The Average Cost of Changing a Tire
Everyone knows that having a flat tire is absolutely no fun. It’s a pain in the neck, it is inconvenient, it is costly, and at the very least, it will cost you about 20 minutes of your time -- and at most can totally derail a trip.
Being properly prepared for this fairly common emergency can save you a lot of money in the short and long-term. If you have all of the tools you need, including a spare tire than changing a tire will only cost you the price of the tire -- which is typically around $100 for a standard new tire. Most new and used cars come standard with a jack and a lug wrench, the two most important tools that you will need (other than a new tire!) should you choose to AAA.
If you are not prepared or can’t be bothered to change the tire yourself -- or if you have a larger vehicle than a standard car -- it’s definitely going to cost you more.
The Cost of the Tire Itself: $20-200+
Tire prices can vary dramatically, depending on what type of tire you need. If you simply need a gently used standard car tire, you might be able to pay as little as $20 or less for the new tire. But, if you prefer a new tire, it will likely cost you about $100 -- or up to $200 or more if it’s a large tire for a pickup truck or SUV.
According to Tim Haynes of Direct Tire & Auto, a standard 15-inch tire will be the most affordable option, and the larger the diameter, the higher the price. A 20-inch tire could be double or more in price.
The Cost of Changing a Tire: $0-100+
If you purchase a tire from a reputable auto shop, the cost of replacing the tire is generally built into what they charge you for the tire itself. That being said, you will definitely pay a premium if someone is changing your tire for you.
Of course, the cheapest method of changing a tire is knowing how to change a tire yourself. If you know how to change a tire, all you will need is the tire itself, a jack, a lug wrench, and a few minutes of patience.
If you have AAA or another roadside assistance program, then changing a flat tire is likely included in the cost of your membership. Just make sure that you are in a safe place while you wait for assistance to reach you, and know that they could tow you to a repair shop rather than changing your tire on the fly, setting you slightly out of your way. Oftentimes, the cheapest repair shop (or the one preferred by your roadside assistance organization) could be up to 50 miles away -- make sure to check your specific policy.
Miscellaneous Tools to Change a Tire: $0-330
Generally, most of the tools you need to change a tire are included when you purchase a vehicle. In addition to the spare tire, the jack for your car, and the lug wrench, it is helpful to also have wheel wedges and a tire pressure checker. From a quick check on Amazon, if you don’t have these items, a jack for your car can cost between $35 and $150, a lug wrench will cost about $10 to $25, wheel wedges will set you back $10 to $25, and a tire pressure gauge will cost about $10 to $30. Of course, in a pinch, you could also use a stone or a brick for a tire wedge, which in most cases will be free.
Cost of Your Time: Priceless
Of course, the biggest variable in this whole equation is whether or not you are willing to change the tire yourself. If you are willing to take the time to learn how to properly change a tire, then you can save a lot of time and money in the long run. It is a fairly straightforward process and is not that difficult once you get the hang of it.
But if you find yourself without the necessary supplies, or do not feel like learning how to change a tire yourself, then it will certainly cost you several hundred dollars to change a tire.