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Cost to Change Winter Tires

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When temperatures drop below 7°C in Canada at the end of fall, it is time to switch to winter tires. When it rises above 7°C in the spring, it’s time to switch them back to the regular, typically all-season tires.

While this gives you the best gives you the best traction and control year-round, the cost of changing winter tires twice a year adds up.

Changing tires that are on rims (basic swap) costs $40 to $60 for a set of 4 – or about $10 per tire.

For tires that are not on rims, it costs an average of $80 to $120 for a set of 4 – or about $20 to $30 per tire.

In this short guide we’ll summarize how much service providers are charging and how much people are paying to change, mount, balance and store tires and outline how keeping your winter tires on a separate set of steel rims can save you an average of $150 over their lifetime.

Cost of changing tires mounted on rims

Changing a set of 4 tires that are already mounted on rims (basic swap) costs an average of $40 to $60 or about $10 to $15 per wheel, not including balancing.

Balancing costs an extra $32 to $48 per set of 4 or $8 to $12 per wheel and should be done every 1 to 2 years or if you notice signs such as vibration at high speeds, increased fuel consumption or uneven treadwear.

Pricing from service providers:

Service ProviderCost
Canadian Tire$75
Tirecraft$55
Kal Tire$52
Mr Lube$55
Jiffy Lube$55
Costco$40
CAA Mobile$80 to $120
Tire Changers$60
SimplyTire$60 to $100
1010Tires$50
BMW dealership$85

Prices reported by vehicle owners across Canada:

Service ProviderLocationPrice Paid
IndependentMarkham, ON$45
IndependentCannifton, ON$45
IndependentBelleville, ON$40

Cost of mounting and balancing tires without rims

Having a set of 4 winter tires mounted on rims, balanced and installed costs an average of $80 to $120 or about $20 to $30 per wheel, based on prices we collected from service providers:

Service ProviderCost
Canadian Tire$150
Tirecraft$105
Kal Tire$152
JoyCity Tires$75 to $105
Genuine Auto$125
Fountain Tire$139
Tires23$80
1010Tires$160
Costco$80
SimplyTire$140 to $240

Prices reported by vehicle owners across Canada:

LocationPrice Paid
Vancouver, BC$120
Winnipeg, MB$140

Factors that affect the cost

  • By appointment (faster, more expensive – eg. Tirecraft) or first-come-first-served while you wait (longer wait, cheaper – eg. independent shop)
  • Longer wait times (cheaper – eg. Costco) or shorter wait times (more expensive – eg. Jiffy Lube)
  • Whether you go before the first snowfall (quieter, cheaper) or after (busy, more expensive)
  • Dealerships and large chains will typically charge more than independent tire shops, with the exception of Costco
  • Experienced mechanics (careful, more expensive – eg. Kal Tire) or minimum wage employees (careless, less expensive – eg. Canadian Tire)
  • Smaller passenger car tires are sometimes cheaper than larger truck and suv tires

Cost of tire storage

If you live in an apartment or condo, you may not have space to store the set of tires that aren’t on your vehicle. The average cost to store your tires is $60 to $100 per season (6 to 9 months). Fall/winter counts as 1 season, spring/summer is another.

ProviderLocationCost
Kal TireWinnipeg, MB$90 to $100
JoyCity TiresMarkham, ON$75
Dealerships$100
#10 StorageBrampton, ON$40
Genuine AutoNepean, ON$60
Canadian TireOttawa, ON$70
Waterloo, ON$80

Factors that affect the cost

  • Tires stored in a climate-controlled environment (more expensive) or in a shipping container left outside (cheaper)
  • Tires insured for damage or theft (more expensive) or not insured (cheaper)
  • Dealerships and large chains will typically charge more than independent tire shops and storage unit companies

Change cost breakdown

Changing tires with 1 set of rims (re-mounting every time)

$100 per change x 2 changes per year x 5 years = $1000

To have the tires removed and swapped onto the same rims twice a year for an average of a 5 year tire lifespan, costs $60 to $80. This comes out to $160 a year on average just on the swap. If you consider that price over the span of 5 years, it amounts to a stunning $800.

Changing tires with 2 sets of rims (each with its own set)

$240 for 4 steel rims ($50 to $80 per rim)
+ $80 to have winter tires mounted onto the new rims and balanced
+ $80 to have summer tires mounted onto existing rims and balanced
+ $50 per change x 2 swaps per year x next 4 years = $400

= $800

The average cost to have the wheel (tire and rim) switched is half as much ($50 vs $100), but if you factor in a couple of tire balances ($50) over 5 years your maintenance costs are from about equal to $100 less.

However, using a second set of rims means it takes much less time to change tires, you can change them yourself, you own 2 sets of rims instead of 1 and limiting the number of times a tire is removed and mounted to a rim reduces the chances of damaging the bead.

Save money by changing them yourself

If the tires have already been mounted and balanced and you are able, have the space available and can stay warm enough while changing tires, you can save $80+tax or more per year on the labour costs by doing the swap yourself. You also save the hassle of booking an appointment, dropping it off, waiting or having to go back.

All you need are a few tools and the time and money savings will make up for their initial cost in 3 years or so:

Total startup costs: ~$250

How to change your tires

Should you get steel rims for your winter tires?

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.

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 lifespan.

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 preserve your tires and rims and keep them in good condition longer.

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.

Storing winter tires

During the summer when you are not using the tires, store them in a clean, dry (away from solvents, lubricants, fuels, chemicals), dark (in tire bags to limit their exposure to UV radiation) and cool (below 15ºC). Basements and temperature-controlled garages are ideal. The temperature and humidity in most garages, sheds and attics fluctuate considerably, which you want to avoid.

Maintain the vehicle manufacturer recommended air pressure and if they are on rims, stack them on each other, no more than 4 high. If they are not on rims, stand them on end and turn them a bit once a month. Maintain the vehicle manufacturer recommended air pressure.

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