How long does it take to get the tires changed?
Well, to answer truthfully, between 40 minutes and an hour, at most. This mostly depends on how big the wheel is, how experienced the respective mechanic, and the most impactful, how packed that certain tire shop is. You can wait a bit until you get your turn, because if it takes 30 minutes to an hour to change all 4 tires, if there are 4 cars in front of you and only a mechanic on the shift, you can expect to wait a bit.
Apart from this timeframe, the time it takes to change the tires themselves is around 10 to 15 minutes per tire at most. Now, if you have a huge truck with very big wheels this time can raise quite steeply, but it still depends on the mechanic. If you have 22” wheels and you have the luck (or misfortune) to get a mechanic which weighs around 140 lbs and is 5’6” tall, you can expect that they’ll need a bit of time to move those heavy wheels from point A to point B. If you have double wheels on said axle, this time frame can also raise due to the having more tires which needs replaced.
But now you may wonder, what’s the procedure anyway? Does it really take 10 minutes per tire? Well, let’s have a look and analyze the whole process. We won’t go into why you even decided that the tires need changing, so we’ll just look at the process itself.
1.The mechanic will make you pull inside the garage, around a ramp, or in an open area near their shop, or take the car themselves and move it where they please
By doing so they will lift the car on an elevator or jack. Some fancier shops have big elevators which will raise your car in the air, others have simple crocodile jacks to raise each side at a time. So, they’ll just move the car and raise it/jack it up. This process takes around 3 minutes, if even those.
2.The mechanic will start removing the wheels
Every tire shop has an impact wrench, which will make short work of however many lug nuts you have. It takes that gun 3-4 seconds at most per lug nut. So, if you have a wheel which has 6 lugs, it takes the mechanic a grand total of 24 seconds per tire. It might take a bit more time to unscrew the wheels from high performance models, because they might have a single lug nut and the mechanic might need something else to unscrew it.
Each mechanic has their own way of doing things. Some may remove all the wheels at once, or all the wheels from that side, or a single wheel at a time. Regardless of how they do it, the whole process of removing the wheels takes another 4 minutes at most, while assuming a minute per wheel for the whole demounting phase.
3.The mechanic will move the tire to a special tire machine which will remove the tire
This machine has some sort of paddle or shovel, if you will, which will press itself in-between the tire and the rim, right around that edge. Before all this though, the mechanic will remove the valve stem, the stem which keeps the air inside the tire. The tire will start to deflate until it runs out of air. After that, this shovel from the tire machine wedges itself in between the tire. The mechanic will do it 4 times or more until the tire is free from the rim.
After the tire is free from the rim, but not off the rim, the mechanic will raise that tire on top of their special tire machine. This machine will lock the rim into itself so the wheel itself is stuck. A big threaded arm will swing by and be placed by the mechanic just outside the rim and near the tire’s edge.
The mechanic will take a prybar and swing the tire’s sidewall over that arm’s end. The arm’s end has a stainless-steel head designed specifically for removing and installing tires. After the sidewall is over that rod’s stainless-steel head, the machine will slowly remove the tire and you’ll see that the tire starts getting off its rim. This process is repeated once slightly differently so the tire’s completely off the rim. Whole process takes at most 3 minutes.
4.The mechanic will place in the new tire and mount it on the rim
Basically, all they’re going to do is reverse the process they did before, with the added caveat that they will rub a black lubricant across the sidewall’s lip, right near the rim. That’s done so the tire is easy to mount. After that the tire is loosely on the rim. To fully mount it, the mechanic will inflate the tire, just enough so the tire is fitted properly. They’ll remove that rim lock, screw the stem back in, and inflate the tire to the correct air pressure. Another 3 minutes.
5.The mechanic will take the tire off the machine and bring it to their wheel balancer machine
They’ll roll the tire to that machine, which is basically an electric motor that will spin the wheel and check for wobbles. They’ll mount the wheel, run the machine once, the machine will tell the mechanic where the wheel wobbles. After a test is done, the mechanic will add weights to the rim to balance the wheel. Run the test again until the wheel is wobble free. This whole process lasts a minute per wheel.
6.The mechanic will mount your wheel back on
They’ll take that wheel of the machine and simply mount it back on. This time the mechanic will need a bit more, because the lug nuts should be tightened at the end by hand. An impact wrench would tighten them too hard, so by tightening them by hand you know you can also undo them by hand. A minute and 30 seconds per wheel.
That’s how long it takes for an experienced mechanic to change a wheel: around 9 minutes per wheel, so let’s assume 10 minutes. As such, 40 minutes in total for a complete wheel change. If you have a regular car, it shouldn’t take more than an hour.