Most drivers know the importance of switching from winter tires to summer tires, especially those in Canada. Summer tires in winter will turn the roads into a slip n’ slide, and winter tires in summer will wear down faster than a hungry kid licking the layers off of a jawbreaker. Neither use of tires is safe. Thankfully, the process of changing tires out isn’t difficult. However, you may be wondering how long it takes to change tires or what exactly are mechanics doing when tires are being changed over—we answer both of those questions below.
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How Long Does It Take to Change Tires?
Typically, tire changes only take about 30-45 min. for all 4 tires. This number depends on the equipment you’re using though as better tools can make the process much more efficient.
If you’re mounting your tires on your own, instead of using a tire iron, an impact torque wrench can make the whole process much quicker to loosen your tire’s lug nuts. You’ll also need a jack to lift the wheels. Don’t forget to rotate your tires as well when you’re putting your new set back on.
What Do Tire Shops Do When Changing Tires?
Of course, getting your tires changed by a tire shop is often the most efficient way to change your tires as tire shops have a multitude of tools to make the process easier.
Typically, the process for getting your tires changed from summers to winters (or vice versa) is the same as if you would do it yourself. Mechanic or tire shops just have the ability to use more efficient tools and lift vehicles all at once with hydraulic lifts. Once a car is lifted lug nuts are removed from each tire. All tires are attached to a car via lug nuts. As we mentioned previously, these can be removed faster with an impact torque wrench which is what all tire shops or mechanics use.
Once the tires are off, before the summer or winter tires are put on, they are balanced to make sure the tires don’t vibrate while driving. Once the tires are balanced, they are mounted on the car and the lug nuts are reattached in a star pattern to ensure all the tires don’t vibrate due to one nut being looser than the others.
The car is then lowered back to the ground and all tires lug nuts are torqued to make sure all of them are tightened to the correct amount.
Do You Need a Wheel Alignment After Changing Tires?
The short answer: yes! Although not mandatory, making sure your wheels are aligned properly when you get new tires can make a big difference on not only the smoothness of your drive but also your wallet. Getting a wheel alignment done every time you change out your tires for the season isn’t necessary though.
Misaligned tires can cause additional wear on the treads—thus requiring you to buy a new set of tires much sooner.
Wheel alignments also ensure all your tires are properly aligned since having 1 tire out of a set misaligned can be just as, if not more, problematic than if two are out of alignment.
Although it can be frustrating to do at the beginning and end of the seasons, changing out your winter or summer tires is immensely important. You will keep you and your passengers much safer and have a much better grip on the road by doing so for all your journeys.