As a beginner driver those days, nothing worried me more than replacing a flat tire. In my naivety, I’d dreaded those ‘long’ hours it’d take to change my car tires when they went bad. In truth, I’d chosen to excuse myself from some trips to avoid squatting under a car to fix a punctured tire.
Like me, you must have also asked yourself one day ‘how long does it take to change a tire? If want to find an answer, keep reading this article. It covers all the details you need to know about changing a flat tire. Let’s get into the fray.
Suffice it to say that you shouldn’t take tire replacement for granted. Make it a point of duty to change the tire once you notice it has gone flat or bad. Driving on punctured tires can damage your vehicle. Don’t drive for too long on flat tires even if your car is running on run-flat tires.
How Long Does it Take to Change a Tire?
On average, changing a flat tire will take approximately between 10 to 30 minutes, depending on who and what’s involved. First off, you’ve got to have all the necessary tools before you start to change a tire. A lack of any supplies will definitely prolong the time you’ll spend on changing the tire. Plus, your level of experience as a DIYer will also count. If you go to an auto care center, it may take between 1 hour and 4 hours. If a professional technician handles the job, it may take the shortest time. But, you might be on it for a long duration if you’re handling it alone as a complete novice. Overall, the size of the tire and the model of your vehicle are two other essential factors. A large-size tire or a vehicle with a complex design will prolong your time on the tire.
Who can Change the Tire and How Long will it Take?
Don’t forget, the tire is an essential component of the car and will need optimum maintenance. In addition to giving support to car loads, tires also transmit traction and ensure maximum grip and short stopping distance. They also absorb road shocks while also maintaining direction.
In sum, your overall safety on the road depends largely on the condition of the tires. If anything, you should avoid the unnecessary expenses that come with risking bad or punctured tires. When installing a new tire or replacing a bad one, it must be handled with care.
Who can change a tire? Ideally, only professionals should change car tires. But they won’t always be around. In that case, you’ve got to look for an alternative. You can opt for a DIYer service. Subscribing to a roadside assistance program is another option. Alternatively, you can also drive your car to an auto center. Each of these options comes with its pros and cons and the duration of changing the tire varies from one option to another.
Let me say this: you’ve got to be patient if you’re changing your tires at mechanic shops or auto centers. Truth is that after fixing the tires, professionals want to ensure that the tires won’t vibrate. Hence, they want to ensure a balance wheel.
How Long to Change Car Tires Yourself?
It cannot be overemphasized that calling a professional is the best thing to do when you need to change your tires. You should also explore other options. But then, it’s not every time you’ll have them at your beck and call. In those instances when your phone battery is dead or there’s no telematics system, you have to resort to self-help.
If you have all the necessary tools in your car trunk, you can complete changing your tire in 20 minutes or so. In my previous post, I discussed with you all the tools you need to remove a tire from the rim. Keep them in place so you don’t waste time installing a new or spare tire on your car. For first time tries, you may spend up to 30 minutes or more.
How Long will it take a Professional to Change a Car Tire?
On average, it will take a professional mechanic between 10 to 15 minutes to change a regular tire. This will mean that the lug holes, wheel studs, and other metal parts of the wheel are not rusty or corroded.
But the situation of the tire and the model of the car may prolong the time. A corroded wheel may prolong the removal of the regular tire. If the design of the car is complex, the professional may spend extra 5 minutes.
When you add the additional minutes, you may be looking at somewhere in the region of 20 to 25 minutes. In total, a professional will spend between 40-and 80 minutes changing the four tires of a vehicle. If you’re unlucky with a busy mechanic or distant tire shop, you may spend hours driving and waiting.
Changing Tire at Auto Care Center: How Long will it Take?
In truth, I have no definite answer to your question. The time it will take an ever-busy Walmart to change your tire will vary significantly from the time it’ll take Costco. Similarly, BJ, Firestone, Discount Tire, and Goodyear also have different times to complete tire replacement. You’ve got to choose a center based on their availability. But let me take you through what you should expect from each of these centers.
How Long Does Walmart Take to Change a Tire?
You should expect to spend at least 30 minutes changing the four tires at Walmart. Remember, this is a quite busy auto center around the town. By estimate, Walmart attends to more than 265 million customers per week and you’ll be one of these intimidating numbers.
The good news is that service is based on a first-come-first-serve basis. Either you buy the tires from Walmart or elsewhere, or you can have them installed by the company’s auto care experts. All you have to do is to book an appointment, by logging on either to Walmart.com or the Walmart mobile app.
How Long Does Costco take to Change the Tire?
Typically, it will take between 45 minutes and one hour to complete tire installation at Costco. However, unlike Walmart, Costco only repairs and installs tires that you buy from them as they aren’t a universal tire replacement center.
How Long does Discount Tire Take to Change a Tire?
