Formula 1 pit crew teams can change all 4 tires in a matter of seconds (the record is 1.88 seconds), but it is entirely different when it comes to regular cars.
If you’ll change tires yourself, it’ll generally take you 10 to 30 minutes per tire, depending on your skill level. That comes down to between 40 minutes to 2 hours for changing all 4 tires. At Costco, a 4-tire change generally takes around an hour, while at Walmart it’s usually 10-15 minutes per tire if there’s no queue.
If you want to get it done at Pep Boys, be ready to spare between 45 minutes and 1 hour. Another good option is Firestone, where you’ll finish everything in 45 minutes, but I recommend setting an appointment beforehand. After a tire change, you’ll need to make sure that the wheels are aligned properly.
Almost all car and truck drivers will need to change their tires by themselves at some point, and that’s why you should have the appropriate tools and know how to use them.
On the other hand, the time it takes a tire center or a professional mechanic to replace a tire depends on your car model and how busy they are at the moment. Most tire centers will take 45 minutes to change all 4 of your tires, but that may vary based on how many mechanics are available and the existing queue.
Table of Contents
- The Importance of Changing Your Tires
- How Long Does It Take to Change Tires at Costco?
- How Long Does It Take to Change Tires at Walmart?
- How Long Does It Take to Change Tires at Pep Boys?
- How Long Does It Take to Change Tires at Firestone?
- How Long Does It Take to Change Tires by Yourself?
- Do You Need a Wheel Alignment with New Tires?
The Importance of Changing Your Tires
According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 9% of all car accidents are tire-related. Tire manufacturers recommend changing your tires at least every 5 to 6 years. Make sure to change your tire when the tire tread depth gets low.
Old or worn tires can lead to various issues. Worn-down tire treads can cause a compromised road grip. When a tire blowout happens, your car may slow down abruptly because the blown-out tire won’t be able to roll normally. At high speeds or on busy roads, tire blowouts can cause serious accidents.
How Long Does It Take to Change Tires at Costco?
If you decide to go to your nearest Costco to get a four-tire or a single-tire change, be ready to spend between 45 minutes and 2 hours once you arrive there. The time you spend there will depend on the workload of the staff in their tire shop.
If you get lucky enough to be the first one in line, the whole thing will be finished quickly within half an hour. However, if there are several vehicles in front of you, you’ll stay there up to 2 hours, sometimes even a bit longer.
Before you head to your local Costco to change your tires, you should know that they only install tires that you bought from them. Also, you can only install tires that are authorized by your car’s manufacturer, so no off-spec tire installation is possible at Costco.
Their installation charge per tire is just under $20 (currently it’s $18.99). This includes mounting, lifetime rotation, lifetime balancing, lifetime air pressure checks, lifetime flat repair, new rubber valve stem, and Costco Wholesale’s Road Hazard Warranty.
After you order a new tire at Costco, it should arrive within 5 to 10 days. When it arrives, they will notify you via email or phone. From that moment, you will have 2 weeks to go there and have it installed.
How Long Does It Take to Change Tires at Walmart?
Changing tires at your local Walmart should take 10 to 15 minutes per tire. However, it can happen that you come at a busy time. If the place is very busy with many customers lining up to get their car tires changed, you might have to wait up to 4 hours, but those situations are somewhat rare.
The basic installation fee at Walmart is cheaper than at Costco and it’s only $15 per tire. This includes mounting, lifetime balance, new valve stems, 50-mile lug re-torque, and tire rotation every 7,500 miles.
If you have bought your tires elsewhere and want to have them installed at Walmart, you’ll still be able to get the same basic installation, but you’ll have to pay an additional fee of $10 per tire. That means you’ll be looking at a total of $100 for four tires.
Keep in mind that if you want to get their road hazard protection warranty, you’ll need to pay a bit more. This offer is available only for tires bought at Walmart.
How Long Does It Take to Change Tires at Pep Boys?
The average time it takes to change your tires at Pep Boys is between 45 minutes and 1 hour.
This automotive service chain has a specific tire replacement procedure that consists of several steps.
When your car arrives at the service bay, it will be placed on a mount and lifted from the ground. Next, a technician will begin to loosen the tire car lugs on the wheels before removing them from your car.
After that, the technician will release the air inside the tires by unscrewing the TPMS or valve stem cores. Once that has been done, the wheel weights will be removed and new TPMS component kits or valve stems will be installed.
The technician will mount new tires onto the wheels and inflate them. Then the wheels will be balanced.
After the wheels have been balanced, the technician will minimize the torque using an air gun and torque shaft. The technician will then lower the mount and apply the right torque.
Pep Boys technicians will always give your car a quick inspection and tell you if they notice some other issues. They’ll also recommend wheel alignment based on their inspection.
They also offer free treadwear mileage warranty, air pressure checks, and lifetime tire rotations.
Pep Boys’ price of around $30 per tire is on the higher side, but for many people, it’s worth it considering the overall quality of service they provide. Also, if you buy a tire at Pep Boys, you can schedule the tire installation on the very same day.
How Long Does It Take to Change Tires at Firestone?
If you want to change your car tires at Firestone, I suggest making an appointment beforehand, as they promise to service your vehicle at the appointed time. If they fail to do so, you’ll get a 10% discount for your next visit.
Their customer reviews indicate that some people had to wait up to 5 hours. However, if you set an appointment or get lucky enough to be the first one in line, you’ll finish everything in less than 45 minutes.
When it comes to the price of their services, it tends to vary based on region, retailer, tire size, and other factors.
How Long Does It Take to Change Tires by Yourself?
If you’re adept at using the most common tools for a tire change, you can change all 4 tires on your car without going to a tire center. This way, you’ll save your valuable time and do it whenever you want.
With the right equipment, you can replace an old tire with a new one in about 10 to 20 minutes. But if you’ve never done it before or you’re just a beginner, it might take you 30 minutes or more per tire.
In order to do this on your own, you’ll need the following: an inflated spare tire, a lug wrench, a carjack, wheel wedges, alignment studs, and an extension bar. Work gloves and a wheel lock may also come in handy.
How to Change Your Car’s Tires Yourself – DIY Guide
This is how the process should look like:
Step 1: Park your car on a flat and safe surface so that it won’t roll or get in the way of other cars.
Step 2: Secure the car by moving the gear shift to the neutral position, pulling up the hand brake, and placing the wedges or wooden blocks against the tires.
Step 3: Take your lug wrench and twist it to the left to loosen the lug nuts.
Step 4: Raise the car by approximately 6 inches above the ground and remove the lug nuts.
Step 5: Remove the old tire.
Step 6: Place the new tire, put the lug nuts, and tighten them by hand.
Step 7: Lower the car down, use the wrench to tighten the lug nuts more, and then remove the carjack.
Do You Need a Wheel Alignment with New Tires?
Although it’s not mandatory, making sure that all the wheels are aligned properly is important. Misaligned tires cause additional wear on the treads, so that way you’ll need to get a new set of tires sooner.
Also, having aligned tires will make your every drive smoother. If your tires are out of alignment, there’s uneven pressure on them, which can cause your tires to work much harder than they actually need to.
How long it will take you to change all four tires or a single one on your car depends on the place you’ll visit and how busy they are at that time. However, if you decide to replace them by yourself, it’ll depend on your experience and some other conditions.
At the majority of tire centers, it takes about 45 minutes to replace all four tires. If you do it on your own, it should take you anywhere between 10 and 30 minutes per tire. But keep in mind that changing your tires at tire centers usually comes with some nice perks.