Tire mounting and balancing is a routine part of the tire replacement process. But how much should you expect to pay for this service in 2023?
The average cost to mount and balance one tire is $15-$30 at most major tire shop chains. A set of four tires would be $60-$120 total. Prices depend on location, vehicle type, tire type, and additional services.
If you just got a fresh set of new tires, they aren’t ready to hit the road quite yet. Those puppies need to be professionally mounted and balanced first for optimal performance, handling, and safety.
But this basic tire shop service comes with a wide range of prices these days. It pays to educate yourself on the key factors that affect mounting and balancing costs.
In this detailed guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know:
- What’s included in tire mounting and balancing service
- Average costs per tire and per set
- Price differences between vehicles and tire types
- Extra fees to watch out for
- Ways to save money on mounting and balancing
- When you really need new tires balanced
- DIY tire mounting options
Let’s dig in…
Table of Contents
What Exactly is Tire Mounting and Balancing?
First, let’s quickly review what this common tire shop service entails.
Mounting refers to the process of installing your new tires onto the wheel rims. The old tire is removed, the wheel is inspected and cleaned, and the new tire is installed and sealed with a proper bead.
Balancing helps counteract any uneven tire and wheel weight distribution that causes vibrations at higher speeds. After mounting, a computerized balancer will spin the wheel/tire unit to detect heavy spots. Small weights are then added to offset the imbalance.
Balanced tires allow for smooth, even contact with the pavement. This gives you better handling, fewer vibrations, less wear on suspension components, and a safer ride.
Most reputable tire shops won’t just sell you new tires without also recommending mounting and balancing. It’s an important final step.
What’s the Average Cost for Mounting and Balancing a Tire?
The average price for mounting and balancing one tire at popular national tire shop chains ranges from $15 to $30 per tire.
- Demounting the old tire and inspecting the wheel
- Mounting the new tire and ensuring proper seal
- Computerized spin balancing to detect imbalances
- Adding small weights to offset detected heavy spots
- Checking air pressure and torque on lug nuts
The typical price breakdown is:
- Basic tire mounting: $10 – $20
- Computerized balance: $5 – $15
- Total per tire: $15 – $30
So for a set of four tires, you’re looking at around $60 – $120 for full mounting and balancing service.
Some tire shops break out mounting and balancing as separate line items on your invoice. Others bundle it into one combined “mount and balance” service fee.
Costs tend to be a bit higher for trucks, SUVs, ATVs, and other large specialized tire types, ranging from $20 – $40 per tire. High-end sports cars and exotics often cost upwards of $50+ per tire to mount and balance due to the complexity.
But for most standard passenger vehicles, $15 – $30 per tire is typical at major chains like Firestone, NTB, Big O, and Midas. Independent shops and dealerships may charge slightly more.
Now let’s look at the key factors that affect the cost of tire mounting and balancing service.
Key Factors That Influence Tire Mount and Balance Costs
Just like other automotive services, several variables impact how much you’ll pay to have your new tires mounted and balanced:
Location and Shop Type
No surprise here, prices are higher in major metro areas and at specialty tire shops:
- Big city tire shops like those in NYC, LA, and Chicago will be most expensive
- Rural shops and smaller towns tend to have lower labor rates
- Mass-market chains like Firestone, NTB, and Midas offer competitive rates
- Independent tire shops and car dealerships often charge the highest prices
You also tend to pay a premium for mounting and balancing at:
- High-end tire shops that cater to exotics, vintage cars
- Custom wheel specialty shops
- Off-road focused shops with trucks, ATVs, UTVs
Larger and more specialized wheels and tires require more labor, equipment, and expertise from the tire tech:
- Passenger cars and minivans are quickest and easiest to mount and balance
- Truck, SUV, RV, and ATV tires cost more – $20-$40 per tire typically
- High-performance sports cars run $40-$75+ per tire
- Exotic and vintage cars with fragile wheels can be $100+ per tire!
In general, standard passenger vehicle tires are least expensive. Expect to pay a small premium for light truck tires.
Some tires are more labor intensive for tire techs to work with:
- Low-profile performance tires can be stiff and tricky to mount
- Larger diameter truck and SUV tires require heavy equipment
- Radial trailer and construction equipment tires need expertise
- Foam-filled runflat tires need special equipment and care
Simple all-season passenger tires are typically easiest for basic mounting and balancing.
Additional Services and Fees
Your final bill can rise quickly with add-ons like:
- Disposal fees for old tires – $2-$5 per tire
- New valve stems – $2-$10 per stem
- Lifetime rotation and balance – $20+ per tire
- Road hazard protection plans – $10-$30 per tire
- Shop supplies or service fees – $2-$10
Ask for an itemized estimate before approving the work so you know exactly what to expect. Most mounting and balancing is straightforward. But additional services can add up.
Tips to Save Money on Tire Mounting and Balancing
While it’s important not to cut corners on mounting and balancing, here are some tips to keep costs down:
Ask About Package Deals
Some shops offer free or discounted mounting and balancing when you purchase a full set of tires (usually 4+).
Big retailers like Discount Tire and Tire Rack boast some of the lowest prices when you bundle tire purchase with installation. Warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club also offer very competitive rates.
Use Coupons and Specials
Major chains like Firestone, NTB, and Big O Tires frequently offer coupons on their websites for mounting and balancing specials. Sign up for discounts and shop sales events.
Buy Tires Online, Get Them Mounted Locally
Order bargain tires on Amazon or from online discounters like TireBuyer.com, then take them to a local shop just for mounting and balancing. This can save big bucks.
Join a Warehouse Store
Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s Wholesale offer members-only pricing on mounting, balancing, rotations, and other tire services. Their prices are hard to beat.
Ask for Student or Military Discounts
Some national chains offer special discounts for students and military members. Always ask just in case!
When Do New Tires Really Need Mounting and Balancing?
In most cases, you should have new tires mounted and balanced right away for optimal performance. But here are a few exceptions where you may be able to wait:
- Installed only one or two new tires – You can likely get by without rebalancing the whole set
- Bought “pre-balanced” tires – Some come pre-balanced from the factory
- Have a vibration-canceling wheel system – These allow for accurate self-balancing
Otherwise, mounting and balancing should be done whenever you get brand new tires. You don’t want to miss out on the benefits.
Many tire warranties also require that new tires be properly mounted and balanced shortly after purchase to remain valid.
Can You Mount and Balance Tires at Home?
Mounting and especially balancing tires requires special equipment and know-how. However, you can mount tires at home with some DIY experience and the right tools:
- Manual tire changing machines allow you to mount the tire on the rim
- You’ll still need a shop to balance without a balancer
- Changing low-profile stiff performance tires is very difficult
- Watch out for potential wheel damage if you slip with tools
- Don’t attempt to mount truck, SUV, or specialty tires
Unless you’re very handy, have the right equipment, and feel confident, it’s safest to have a pro handle mounting and balancing.
The Bottom Line on Tire Mounting and Balancing Costs
While prices vary across locations and tire types, the typical range is $15-$30 per tire for standard passenger vehicle wheel and tire balancing.
Full sets of four tires run $60-$120 on average. Trucks, SUVs, ATVs, and specialty vehicles are a bit higher per tire.
Shop around between national chains and local tire shops to find the best rates in your area. And don’t be afraid to negotiate, especially if getting four tires or more mounted and balanced.
With the right tires properly installed and balanced on your vehicle, you’ll enjoy a smoother, safer ride. Take care of this important service and your new tires will take care of you!