It can take 24 hours to 48 hours to have your tire changed at Discount Tire. As the name implies, Discount Tire handles everything that has to do with your car wheel and tires. So, they won’t only change the tire but also look at other jobs that need attention. They’re into wheel re-chroming, wheel paint, wheel rust scraping, straightening wheel bends, powder coating, and more. This company repairs and installs tires.
How Long Does Firestone Take to Change Tires?
At Firestone, your vehicle can spend up to one hour or one and a half hours to change the tires. The Firestone’s tire installation and repair experts often take their time to also inspect a few other areas in the wheel compartment. This is the average time you can hope to spend as other customers queue up to get their turn.
How Long Does it Take to Change Tires with Roadside Assistance?
There is no clear answer. It depends on three things: the road assistance program you subscribe to; where the tire puncture occurs; and when help arrives. Sometimes you can wait up to an hour or more. At other times, it can be less than 30 minutes. In sum, the duration varies significantly. It’ll take road assistance up to 15 minutes to change a tire. In total, road assistance will spend an average of 60 minutes changing the four tires.
How to Change Tire Yourself
In case all the options above fail and you have to resort to a DIYer, below are the steps to change our tire yourself. As I’ve said earlier, the tire it’ll take depends on a number of factors. I’ll expatiate more on these points later in the article.
How to Change Tire Yourself: A simple Guide
Now that all options aren’t available and you’re in a precarious situation, perhaps in the middle of the night. What will you do? You need to get to work yourself. As I have indicated before, changing a tire is one of the easiest things to do, but the time it takes varies, depending on the situation. But, it’s pretty simple if all necessary tools are in your car trunk.
Tools needed to change your tire:
- A Flat-head screwdriver
- A Pry bar
- Wheel wedges
- A spare tire
- Alignment studs
- A Lug wrench
- A valve core remover
- lock and key
Step 1: Safely pull over
Once you notice one of your tires is punctured and flat, the first thing is to gradually reduce your speed. Then, bring your car to a stop and pull over to a safe place. After parking safely, pull up the hand brake as you shift the gear pedal to a neutral position.
Step 2: Show warning light
Turn on your emergency flashers and erect the warning/ triangle at least 147 feet (45 meters) from your vehicle. Ensure you’re not standing in the way of other road users, especially oncoming vehicles.
Step 3: Wedge the car wheel
The next step is to wedge the four tires. This is to secure the car and prevent it from shifting when you start jacking it up. You can improvise with some heavy stones or wooden blocks if you don’t have wedges in your car.
Step 4: Unscrew the lug nuts
Bring out the lug wrench and start to loosen the lug nuts. Turn your wrench counterclockwise and make sure it releases the nuts from the wheel studs. This time, don’t remove the nuts completely from the wheel.
Step 5: Jack up the car
Needless to reiterate, you need to park your vehicle on a flat, solid surface before raising it. Stand the jerk in a vertical position under your vehicle. Raise the vehicle until it’s ½ foot (6 inches) above the ground. Insert the lug wrench and further turn the nuts counterclockwise. This time, make sure you remove the nuts completely from the wheel. Once they are out, keep them in a safe place. If you’re removing more than one tire, repeat the same for other tires that need a replacement.
Step 6: Remove the old tire
Dismount the flat or old tire from the wheel and keep it somewhere away from under the vehicle or road. Be careful enough not to let the tire stay under the car.
Step 7: Install the new tire
After removing the tire, the next thing is to install the new tire. Start by setting the new tire. If you’re using a tire smaller than the size of the regular tire, you’ll have to jack down the vehicle. Make sure the wheel fits properly into the lug holes before positioning the lug nuts. Set the nuts and start to screw them with your hand. Place the lug wrench and turn it clockwise. Screw the nuts well.
Step 8: Remove the jack
After screwing, lower the car jack and dismount it from under the car.
What Determines Time it takes to Change a Tire?
The extent of tire air pressure loss
How quick or slow you’re able to change a tire depends on the extent of puncture or air pressure loss. Flat tires without puncture may only require you to re-inflate and reinstall them. However, if the tire has gone completely flat, you will have to spend more time. This way, you’ll want to inspect if there is a puncture or leak. For a punctured tire, you will need to remove it and seal the leak with a plug. Alternatively, you will have to completely replace it with a new tire.
Size of tire
The larger the size of a tire the more time it will take you to change it. Smaller tires take lesser air pressure before and after plugging the punctures. In addition, it is easy to carry and manipulate small or medium-sized tires, unlike their large counterparts.
This is a no-brainer. If you handle it on your own, you may spend hours. Without the needed tools or requisite skills, you may spend a whole day replacing a tire. Professional mechanics are certified and have the requisite expertise to change a tire in a short time. Auto car centers use experts who will take lesser time to replace a tire.
Car model and design
The complexity of your car design also means that you may have to spend more time before you complete changing the tire. You may have to remove some components and detach others before you can get to the hard-to-reach sections.
Can I change two tires at the same time?
