Cost to Rotate and Balance Tires [Walmart & Others]
Your tires are by far some of the most important vehicle components when it comes to safety. They are literally what keeps your vehicle on the road. Properly balanced and rotated tires mean a more comfortable ride, better fuel economy, and improved lifespan for the tires. So, how much does this basic – yet critical – service cost?
Having your tires rotated and balanced typically costs between $25 and $50. Still, many auto shops will perform this service for free along with any other paid service. Also, most tire shops offer free rotation and balance services for the lifetime of the tire so long as it was purchased from them.
How Much Does it Cost to Have Tires Rotated and Balanced?
Rotate and balance services for your tires are typically not very expensive. In most cases, you can have the service performed for under $50. However, some vehicles may cost more if the job is time-consuming or more work is needed. Below is a chart about tire rotation pricing:
Tire Rotate and Balance Cost
|Low-End Price Estimate||$15 – $30|
|High-End Price Estimate||$50 – $99|
|Average Cost Estimate||$25 – $45|
Of course, the actual price may vary depending on your specific vehicle, tires, and where you take the car for service.
One of the biggest factors is who performs the service. For example, taking your vehicle to the dealership will no doubt cost a lot more than a local tire shop. The reason for this is the increased labor charge.
Sam’s Club will do a one-time balance and rotation for just $3.88 per wheel. However, this is a deal only available to Sam’s Club members and they limit use to just one vehicle per membership.
Tire shops like Firestone typically charge around $10 per tire for rotation and balancing services. So, for all four tires, you should expect to pay around $40.
Other tire shops like Discount Tire and America’s Tire typically charge closer to $15 per tire, meaning you’ll pay closer to $60 for a rotation and balance.
Still, you should keep in mind that nearly all auto shops perform rotation and balancing services for free if you purchased tires from them. Some shops offer lifetime wheel balancing services that you can purchase regardless of where you bought the tires.
If you’re planning to commit to keeping up with the service schedule, this would be a great deal to consider. For example, Pep Boys offers a lifetime wheel balancing (or tire balancing) service starting at $15.99, and Walmart offers a lifetime balance/rotation for $14 per tire.
|Retailer||Price Estimate (4 tires)|
By taking advantage of free rotate and balance services, or even purchasing lifetime rotate and balance deals, you can save yourself a lot of money over the lifetime of your tires. Plus, if you follow through on taking your vehicle in to have the services performed regularly, you can extend the tires’ life and ensure they wear more evenly.
What is Tire Rotation and Balancing?
Rotate and balance is an auto service that involves two separate processes. Together, rotating and balancing improve the overall safety, performance, and efficiency of your tires. Rotating and balancing your tires prevents uneven tire wear and more specifically, uneven tread wear.
During a tire rotation, the service technician will remove the wheels and move them around so that the front tires are moved to the back, and the right and left sides are swapped. However, in some vehicles, the process may be a little more complicated.
If it’s a luxury or performance vehicle, there may be other considerations like slightly different wheel sizes in the front and back. Or, some electric vehicles require additional steps prior to performing any work.
After the rotation is complete, the technician will balance the tires and wheels. They’ll use a special machine to do this, and if necessary, they’ll attach very small weights to the wheel’s rim to ensure the weight is balanced on all four tires.
Here’s what actually happens during balancing:
1. The wheel (with the tire still mounted) is placed on the balancing equipment.
2. The machine spins the wheel to measure rotations and vibrations, producing a readout for the technician. Using that information, the technician will know if the tires are balanced or if weight needs to be added in certain areas.
3. The technician will either add weights or adjust existing weights around the wheels to correct any imbalances.
4. If necessary, the technician will remove the tire and remount it to adjust the weight distribution.
Your vehicle’s manufacturer recommends the frequency at which you need to have your tires rotated and balanced. Still, most vehicles should have this service performed every six to eight thousand miles or so.
That being said, it’s a good idea just to request a rotation and balance at least during every other oil change. Plus, many mechanics will perform the service for free if your vehicle is already in the shop for something else. It never hurts to ask about adding this service.
Benefits of Tire Rotation and Balancing
Keeping your tires rotated and balanced will improve their overall performance over time. Having the service performed on schedule will ensure your tires maintain safe tread levels for their full expected lifetime or at least reduce uneven wear and tear.
In most cases, your tire tread will wear faster on the front tires compared to the rear tires. So, having your tires rotated will swap which set is in the front and which is in the back periodically, keeping the wear more evenly distributed.
The same logic applies to rotating right and left-side tires. If you tend to have more wear on one side compared to the other, proper rotation will help even it out over the tire’s lifespan.
Other things that can cause uneven tire wear or uneven tread wear:
- Improper alignment
- Issues with your suspension
- Certain driving habits
Keeping your tires rotated and balanced will help ensure that all four of your tires wear at approximately the same rate. The benefit of this is that you’ll hopefully avoid having to replace two of your tires prematurely.
Replacing all four tires at once also saves you money because you’ll have to pay less in shop fees compared to making two trips, and you can normally find a better deal when purchasing four tires instead of just two.
There are many benefits to having your tires rotated and balanced. These include:
- Improved vehicle handling
- Better traction
- Improved steering ability
- Reduction of a vibrating steering wheel
- Reduces noise and vibration
- Extends tire’s life (saves money on new tires!)
Can You Rotate and Balance Your Own Tires?
It’s possible to perform your own tire rotation, but balancing is a much different process. If you rotate your own tires, all you need is a jack to lift the vehicle and tire iron to remove the lug nuts. Purchasing the tools should only cost between $40 and $60.
Balancing the tires requires specialized equipment to weigh and measure each wheel and the vibrations and ensure they are balanced, then it requires adding special weights to the rim. It would be possible to take the wheels off and have a tire shop balance them, but the time and trouble probably wouldn’t be worth the money you’d save.
How to Know When Your Tires Need to be Rotated and Balanced
When your tires need to be rotated or balanced, you’ll probably start to notice some signs while you’re driving. The most obvious symptoms include wobbling and vibrations that you can feel through your steering wheel.
If the vibrations become more intense as your vehicle increases speed, this is also a sign that the issue could be related to the wheels being out of balance.
Vibrations in the steering are typically related to the front wheels while vibrations that you feel through your seat may indicate an imbalance in the rear wheels.
If your vehicle pulls to one side or the other or if it veers to the left or right when you let go of the steering wheel, it could indicate a problem with your car’s alignment. An alignment is not the same thing as rotating and balancing, but it has a lot of the same benefits like helping ensure even tire wear and better handling.
The Bottom Line
Having your tires rotated and balanced is a very typical maintenance service that you’ll need to perform on your vehicle. Most tire shops will do this work for free when you purchase tires, and your normal mechanic may do it at no charge along with other paid services (like an oil change or other work).
Many tire shops also provide free rotation and balance services on tires that you purchase for them as long as you own the vehicle and tires. That can translate into hundreds of dollars in savings over the life of the tires.
Even if you have to pay to have the work done, it’s usually an inexpensive service costing under $50. The cost is well worth it, as it can increase the lifespan of your tires, improves the overall safety and driving conditions, and ensures that the tread wears evenly over time.