Even though tire rotation and balancing are two different processes, they should be done together if you want to extend the life of your tires. The best time to do that is when you take your car for an oil change or after covering 6,000 to 8,000 miles (9,656 to 12,875 kilometers). So, how much does tire rotation and balance cost?
The cost of the average tire rotation and balance ranges between $70 and $100 for all four wheels. Most of the cost is labor, but other factors, such as the car’s make or model, mechanic shops, and other services offered, can also affect the total cost.
In this article, I’ll break down the costs of rotating and balancing tires separately, how each process is carried out, and tips for saving money on costs. To find out more, keep reading.
How Much Does Tire Rotation Cost?
When you rotate your tires, it simply means moving them from their current position to a new position. You can move the front tires to the back or swap the right tires for the left, or vice versa. It’s just a simple change of position. So, what is the cost?
The average tire rotation cost is between $25 and $50 when done in a service station. The rates are also determined by where you take your vehicle. Therefore, the cost is mostly labor. So, if you can rotate your tires yourself, it can cost just a few dollars for the equipment or nothing at all.
However, some vehicles, such as the Tesla Model Y, might cost between $100 and $200 or more to rotate the tires. To save money, combine tire rotation with other services, or do it yourself.
How To Rotate Your Tires: A Step-by-Step Guide?
Tire rotation is a simple task that most people can perform on their own. Does it sound tricky or complicated already? Don’t worry; keep reading to learn how simple it is.
Here is how you can rotate your tires in 6 quick steps:
- Have the proper tools.
- Identify the rotation pattern.
- Set the parking brake and turn off your car’s engine.
- Loosen the nuts and jack up the vehicle.
- Remove the tires one by one and rotate them.
- Tighten the nuts.
Let’s get into the details.
1. Have the Proper Tools
It would be best to have a jack, and at least four jack stands to speed up the process. Make sure you have a torque wrench to tighten the wheels to the manufacturer’s specifications.
- Four jack stands
- Lug wrench
- Torque wrench
If you have all of these tools, the whole process will only take you about 20 to 30 minutes.
2. Identify the Rotation Pattern
The next crucial step is to check the recommended rotation pattern for your vehicle. Consult your owner’s manual or make a quick internet search based on your type of car to determine which rotation pattern to use.
- Directional tires: This type moves in one direction, where the front tire is rotated with the same side back tire. It would be best if you also changed tires of the same size.
- Non-directional tires: It depends on whether your vehicle is a front or rear-wheel drive. The front tires move diagonally to the back for a front-wheel-drive and vice versa. While for rear-wheel drive, the front tires move straight to the back and vice versa.
Is the rotation pattern getting on your nerves? Here is a quick YouTube video from RevMatchTV on properly rotating your tires.
3. Set the Parking Brake and Turn Off Your Car’s Engine
Now that the theory is out of the way, it’s time to get down to business. Make sure your car is on a level and smooth surface and that your front tires are pointing straight ahead, then set the parking brake to balance it. You may also want to block the wheels. Then, turn off your engine and remove the key out of the ignition.
4. Loosen the Nuts and Jack Up the Vehicle
While the car is on the ground, loosen the nuts on the wheels with a lug wrench. It’s a lot easier than when the vehicle is suspended in mid-air. However, don’t remove the nuts just yet.
Then, jack up the car and place it on jack stands to support the vehicle mid-air. Consult your owner’s manual to determine where the jacks should go if you don’t know how to jack. You can do both sides simultaneously or one wheel at a time. Finally, remove the wheel nuts.
5. Remove the Tires One by One and Rotate Them
Finish removing the tires and rotate them using the information in step 2 (rotation pattern). After that, put the tires back on and tighten the lug nuts by hand as much as possible. Raise your vehicle using the jack to remove the jack stands. Then slowly lower the car back down onto its wheels.
6. Tighten the Nuts
Lastly, you’ll want to tighten the nuts. It would help if you used a torque wrench according to the instructions in the owner’s manual to tighten each wheel nut to avoid the risk of warping the brake rotor. Also, tighten the locking wheel nut.
Finally, inspect each tire for air pressure if you have an air pressure gauge. Tires with the proper air pressure last longer and keep vehicles safe.
How Much Does Tire Balancing Cost?
Tire balancing is another approach to increasing your tires’ life. This process is typically done by a mechanic because it requires a specific balancing machine. The process ensures that weight is evenly distributed within the tire or the wheel on which it’s mounted. How much does it cost?
The average cost of tire balancing is between $30 and $100 for all four wheels. The exact cost of the service is dictated by your vehicle’s make and model, the type of tires on your car, and the mechanic shop you visit.
Unfortunately, you can only perform tire balancing yourself if you have access to the tire machine, usually found in tire shops. The good news is that it’s frequently done in conjunction with other services, so there’s no need to be concerned.
Here are 10 steps on how a mechanic balances tires.
- Engage the parking gear and turn off the engine.
- Remove the tires using the same tire rotation process involving a jack, jack stands, and a lug wrench.
- Remove any extra weights from the wheels.
- Place the tire on the wheel balancing machine and ensure it’s centered.
- Spin the wheel for about 10-15 seconds. The mechanic uses vibration measures to identify the right spots and add weights to counter the tire’s imbalance.
- Repeat this process for the other three tires.
- Remount all the wheels to the car and tighten the nuts by hand.
- Raise the vehicle using the jack to remove the jack stands.
- Lower the car back down using the jack.
- Tighten all the nuts using a torque wrench.
5 Tips To Cut the Cost of Tire Rotation and Balancing
Consider these tips to save money on tire rotation and balance costs.
- Combine tire rotation and balancing: You’ve probably noticed that rotating and balancing tires one at a time is quite costly. So, it would be best if you combined the two processes to save on costs and extend the life of your tires.
- Check for discounts and other services: You can go for tire rotation and balancing every six to twelve months during an oil change. Additionally, check for deals because many tire repair shops offer tire rotation and balancing as incentives and a lifetime warranty if you purchase and have your new tires installed at their shops.
- Perform after every 5,000 to 10,000 miles (8,047 to 16,093 kilometers): You should rotate and balance your tires every 5,000 to 10,000 miles (8,047 to 16,093 kilometers), or once a year.
- Pay attention to the signs: Don’t wait until all the tires are worn out before rotating or balancing. Check some of the symptoms that include uneven tire wear, poor gas mileage, steering wheel vibrations, and frequent loss of air pressure.
- Save on replacement costs: If you don’t rotate and balance your tires often, you’ll be forced to replace them with new tires. A single tire can cost anywhere from $50 to $200, making it more expensive than tire rotation and balancing costs.
Rotating and balancing your tires at least once a year will extend the lifetime of your tires. It also improves road safety by preventing your car from slipping or skidding due to worn treads.
These services can be done simultaneously at a tire shop for about $70 to $100 depending on the car, tires, and where the service is done. You can also rotate your tires yourself if you have the proper tools and follow the step-by-step guide above.