How Much Does It Cost To Get A Tire Patched On Average?
The cost associated with getting a tire patched, or otherwise repairing a flat tire often varies from one particular auto repair shop to the next. While some tire shops view the chore of repairing tires as a complimentary service of sorts, other auto shops bill a set rate for tire puncture repair. Nonetheless, the cost associated with tire patch or tire plug installation is rather conservative.
Generally speaking, one can expect to pay between $10 and $30. However, it is worth keeping in mind that not all tires can be easily repaired. Even small punctures within close proximity of a tire’s sidewall are often deemed “non-repairable”, thereby necessitating the purchase of a new tire. This, of course, dramatically increases the cost associated with such repairs.
Additionally, a consumer might be charged for patching a tire, whenever a damaged tire has been filled with tire sealant of any type. This is due to the mess that such products present, as they adhere to a tire’s inner liner. The use of tire sealant can also destroy TPMS sensors, which monitor air pressure within a tire. This, again, leads to additional expenditure.
What are the costs of labor?
In the vast majority of cases, tire repair takes less than 20 minutes to complete. For this reason, most shops do not charge according to their hourly house labor rate when completing repair services of this type. On the contrary, consumers are charged a flat rate fee for the installation of a patch/plug within a car tire.
For this reason, the labor associated with tire repair is often consolidated into the total tire repair cost, generally making up as much as 80% of this amount. Therefore, one is actually paying between $8-$24 dollars for a technician to complete the repair process itself.
What are the costs of parts?
The cost of supplies used when repairing a tire are minimal at best. Tire patch costs tend to range between $1-$3 per unit, making them extremely cheap overall. Additionally, the only other supplies used during the repair process are a minimal amount of pre-buff solution and tire adhesive, none of which equates to any noteworthy value.
Due to the conservative cost of supplies used when repairing a puncture hole in a tire’s tread, no additional billing is conducted, outside of the cost of the repair in its entirety. In fact, these costs are so inconsequential, that you will seldom see them spelled out in an itemized form on a repair invoice.
When Should You Get A Tire Patched?
You should get a tire patched whenever you notice a loss of air pressure, whether sudden or gradual. Such pressure loss indicates that your tire has been punctured, and is therefore structurally compromised. Luckily, the installation of a professional grade patch/plug combo can remedy this deficiency, thereby restoring the affected tire to service.
Aside from visual cues, such as the sight of a deflated or flat tire, the need for a tire patch might be highlighted by the appearance of a vehicle’s TPMS light. This warning light indicates that one or more of a vehicle’s tires are exhibiting a relative loss in air pressure.
How Much Does It Cost To Get A Tire Patched At The Dealer Vs Other Places?
Having a tire patched, or otherwise repaired, is one of the rare times when a trip to the dealership is not likely to be more expensive than venturing to any other shop. Most dealerships charge between $10-$30 to patch a punctured tire, which is in line with industry averages.
Vs Discount Tire
Quite astoundingly, Discount Tire patches radial tires for absolutely free. This is true in all cases, no matter if your tires were purchased from Discount Tire or elsewhere. The retailer will also inspect the affected tire, as well as all others on the vehicle while they are at it.
Any Walmart Supercenter featuring a Tire/Lube Express Center can also assist you in fixing your flat tire. The retailer has been offering such services for a number of years, as well as tire rotations and balances. Walmart currently offers its flat repair services for $15.
Vs Pep Boys
Another common stop for those in need of having their tire repaired is Pep Boys. This large national chain has over 930 service centers scattered across the country and claims to have repaired approximately 340,000 tires last year alone. Currently, Pep Boys charges $19.99 for its flat repair service.
Where Should You Go To Get A Tire Patched To Get The Best Price?
If I had a flat tire that needed to be repaired, I would take my vehicle to Discount Tire. This nationwide tire chain is well known for quality workmanship and offers to repair any tire for free. This promise stands good for tires purchased through Discount Tire, as well as those purchased elsewhere.
This is truly one case in which cheap (or free), really is better. But why would Discount Tire offer to fix tires for free, taking a loss on both supplies and labor? The answer to this question is actually quite simple. For every 5 tires that come in for repair, 1 or 2 are likely to be damaged in a way that necessitates replacement. As a result, Discount Tire is likely to sell an extra tire.
Simply put, this is a complimentary service that also serves as a catalyst for additional sales. However, in this case, those in need of a simple patch/plug benefit greatly. While on-site, Discount Tire’s technicians will also analyze your vehicle’s tire wear and air up all additional tires.
How To Avoid Getting Ripped Off When Getting A Tire Patched?
The single biggest way to avoid getting ripped off when getting a tire patched is to only take your vehicle to a trustworthy shop, with a stellar reputation. I would seriously avoid any fly-by-night or shade tree mechanics when getting a tire repaired, as an inexperienced technician can actually damage a tire beyond repair when buffing its inner liner, if not extremely careful.
When repaired correctly, a plugged tire is no less safe than a tire that has never been damaged at the hands of a sharp object. However, when repaired improperly, a customer not only wastes their money but is often left with a bigger mess than they were first faced with.
It is also important to safeguard yourself against dishonesty, on behalf of less scrupulous technicians. Always ask to be shown any tire that a technician deems unrepairable. Have him or her explain to you why the tire cannot be repaired. While a blowout obviously cannot be fixed, some shops are known for pushing the purchase of new tires upon unsuspecting customers.
As a general rule, most any small to moderately sized puncture that is no closer than a thumb’s width away from the sidewall of the tire can be fixed. However, this can vary somewhat, based on the exact type of tire that is to be repaired. If a shop claims that a tire is unrepairable, even though its puncture is located within the center of its tread, seek a second opinion.
Additionally, one must keep a watchful eye when determining whether or not they were charged fairly for a rebalance following repair. By policy, many shops rebalance a tire after utilizing a plug kit or repair kit. However, some technicians seem well adept at skipping this step, though the consumer is still charged.
The presence of aged or dirty wheel weights is a good indicator that tire balancing has not been conducted as specified. Likewise, markings made with a grease marker upon a tire’s sidewall also indicate that a tire has not been rebalanced. This is a trick used by technicians to realign a tire’s valve stem and wheel weights, without balancing the tire itself.
How To Save Money On Getting A Tire Patched?
The easiest way to save money when getting a tire patched involves determining if your tires come with any type of road hazard warranty. Warranty coverage of this type generally allows consumers to have their tires fixed free of charge, whenever necessary. However, in most cases, a consumer must return to the shop from which their tires were purchased.
Utilizing this warranty saves money over paying outright for repair, especially if multiple repairs prove necessary over the life of a set of tires. Oftentimes, this warranty ends up paying for itself, even if it must be purchased for an additional fee.
It is also important to make sure that you have a spare tire on hand that is properly stowed and inflated to the ideal tire pressure. This, along with a jack and lug wrench, ensures that you are able to get by as necessary in the event of a flat, allowing you to find the best deal possible on a flat repair.