Nearly every car or truck owner has to get a tire changed at some point – whether the tire goes flat or loses tread. In this article, I’ll describe how long it takes to change a tire by yourself or at a tire center.
How long does it take to change a tire?
The time it takes to change a tire by yourself depends on your vehicle model, as well as the location and conditions of where you are changing it. If you are well experienced, it can take only 5 to 10 minutes to change a tire. If you are not too experienced, it likely will take around 15 to 20 minutes.
The time it takes a professional mechanic or tire center to change a tire depends on your vehicle model, its specific process, and how busy it is. At most tire centers, it will take around 45 minutes for your tire to be changed. The time it takes for a tire change at different popular U.S. tire centers are as follows:
- Costco – 45 minutes to 2 hours
- Walmart – 45 minutes to 4 hours
- Pep Boys – 45 minutes to 1 hour
The time can vary greatly depending on how busy the center is.
The time it takes for a Formula 1 pit crew team to change all four tires on one of their race cars is a lightning-fast 2 to 4 seconds! The record is an incredible 1.88 seconds.
Read on and learn more about how long it takes to change a car or truck tire, whether DIY or in tire service centers.
How Long Does It Take to Change a Tire?
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that approximately 9 percent of car accidents are tire-related. When the tire tread depth is already very low, it’s time to change the tire. According to tire manufacturers, you should change tires every six years.
So even if you don’t get a flat tire, it is important to get your tires changed when the tread gets low, or every six years.
Changing a tire is actually a straightforward task, which means that it should not take very long. If you have the right tools and have adequate strength, you can do it yourself in less than 15 minutes per tire. In other words, you can change and replace all four tires in less than an hour.
However, it’s quite different when you ask a tire service shop to do it. At a tire shop, the whole job can be completed in just 30 minutes to as long as 4 hours. This duration is based on actual customer experiences.
If you’re the only customer, the tire should be changed in less than an hour. But if there’s a long line of cars before you come in, prepare yourself for the long haul.
For professional car racers, who need to change all four of their tires during their pit stops, the whole thing will be over in just 4 seconds. Their mechanics have to be fast because they are in a race. But we are mere mortals, so we have to settle for far less than that – at least 15 minutes per tire.
How Long Does It Take to Change a Tire at Costco?
If you are going to Costco for a complete four-tire change, be prepared to spend at least 45 minutes to 2 hours. The huge discrepancy in time takes into account the workload of the service staff in the tire shop.
If your car is lucky to be the first in line, you will quickly get through the process. But if there are several cars ahead of you, the best time you can finish is 2 hours.
But there are limitations to what Costco can do for your tires. Here are some of their limitations:
- Costco will only install tires that you have purchased from them.
- They will not install UTV tires if you use them on city streets.
- Costco only installs trailer tires if you can show them documentation indicating the wheel torque specification from the manufacturer of the trailer.
- They will only install loose trailer tires with the same size as those currently installed on the wheels.
- Costco will not install ATV and golf cart tires.
- They will only install tires that are authorized by vehicle manufacturers.
For new tires, the per tire installation charge at Costco is $18.99. Included in the installation are the following:
- Tire balancing (lifetime service)
- Rotation (lifetime service)
- Flat tire repair (lifetime service)
- Air pressure checks (lifetime service)
- New rubber valve stem
- Costco Wholesale’s Road Hazard Warranty
If you order a tire at Costco, it will arrive at your local Costco representative within 5 to 10 days. They will let you know either by email or phone. You are given up to 14 days to have it installed in your car.
How Long Does It Take to Change a Tire at Walmart?
Some industry observers claim that if you go to Walmart to change your tires, be prepared to spend around 4 hours. In reality, it only takes about 10 to 15 minutes per tire. So, it should only be around one hour for all tires–that is, if you are the only customer in the tire shop.
So, if it will take you 4 hours to do it at Walmart, that means this place is super busy with customers lining up to have their tires changed. If this is the case, their tire services must be superb for customers who are willing to wait that long to be served.
If the tire center is not too busy, you will probably spend about as much time as you will spend in other tire service centers, which is around 45 minutes to an hour to change all four of your tires.
The installation fee per tire at Walmart is very low, at $12. Included in the deal are the following:
- New valve stems
- Lifetime balance
- Tire rotation after every 7,500 miles
- Lug re-torque after the first 50 miles
If you have a club membership, they will charge you $15 per tire change. The service fee is a bit higher because it includes the following:
- New valve stems
- Lifetime balancing and tire rotation
- Flat repair
- Waste tire disposal
- Road hazard protection
How Long Does a Tire Change Take at Pep Boys
The average time it takes to change tires at Pep Boys is approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour. It takes that long to change tires in this shop because of their tire replacement procedures. The process involves the following steps:
Your car is driven to the service bay. It is placed on a mount that will lift it off the ground.
