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How Long Does Tire Rotation Take?

Tire rotation helps tires last longer, helps prevent uneven wear, and reduces tire noise. Regular tire rotations are also important to maintaining the warranty on your tires provided by the tire manufacturer.

Waiting around to have your tires serviced is no fun. Waiting for anything is no fun. So how long does it take a shop rotate tires?

How Long Does Tire Rotation Take?

Tire rotation takes 30-45 minutes on average, but it can take longer depending on how busy the tire shop is that you go to.

The actual service should only take 15 minutes and the rest of the time is usually waiting for a tech to become available.

Most mechanics will quote an hour to account for times when they’re busy and hope to finish up more quickly.

Let’s go over some of the most popular shops that perform tire rotation and how long it takes along with some other common services.

tire rotation service

How Long Does Tire Rotation And Oil Change Take?

I was commonly told it would take an hour for tire rotation and an hour for an oil change. These are reasonable quotes for each service alone, but when performing them both at the same time, I think it’s reasonable to expect them to both be done within an hour if the shop isn’t busy.

If there are a lot of people waiting with you, it can easily take 2 hours or more for this service.

Tire rotation has traditionally been recommended to be performed at the same time as an oil change. This is changing due to the advances in engine design and synthetic oils. While oil changes used to be recommended every 3,000-5,000 miles, they’re now often recommended every 10,000 miles or even longer.

If maintaining your tire warranty is important to you, be sure and have your tires rotated according to the warranty agreement requirements. This is usually every 5,000 miles or more.

How Long Does Tire Rotation And Balance Take?

Like with rotation and oil change, I was usually quoted 1 hour for each of these services and I also think they can both be performed together within an hour if the shop isn’t busy.

The majority of the time you spend waiting on a service like this is going to be waiting on a service tech to become available so he or she can dedicate time to taking care of the job.

Mechanic Service Duration Quotes

To better answer the question of how long it takes to not only rotate tires, but to also have an oil change and tire balance service performed, I called several of the most popular shops.

For each shop I asked them how long each of the following services took and how much they cost:

  • Tire Rotation
  • Tire Balancing
  • Oil Change
  • Tire Alignment

Let’s go over the answers they gave me and provide a little insight into what you’ll actually need to expect.

Valvoline Store
Steve Morgan, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Valvoline

My first call to Valvoline was answered quickly although I was accidentally hung up on. It happens. I called back and again the call was answered quickly. Fortunately I wasn’t hung up on this time.

The person I spoke with sounded trained to deal with customers on the phone and not the manager or one of the technicians that would be performing the work.

Rotation Time20 min
Rotation Cost$24.99
Balance Time
Balance Cost
Oil Change Time20 min
Oil Change Cost$69.99
Alignment Time
Alignment Cost

Tire Rotation

When I asked about having my tires rotated, I was quoted 20 minutes turn around time. This is the shortest amount of time that I was quoted by far and honestly, I think it’s optimistic.

Unless the shop has no other customers waiting, it will likely take longer than this.

The tire rotation cost I was quoted was $24.99. The cost of the service was reasonably priced, but not free.

Tire Balancing

I was told that Valvoline does not balance tires.

Oil Change

I was also quoted 20 minutes for how long it would take to have an oil change done. This also sounds suspiciously optimistic to me and I’d plan on waiting a little longer. Especially if they’re busy.

The cost of an oil change at Valvoline was quoted at $69.99 for a blend. Full synthetic will cost more and I assume a standard oil will cost slightly less. You can also expect to pay more for cars and trucks with larger than average engines.

Tire Alignment

I was told that Valvoline does not perform tire alignment services.

Costco
Maitra, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Costco

My call to Costco was answered immediately but I was put on hold for quite a while. So long that I had begun thinking they’d forgotten about me and I was about to hang up and call back.

Eventually someone took me off hold and answered. They were very friendly and helpful. I got the impression I was speaking with the shop manager and he was very professional yet down-to-earth when I asked questions.

