To prepare for the onslaught of snow and ice, many Canadians swap the tires on their vehicles over to a set of winter tires every year at the end of fall, and then switch them back to the regular (typically all-season) tires in the spring.
The cost of changing them twice a year can add up. Every time you have your tires removed from the rim, mounted, balanced and reinstalled it takes half of a day and costs an average of $60 to $80. In this short guide we’ll outline how can save you an average of $150 over the lifetime of those tires (and maybe more).
Tire change cost over 5 years
Factoring in the startup cost for the new rims, here is how the math works out over a 5 year period that your winter tires will likely last before needing to be replaced.
With 1 Set of Rims (Mounting Every Time):
$150 x 5 years = $750
With 2 Sets of Rims (Mounting Once):
$210 for 4 steel wheels
+ $75 to have tires mounted and installed
+ $35 to have wheels swapped back to summer tires
+ $35 per change x 2 swaps per year x next 4 years = $600
That’s savings of $150.
1 Set of Rims
To have the tires removed and swapped onto the same rims twice a year for an average of a 5-year tire life-span, costs $60 to $80. This comes out to $150 a year on average just on the swap. If you consider that price over the span of 5 years, it amounts to a stunning $750.
2 Sets of Rims
The cost of a new set of steel rims averages around $210. You then must account for the cost to mount the tires initially which is around $75. From there, the cost to simply swap the wheels is where you end up saving. The average cost of $35 to have the wheel (tire and rim) switched is less than half as much and takes much less time.
After the same 5-year time span, you end up spending an average of only $600, with a savings of $150.
Save money: do it yourself
If you are able and mechanically inclined enough to change tires, you can save the labor cost as well performing the swap yourself.
Rims can be a selling feature
Plus, if and when you plan on reselling the vehicle you have an added set of rims and tires that will add to the overall value of the vehicle. If needed you can sell the rim separately, as rims in good condition hold value.
What people are paying
Here is what people on RedFlagDeals have reported paying to have their summer tires removed and the winter ones mounted, installed and balanced:
Should you get steel rims for your winter tires?
With aluminum rims, the road salt used to melt snow and ice will eat away at the metal and significantly decrease their stability, structure, and life-span.
In addition, the process of mounting and unmounting tires onto a set of rims requires applying a considerable amount of stress on the bead and sidewall. Doing this twice annually year after year increases the risk of distorting the sidewall or tearing the bead.
Opting for steel rims will help to protect your tires and rims and keep them in good condition longer.
Storing winter tires
During the summer when you are not using the tires, store them in a clean, dry, and dark place. The cooler the temperature, the better. Basements and temperature controlled garages are ideal.
You will also want to decrease the tire pressure to about half, so that there is no stress on the rubber while it is stored. You should also store the tires on their sides to avoid any flat spots developing in the rubber.
It is highly recommended that you mount one set of tires onto a set of steel rims and keep your main set of tires on its own set. Your vehicle and wallet will thank you for investing in an additional set of steel rims and tires designed specifically for winter driving conditions.