accidents, whether it has hit the curb a few too many times or if you’ve ever repaired a puncture. Tires that are only used on the weekend will age differently from tires driven daily.
- Storage: Spares and tires stored in a garage or tire dealer will age slower than the tires on a car. However, they still age—don’t think you can store tires for five years and they’ll be as good as new.
- Spares: Like the point above, spare tires are rarely used, but they still degrade with time. If you inflate and mount the tire on car, it’s considered “in service,” regardless of use. Spare wheels on trucks that are mounted underneath the body will also be exposed to heat, weather and dirt.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Does It Take to Change 4 Tires and Alignment?
Car alignment can take around one hour, whether it’s a two- or four-wheel-drive car. If you’re also having four tires changed, you have to add about an hour more, since this is the average time it can take to get four tires changed.
So how long does it take? You could be looking at two hours in total, so make sure you clear enough time on your schedule. You should also consider waiting time since you often have to wait for the maintenance center to finish cars before you.
Other things like damaged parts or issues with ball joints, suspension or steering can extend the alignment time. Especially if the mechanic has to replace one or more components.
How Long Does It Take to Balance New Tires?
Balancing the wheels can take around 40 minutes to two hours. The time depends on different factors, such as the tires’ condition, driving habits and the climate in your area.
It will take longer to balance tires that have hit a pothole than to balance new tires. On top of that, you also need to consider possible waiting time.
How Much Does It Cost to Have a Tire Mounted and Balanced?
This service is called mounting and balancing, and usually has a standard fee depending on your area. The price will vary depending on the size of the tire and the shop offering the service. In saying that, it generally costs between $15 and $45 per tire.
Do I Need Alignment After Replacing Tires?
Alignment isn’t necessary per se, but it’s recommended that you do it after fitting new tires. Aligning your tires will enable you to get the most out of your new tires since misalignment can wear out the tires quicker.
We recommend that you always get an alignment check after a significant impact, whether it’s a curb, pothole or bumper. Any impact can knock your car off the spec, making proper car maintenance crucial.
Tires change out of alignment rather slowly (unless there’s been an impact). It will often go unnoticed until more severe, and you’ll notice how the gas usage, mileage and steering are affected.
How long does it take to get your tires aligned? We’d say it can take as long as an hour.
How Long Does It Take to Change Tires at Costco?
Changing tires at Costco requires an appointment that you can make online or at the warehouse. However, some consumers have said that on busy days, you’ll likely have to wait for long, despite having an appointment.
Luckily, you’ll be at Costco, so you can take a stroll through the shop until your car is ready to go. A few reviewers mentioned that they enjoyed the freedom to walk around the shop instead of sitting in a tire shop sipping old coffee.
Getting your tires changed isn’t a quick ordeal, and it’s essential to schedule replacements ahead of time to avoid stress. Of course, certain situations, such as a puncture or blowout, can’t be predicted, but the waiting time can take a long time, depending on how busy the tire service center is.
So, how long does it take to get tires changed? We have concluded that it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour, but we recommend that you free up at least 50 minutes for the appointment. Potential waiting time should also be accounted for, depending on how busy your local maintenance center usually is.