Honestly, there are no fixed rules about how long a tire changing can take place. It depends on many variables. Are you doing it by yourself? Is this the first time? Or which auto service do you usually go to?
Sometimes the timing relies on the lugs and nuts. If they are jammed, the mechanic might require more time.
So, how long does a tire change take in general? On an average term, each tire will take about half-hour to an hour. Like we have mentioned, a lot of factors play in motion to set the replacement.
We will tell you more about this based on vehicle type, car service, and DIY process in the sections below.
Tire Changing Procedure in Service Centers
If you read how the specialists proceed to change tires, you might better understand the duration per vehicle.
a) Lift the Car
Whether it is a small or large vehicle like an SUV, it has to go up, hanging by the lifting mechanisms for the mechanic to work from below.
Therefore, the first thing your car will have to go through is being raised from the platform. It allows the person to examine all the irregularities underneath. He/she can give a full inspection without using a car jack.
b) Remove the Lug Nuts
When a person is changing the tire, he/she might not always have the right size of the tools. However, it is entirely different in a professional service area.
There are collections of plenty of tools to remove lug nuts no matter how stubbornly they are tightened. Ratchets or wrenches are tools with such different sizes and models.
Even a tire iron will be there, even if it takes a heck of an effort.
In any case, the next step will require removing the lug nuts after the inspection. If you consider one tire a car, it might not take much time. But to replace four wheels of one vehicle is a different story.
The person will carefully loosen and remove the lug nuts and proceed to take out the tire.
c) Remove the Tire
Here he/she will deflate the tire of any air via valve core. Next, get rid of the tire from the rim using a tire removing machine.
This also takes some time because it involves a few steps to disengage entirely without damaging the rim lip. In the end, the rim will be free to reuse again with a new tire.
d) Install New Tire
Utilizing a similar tire removing machine, the professional will install the new tire to the rim. But first, there are some things to do – greasing the rim, removing the weights, adding new valves, etc.
Lubrication is a must-have step that can ease the removal and installation of the tire to a rim. Anyhow, you will now see how each tire will be inflated and ready to test.
e) Test for Proper Balance
The specialists will then check each tire for balance. It is a very vital procedure that can take either minutes or an hour!
There is a balancing machine that shows the specialists any abnormality in the balance of each tire. If the weight and alignment do not match, the person will work on it until the vehicle is perfectly stable.
Even if it is an individual tire replacement, it will require equal alignment to the rest. So one has to make sure the new ones do not wobble on the road due to speed shifts.
After the final testing comes the relocking of the lug nuts. The mechanic will mount the wheels to the axles and tighten the nuts.
f) Final Inspection
Here the specialists will, once again, check on the tire balance and make sure all the four wheels have equal pressure. Each vehicle might vary in this manner, so the person will implement whichever pressure is instructed for each car manual.
Lastly, another machine will come in view to test the alignments upon lowering the vehicle. Remember, this step is also another crucial factor that determines the lifespan of the tires.
Failing to align properly will cause early tread wearing so, the specialists will take extra care; hence, more time. They will move on to inspect the rims/valves for possible leakage.
Some service centers even test drive the vehicle in the vicinity to ensure orderly perfection before handing it over to you.
Why Some Centers Take Hours
Have you been waiting for more than an hour for a single tire change? As baffling as it seems, consider from the center’s perspective before judging the service. Here are a few reasons why some vehicles take hours during tire changes.
i) Vehicle Type
A vehicle can be a van, a car, an SUV, or even a truck.
Each automobile necessitates extra care and various inspection before changing a tire. That is one part of the duration. Next comes the unlocking and locking of the lug nuts.
We do not know what kind of terrain each vehicle has driven over. There could be mud, rust, filth, etc., which extends the removal timing.
Some vehicles have stubborn nuts, while others loosen within a minute. Besides, each vehicle has its own operating guide to follow by the specialists. So time can vary from one unit to other.
The contrast between an experienced professional to a newly joined also plays a significant role.
ii) Busy Day
Is it taking too long? Do you wonder that it was not like this before? You are probably right. The workshop you frequent once may have provided service within an hour.
However, over the years/months, it continued to grow and began delaying the timing. Why is that? Think from the service center’s perspective.
The more they are hooked with appointments, the more each customer has to wait for their turn. Besides, most small workshops contain one or two car lifts. It eliminates prompt operations.
Moreover, the staffs get busy, and even if they wish to change tires with rocket-like speed, it is impossible.
Whether it is a large service center or a local, small workshop, you will have to wait your turn patiently.
Sometimes if such centers are teeming with customers, you can assume they provide thorough services that had them gain popularity.
iii) Issues with Alignments
Even if tire changing gets done within the timeline, there remains the alignment problem. Not all tires are inflated accurately, so the staff members have to go through the process several times while testing and checking.
You might find it frustrating to wait, but the service is merely minimizing the danger for you to drive without accidents.
iv) Issues with Rims
Maybe the issues are with the rims. They can get jammed too. In that case, it will take some time to disengage from the tire. The cause of such blocking is rust or stiff lug nuts.
v) Issues with Tires
Imagine driving to a service shop with a flat tire. Can you believe the damage it does to the rims? In this scenario, the mechanics will have to do everything manually to remove and install a new tire.
Some wheels might even require new screws. So that is another extra hour or two for the vehicle.
Plus, there is a leakage problem that they will have to inspect after the complete installation.
Tire Changing Procedure When Stranded
A flat tire can occur any time of the day and night on a drive. So the driver will have to prepare for the worst. But, if you have the spare tire and tools in the car, there is a silver lining on the horizon!
Tools to keep in a Vehicle
You do not have to be a pro mechanic for this basic task. However, all motorists need to hone this skill.
These are the tools one should always keep in the vehicle – a spare tire, car jack, a piece of 2×6 inch wood, wheel wedges, lug wrench, and the vehicle’s operating manual.
Furthermore, whether you are a female or a male, it is going to require a lot of strength and determination from your end.
Since it can happen even during the night, it is best to store a flashlight, raincoat, or gloves in advance, too.
How to Change the Tire
- The first thing you ought to do is slowly drive to one side of flat ground, use the parking brake, and turn on the flashers. They are known as hazard lights as well; it allows other drivers to slow down and pass by without difficulty.
- Now put the wheel wedges to the front of the wheels if the rear wheel is flat. Place the wedges on the rear wheels if changing the front tire. You can even utilize large bricks if wedges are unavailable.
- Take the lug wrench and loosen the nuts of the flat tire. Use the car jack underneath the car and raise the area at least 5 to 6 inches from the ground. Now you can remove the lug nuts and then the tire. You have to pull it hard, though.
- Lastly, install the new tire and screw the lug bolts securely. Lower the vehicle via the jack, do this step without hurrying. Now inspect your work before heading off to the destination.
The overall operation might take an hour to two, depending on the vehicle state, weather, location, and condition.
The bottom line is the timeline of thirty-minute per tire can differ based on many factors. These issues extend the duration to even 3 to 4 hours, including the waiting line.
However, if you are changing the tire by yourself and have the tools within reach, you can do it within an hour. Of course, it depends on how experienced you are.
Timing is crucial but what is vital is safe conduct. Nothing is more important than safe alignment. So take your time and implement a thorough job no matter how long it takes. Thanks for staying with us!