Yes, you can change two tires if you think they’re not good enough on the car. In this case, you will need two jacks. If you’re using two jacks, you’ll have to first lift the right front tire before going to the left tires. However, one big hydraulic jack will work to raise the two front tires.
How much does it cost to change a tire at an auto care center?
Generally, the cost of changing tires isn’t high. At auto centers, you’ll spend between $10 and $30 per tire, depending on the situation. Walmart, for example, will charge you $15 to install a tire, making $60 for the four tires. If you’re buying a new tire at a Walmart shop or any other auto care center, the cost will go higher. But note that BJ and Costco will not help you install aftermarket or OEM tires you bought from another tire shop.
Does BJ change the tire?
Yes, like Costco and Walmart, BJ’s Tire Center helps numerous customers to install a new tire on their car. The cost of changing a tire at this center is relatively low. The time taken is also short compared to some other auto care centers around. However, as its general principle, BJ won’t accept installing a tire bought from outside. You’ll need to buy a replacement tire from them.
What are the possible causes in which the labor and time required to change a tire are long?
The following are possible reasons why it may take a long time to change a tire.
- The work is busy and there is a waiting list.
- Expensive external aluminum wheels are installed, so each operation is performed carefully.
- Low flat tires are difficult to remove and install.
- High-grip tires, run-flat tires, and other tires with hard shoulders make the work time-consuming.
- The tools and equipment used to change tires at the dealership are old, or the working staff is not skilled enough.
Cases 1 through 4 are considered unavoidable, and if there is a proper explanation before or during the work that the work will take longer than usual, it is best not to unilaterally blame the dealer.
On the other hand, case 5 can be avoided if the shop has adequate tools and equipment and staff training on a daily basis, but it may be difficult for the average user to determine whether the store is an excellent tire dealer or not.
When considering a tire replacement, it is a good idea to gather information about the vendor in advance via the Internet, etc. It is also recommended to check the appearance and attitude of the staff who served you when you visit the store, as well as the cleanliness of the work pit.
How can the time and effort required to change a tire be reduced as much as possible?
It is important to understand that a safe and reliable tire change requires a certain amount of time, as it must be done carefully. However, there are ways to shorten the work time.
The quickest way to shorten the work time is to make a reservation in advance with the store for the date and time of the tire change.
This is because you can avoid “duplication of work,” which is the number one cause of extended work time as mentioned above, by making a reservation in advance.
In addition, although dealers have tires in a variety of sizes to fit various types of vehicles, minor tire sizes may not be in stock at the store and cannot be worked on that day if you visit without an appointment.
If you make an appointment in advance, the tires will be ready in the pit by the time of your appointment, and you can also complete minor tasks in advance, such as removing stickers, which will save you time.
In addition, although it may not be a time-saving measure, it is also a good idea to have the tires changed when the vehicle is inspected. Since the car is delivered with new tires installed, it takes less time and effort.
When you request some kind of work or maintenance, not only tire replacement, it is not recommended to rush it unless there are special circumstances.
The more time and care that goes into the maintenance and servicing of a vehicle, the more complete it will be. When changing a tire, which requires the utmost care, be sure to allow more time than for other maintenance.
In my many years as an auto enthusiast, one question that won’t leave my lips is ‘how safe is my car?’ Safety is something I have often taken seriously. So, when careful road users ask me ‘how long does it take to change a tire?’ I usually like to provide straight-to-the-point answers. And you can attest to this in the clear and exhaustive answer we have here.
I have to say again that you don’t have to be in a hurry when you take your tire out for replacement. Whether you do it in summer or wintertime, the procsess of removing tires is the same. It doesn’t who handles it. But professionals and auto center experts do a more efficient job and have superior and more modern tools. For instance, they have hydraulic lifts that can raise your vehicle once. They also use an impact torque wrench that can remove lug nuts faster and more efficiently.
It doesn’t matter how long it’ll take. You shouldn’t replace a flat tire in haste. Take your time to properly install the new tire. Screw the bolts well; fasten the replacement tire properly; inspect the new tires you want to install. Get the necessary tools before you start. Have a safe trip!
My name is James. Call me your ‘Born Auto Neighbor.’ I am an auto savvy with a burning enthusiasm to help vehicle owners, auto technicians, DIYer auto caregivers, and drivers like you have a seamless time with your vehicles. Do you own or work on a Dodge Convertible, a Chevy Crossover, a Ford SUV, a Toyota Hatchback, a Honda Coupe, a Datsun MPV, or a Mercedes Sedan? I have enough automotive content to help your auto service and repair on the go.
I have been around for more than a decade, examining and analyzing car issues while proffering practical fixes that will help you spend less time and money. I take auto care, service, and maintenance very seriously and my tested experience in the industry means that you can always get the best auto tips and tricks.
Don’t fall for the auto myths; take the facts as I give them out freely.
Find out more about me here.