How Much Should It Cost to Install New Tires?

Auto repairman installing tires on car
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The price of tires and the price of having them installed has changed dramatically over the years as regulations have changed and the tires and wheels themselves have become more complicated. The phasing out in some states of lead wheel weights, the introduction of tire pressure monitoring systems, and the lust for larger rims have made some tires more expensive and installation more time-consuming.

As an example of what to expect, we priced out a set of 15-inch tires for a typical family vehicle at Tom Lyons Tire, a chain that consistently offers fair prices and high-quality service. Bear in mind that if you have larger rims, fancier tires like run-flats, or rims that require a rare tire size, the prices you pay for just about everything will be greater than those in this example.

Here is what having four Bridgestone Ecopias installed on our vehicle with complete service would cost:

Tires: $400
Mounting and Balancing: $60
Valve Stems: $12
Tire Disposal: $16
Protection Plan: $48
Alignment: $90

Total: $626

Mounting and Balancing

Expect to pay: $13 to $45 dollars per tire industry-wide, depending on the size of the tire. Mounting (installing tires on to the rims) and balancing (adding weights to make sure the wheel weighs the same all around) varies widely for cars, SUVs, and light trucks, and is highly dependent on the size of the tire.

Some vendors charge by the aspect ratio and others simply by the diameter. Regardless, the larger the rim, the higher the price will be for mounting and balancing—both because the labor involved is greater and because larger wheels generally require more weights.

We’d pay: $15 for mounting and balancing each tire.

Our tires are a small, standard size and they are not run-flats.

Valve Stems

Expect to pay:

Most vehicles prior to 2007: $2 to $5 each for new standard rubber valve stems. It is good policy to replace valve stems whenever you replace tires, especially if you live in an area with extreme cold or heat.

Vehicles after 2007: $100 to $150 per sensor for new TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) sensors. Don’t panic: Unlike standard rubber valve stems, you should not expect to replace TPMS sensors every time you replace your tires. The latest TPMS sensors are modular, so in many cases, if the rubber or metal gaskets corrode, the small pieces can be replaced without replacing the actual sensor, which is the most expensive part.

A side note: If your vehicle has TPMS sensors, you should make sure an experienced, qualified tech is working on your vehicle. If a sensor breaks, even if it is the tech’s error, no tire dealer will cover the cost of replacing the sensor and the cost will fall to you. In the hands of an experienced tire tech, changing a sensor is rarely a problem, but in the hands of a novice, rookie, or hack, a sensor is an easy thing to break. This is one of the reasons tire installation is a service you don’t necessarily want to contract to the lowest bidder.

Find a competent professional who can stand behind his or her work.

We’d pay: $4 each for standard rubber valve stems, except that we have TPMS.

Tire Disposal

Expect to pay: $2 to $6 per tire to dispose of the old tires, which are considered hazardous waste because they are made of petroleum. The range in cost depends on whether or not you are disposing of them yourself by taking them to the dump for recycling or paying a tire dealer to dispose of them. Another option is to donate them to a worthy cause.

We’d pay: $4 per tire. With a reputable tire dealer, you know that the tires are going to go to a legal hazardous waste facility and will not cause a waste disposal problem.

Road Hazard Protection Plan

Expect to pay: Around $50 for a set of four tires. Protection plans vary both in price and coverage.

Some plans cover more than others, and like any kind of insurance, the coverage is only as good as the company you buy it from. If the company in question has an excellent reputation, it may be worth taking the leap.

We’d pay: $48

Alignment

Expect to pay: $90 to $150 for the most complicated vehicles (think Mercedes AMG for the top of the price range).

Yes, you really should get an alignment with those new tires. Consider the long-term cost of not getting the alignment when you really need one: a misaligned car burns through tires much faster, meaning you will be right back where you started in as little as half the time you should be. Furthermore, riding on a misaligned car can wear out your suspension faster and makes for an uncomfortable ride. Alignment is a smart, safe long-term investment.

We’d pay: $90. That is pretty standard for an ordinary passenger car. The higher end is for vehicles with specific needs.