Rotation Time1 hr
Rotation Cost$10
Balance Time1 hr
Balance Cost$5/tire
Oil Change Time
Oil Change Cost
Alignment Time
Alignment Cost

Tire Rotation

While tire rotations themselves do take a full hour to complete, quoting an hour is reasonable and a good business practice. It could easily take that long or longer depending on how busy they are. Given that I was on hold for an extended period of time I suspect they were very busy at the time.

I was quoted $10 for the service to be performed. At this amount it should almost be free because they’re not really making much, if any profit.

Tire Balancing

Tire balancing was also quoted at an hour but he was very up front and said that it probably wouldn’t take that long unless they were busy.

I was quoted $5 to balance each tire. $20 is a very reasonable price. This will not likely be balancing with a road force balancer and I wouldn’t expect that for this price.

Oil Change

Costco does not do oil changes at their tire center.

Tire Alignment

Costco does not offer wheel alignment in-house, but they can arrange alignment for you with a local service center and you will get a discount for using the Costco referral.

Firestone
Social Woodlands from USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Firestone

When I called Firestone, the call was answered quickly and the person on the other end was helpful although I get the impression they were a little put out by me calling for pricing. I get it, but that’s the job.

Firestone was one of only two places I called that was able to perform all four common services. 

Rotation Time1 hr
Rotation Cost$20
Balance Time1 hr
Balance Cost$10/tire
Oil Change Time1 hr
Oil Change Cost$49.99
Alignment Time1-1.5 hr
Alignment Cost$94.99

Tire Rotation

Firestone seems to give a standard 1 hour estimate for all services. Like I’ve mentioned before, this is reasonable but having all four services performed shouldn’t take four hours and should likely take half that unless they’re busy.

Tire rotation was a very reasonable $20 and obviously not a service they’re making money on.

Tire Balancing

Quoted 1 hour of service time at $10 per tire which is very reasonable. I am fairly certain that they have a road force balancer available however I didn’t confirm if this price was for standard balancing or road force balancing.

Oil Change

I was quoted 1 hour for an oil change but many of these places are very adept at knocking out oil changes very quickly. One hour is very generous. I’d expect much less time except during busy times.

The cost quoted was $49.99 but I was cautioned that this was for my specific vehicle and that the actual cost depends on the type of oil (standard/blend/synthetic) and the amount of oil required by the engine.

Tire Alignment

One hour to an hour and a half was quoted for the time to have an alignment performed. Since alignment can get a little more fidgety than the other maintenance services, this isn’t completely unexpected. It can be done more quickly than an hour on most cars and trucks however. This assumes they’re not busy obviously.

$94.99 isn’t the cheapest you can get an alignment performed but it is more than Jiffy Lube which was the only other surveyed shop that offers tire alignment service.

discount tire
Kzoo Cowboy, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Discount Tire

Promptly answered call and all questions answered thoroughly. I expected nothing less from Discount Tire. 

Discount Tire unfortunately isn’t place you can go to get all of these services performed. You can get tire rotation performed for free.

Rotation Time1 hr
Rotation CostFree
Balance Time1 hr
Balance Cost$42.90/4
Oil Change Time
Oil Change Cost
Alignment Time
Alignment Cost

Tire Rotation

Tire rotation is a free-of-charge service that every Discount Tire offers regardless of whether you purchased your tires from them or not. 

One hour was quoted for the wait time to have the service performed.

Tire Balancing

They also provide tire balancing with a road force balancer which does a superior job and helps keep tires smooth at high speeds.

They quoted an hour to have the service performed at a cost of $42.90 which is very reasonable for road force balancing.

Oil Change

No oil change services are provided by Discount Tire.

Tire Alignment

No tire alignment services are provided by Discount Tire.

Walmart

My call to Walmart’s Tire Center was quickly answered and reasonably courteous. As usual, Walmart pricing is extremely low. The question I would ask, is the savings worth the wait?

Timelines quoted for some of the services are reasonable if they aren’t busy, but Walmart is usually far from slow.