The technician will loosen the tire lug nuts on each wheel. He will start with the left front tire and move counterclockwise until he has loosened all the tire lugs on the four tires. Next, he will remove the wheels from the car.
The technician will unscrew the valve stem cores or TPMS cores of the four tires. This step will release the air inside the tires.
The technician will remove all the wheel weights (if there are any) in all four tires. He will install new valve stems or TPMS component kits in all tires. Next, he will mount the new tires onto the wheel. He will inflate all the tires with the correct air pressure. Then, he will put each wheel into the wheel balancing machine to balance each wheel.
The technician will install all the wheels on the car. He will use an air gun and torque shaft to minimize the torque applied to the wheel. Next, he will lower the mount so that the wheels barely touch the ground. He will use a torque wrench to apply the right torque to the wheels.
As their customary practice, the technician will give the car a visual inspection to see if other issues need to be corrected.
He will recommend wheel alignment to the owner. This step will ensure that the new wheels will not wear out prematurely or unevenly.
For your convenience, Pep Boys will advise you to schedule the tire installation on the same day that you will buy the tires. They offer lifetime tire rotations, free tread wear mileage warranty, air-pressure checks, and other treats to ensure that your tires are always safe.
How Long Does It Take to Change a Tire by Yourself?
If you have adequate handyman skills or are adept at the most common tools used in car repairs, you can change all four tires in your car. You will be able to save money and schedule it on your own time. There will be no waiting time. You can save the service fee and add it to the amount that you have budgeted for the new tires.
How long does it take to change a flat tire or old tire all by yourself? With all the right tools, you can easily change an old tire with a new one in just 10 to 15 minutes. So, it will only take you as much as 1 hour to do the whole thing.
Follow the steps below:
Change your tire on a stable, flat, and safe surface. To most car owners, the best place is in the garage. Don’t change tires in an inclined plane.
Make sure to secure the car so that it won’t move. Pull the parking brake and put the car on first gear. Place wooden blocks or wedges on the three other wheels to control them so they won’t move.
Loosen the lug nuts on all the wheels that you need to change.
Get a jack and raise the first wheel that you are going to change. Remove the lug nuts and the wheel.
Install the new wheel and put the lug nuts and tighten them by hand.
Lower the jack and make sure to tighten the lug nuts firmly.
Repeat the same process to remove and replace the other three tires.
Changing each tire will only take you around 10 to 15 minutes.
Please take note of the following tips when replacing and changing tires by yourself:
- New tires should be installed on balanced wheels.
- Additionally, all the wheels should be aligned. The tires should also be rotated at regular intervals.
These procedures will ensure that your tires will wear out evenly. If you don’t have the equipment or expertise to do these procedures, you should contact a tire service shop to do them for you. Wheel alignment and tire balancing are some of the processes that most DIYers cannot do themselves.
The Future of Tire Changing
Even the work of changing tires is being revolutionized by modern technology. There will come a time that tire-changing robots will perform this job. In fact, these days, robots perform wheel mounting in most modern car manufacturing plants.
A technology innovator has already invented a robot that could change tires in a fraction of the time it would take most mechanics. This idea became possible with the invention of Victor Darolfi.
Darolfi was ruminating at America’s Tire for three hours and thought about how robots can put tires in the car factory. Darolfi thought about deploying robots in the tire service sector.
This idea led him to establish RoboTire, a robotics company in the Bay Area. The robot that his company developed can change car tires faster than most mechanics can. Darolfi claims that the robot can “do a set of four tires” from put in to pull out in a matter of 10 minutes.
That’s considerably faster than the average 45 minutes to one hour of what the most popular tire service shops can do. “Some experienced mechanics can go faster,” Darolfi says. “But they won’t be able to continuously change tires at that speed for 8 hours,” he added.
Mitsubishi Robotics has shown interest and is now partnering with RoboTire. The company designed a system that costs $250,000. This system will be licensed to dealers, outlets, and service centers. Early birds will be able to charge about $5 to $7 per tire. When the product is formally launched, the fee is projected to increase to about $10 to $15 per tire.
Darolfi plans to assemble and produce systems in Detroit, the place where he comes from. There is an abundance of manufacturing and automotive talent in this state but has a shortage of job opportunities.
Conclusion – How Long Does a Tire Change Take?
So, to recap, how long does a tire change take? On average, it will take approximately 45 minutes to one hour. However, it also depends on the tire service center that you will go to and how busy they are at the time you come in.
The time it takes to change a tire by yourself depends on your vehicle model, as well as the location and conditions of where you are changing it. It can take only 5 to 10 minutes to change a tire if you are experienced. It likely would take around 15 to 20 minutes if you are not too experienced.
At most tire centers, it will take around 45 minutes for your tire to be changed. The time a tire change at different popular U.S. tire centers is as follows:
- Costco – 45 minutes to 2 hours
- Walmart – 45 minutes to 4 hours
- Pep Boys – 45 minutes to 1 hour