Get Your Money’s Worth: What to Look for in Seasonal Tire Changes

Dear Mike,

I’ve noticed that the cost for seasonal tire changes can vary greatly from shop to shop. What factors contribute to this discrepancy, and how can I ensure that I am getting a fair deal? I don’t want to overspend, but I also want to make sure that my vehicle is properly equipped for the changing weather.



Hey Bryony,

You’re right – the cost for seasonal tire changes can vary wildly from shop to shop, and it’s important to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth. So, how can you do that? As I mentioned in my intro, it’s all about the details.

First things first, let’s talk about the tires themselves. When you’re getting your winter tires taken off and your summer ones put on (or vice versa), it’s important to make sure that the condition of the tires is up to snuff. Are there any concerns with premature wear? Has the date code on the tire been addressed? What’s the tread depth on the tires coming off, and how much life is left on the tires going on? These are all important questions that you should be asking your service provider.

And speaking of service providers, it’s also important to make sure that the shop you’re working with is doing a thorough job. Are they inspecting the rims of your vehicle for cracks or potential damage? Have the hubs of your rims been cleaned of any corrosion that might cause issues with wheel nuts? Are the wheel nuts themselves in good condition? And most importantly, can your installer confirm that your vehicle’s wheels have been properly torqued to the manufacturer’s specifications?

If your service provider is truly top-notch, they’ll also be putting your tires in tire bags after the wheels have been cleaned. It might just seem like a small detail, but this is a great way to protect your tires from any damage during transport.

So why do some shops charge more for seasonal tire changes than others? Well, it often comes down to the level of service that you’re getting. If your service provider is taking the time to check all of the important details and make sure that your vehicle is equipped to handle the changing weather, you can expect to pay a bit more than you would at a shop that’s just changing your tires over and sending you on your way.

Of course, you don’t want to overspend. But in my opinion, it’s better to pay a little bit more for a quality job than to try to save a few bucks and end up with shoddy workmanship. Keep in mind that this is an investment in your safety – having the right tires on your vehicle can make all the difference in icy or wet conditions.

So, to sum up: make sure you’re asking your service provider all of the important questions about tire condition, and look for a shop that’s offering a thorough, quality job. And if that means paying a bit more, so be it – it’s worth it in the long run.

Stay safe on those roads!

Mike Urban