Rotation Time30 min-1 hr
Rotation Cost$10 ($2.50/tire)
Balance Time1 hr
Balance Cost$20/4
Oil Change Time30 min
Oil Change Cost$46
Alignment Time
Alignment Cost

Tire Rotation

I was quoted tire rotation of $20. A very reasonable amount although this is likely done with a standard tire balancer and not a road force balancer.

Rotation time was quoted at 30 minutes to one hour which is pretty spot on.

Tire Balancing

The time they quoted to have a tire balancing performed was within one hour. As mentioned previously, this is a very reasonable quote, but you can expect much quicker service if they happen to be slow.

The quote was balancing of four tires for $20 which is good. This is not likely using a road force balancer however.

Oil Change

The time quoted for an oil change was 30 minutes. This is a little optimistic knowing how busy Walmart gets, but oil changes are services that shops are highly optimized to knock out in no time at all.

The price quoted was very good at $46. Again, oil changes are priced based on some different factors such as the type of oil and the size of the engine. Larger engines, like those in trucks will use more oil which can have a significant affect on the cost.

Tire Alignment

The one thing that Walmart doesn’t provide is tire alignment.

Jiffy Lube

My last call was to Jiffy Lube. It was also my most unpleasant call. I spoke to one gentleman that was very friendly and helpful but was unable to give me pricing information so he handed me off to someone else.

The next guy was obviously a bit busy and not very pleased to be helping someone price-shopping. He did give me the info I needed just before hanging up on me thankfully.

Jiffy Lube does offer all four maintenance services. Let’s go over what I found out.

Rotation Time30 min
Rotation Cost$24.99
Balance Time30 min
Balance Cost$24.99
Oil Change Time30 min
Oil Change Cost$74.99
Alignment Time30 min
Alignment Cost$89.99

Tire Rotation

Jiffy Lube claims to rotate your tires within 30 minutes. The quoted tire rotation cost was $24.99. It’s not the cheapest offer out there, but they claim a quick turnaround.

Tire Balancing

Tire balancing at Jiffy Lube is quoted as being done within one hour and for $24.99 for all four tires which is reasonable. I doubt this is with a road force balancer however.

Oil Change

Jiffy Lube quotes an oil change in 30 minutes for $74.99. Again, your price will vary depending on the type of oil and amount needed. Also, 30 minutes is likely assuming that they aren’t busy.

Tire Alignment

The only other company in this breakdown to offer wheel alignment is Jiffy Lube. The quote was for 30 minutes which is a bit optimistic. The cost is $89.99.

Why Is Tire Rotation Important?

One of the best reasons to rotate tires is to maintain the tire warranty the tire manufacturer provides. It may seem like not a big deal, but there are some cars and trucks that will chew through tires much more quickly than others.

Despite some vehicles wearing through tires quickly, the mileage warranty will still be honored as long as you rotate your tires according to the required rotation mileage maximum stipulated in the warranty.

You’ll also get all the other benefits of longer tire life, smoother ride, and less tire noise.

How Often Should You Have Your Tires Rotated?

Most tire manufacturer will have a slightly different maximum mileage that tires should be rotated or the tire warranty will be voided. Some tires don’t have warranties, but the tire manufacturer will still usually recommend a rotation schedule.

This is usually somewhere between 5,000 and 8,000 miles. You should check the paperwork that came with your tires to see what mileage is recommended for you to rotate your tires before reaching.

Final Thoughts

Waiting to have your tires rotated is inconvenient so try to have multiple services performed at the same time. You can usually get discounts on grouping multiple services together.

A tire shop likely won’t be able to provide a lot of different services. If you’re having a tire-specific issue though, they’re the best place to go.

Shops like Jiffy Lube or Firestone are the jack-of-all-trades – master-of-none type of shop. They can do many things but if you’re having a specialized issue, this may not be where you want to go.

No matter where you have tire rotations performed, regular tire service is important to save you money in the long run. Regular tire maintenance also gets a technician to do a tire inspection for tire inflation issues and ensure your tires wear evenly.

Resources

Below are some links you may find helpful when learning about tires

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