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Saving Money on Motorcycle Maintenance: A Guide to Understanding the Cost of Changing motorcycle Tires

For motorcycle enthusiasts, maintaining your bike is a critical aspect of ownership. However, with the constant wear and tear, upkeep costs can quickly add up, especially when it comes to changing your tires. As a motorcycle owner, understanding the cost of tire replacement can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.

In this guide, we’ll explore the various factors that affect the cost of changing your tires and provide tips on how to save money on motorcycle maintenance. By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of the tire replacement process and how to budget accordingly, allowing you to keep your bike running smoothly without breaking the bank. So, whether you’re a seasoned rider or a new motorcycle owner, let’s dive into this guide and discover how to save money on motorcycle maintenance.

How much does it cost to change tires on a motorcycle? Motorcycle tire change costs between $25 and $150 per tire. Bringing in the wheels of your motorcycle (carry-in service) costs between $25 and $50 and bringing in the whole motorcycle (ride-in service) costs between $45 and $80. On average, the cost to change motorcycle tires is $50 per tire.

I did my research and took a look at more than 35 quotes from various dealerships and shops in order to come with the average costs for changing motorcycle tires.

Below I go into more detail how those prices are formed and what you can expect to pay normally, including ideas on how to save on some money.

A mechanic changing a motorcycle tire

Understanding Tire Types – Which One is Right for You?

Choosing the right tire for your motorcycle is essential for optimal performance and safety. There are several types of tires available, each with their specific benefits and drawbacks. The most common types of motorcycle tires include:

  • Sport or performance tires are designed for high-performance motorcycles and offer excellent traction and handling at high speeds. These tires have a softer rubber compound, which provides superior grip but can wear out faster than other types of tires.
  • Touring tires are designed for long-distance rides and offer a comfortable ride and excellent durability. These tires typically have a harder rubber compound, which provides better mileage but may sacrifice some grip.
  • Cruiser tires are designed for large, heavy motorcycles and offer a comfortable ride and good handling. These tires typically have a wider profile and a more significant sidewall, which provides stability and traction.
  • Dual-sport tires are designed for both on-road and off-road use and offer a balance of on-road handling and off-road traction. These tires typically have a more aggressive tread pattern and a softer rubber compound for better grip on loose surfaces.

When choosing a tire, consider your riding style, the type of motorcycle you have, and the road conditions you will encounter. It’s also essential to choose a tire that fits your budget and provides optimal performance.

Ride-in service vs. carry-in service costs

The cost of motorcycle tire maintenance can vary widely, depending on several factors. Generally speaking, the cost of changing a tire on a motorcycle is higher than on a car due to the specialized tools and equipment required. On average, you can expect to pay between $50 to $100 per tire for mounting and balancing at a dealership or repair shop. However, the cost can be much higher if you have a high-performance bike or choose to use premium tires.

It’s essential to keep in mind that the cost of tire maintenance is not only limited to the initial purchase and installation. Regular maintenance, such as balancing, alignment, and rotation, is necessary to ensure proper handling and performance. Neglecting these tasks can result in uneven wear, reduced traction, and even safety hazards.

The total cost for a motorcycle tire change can vary a lot, depending on whether the wheels are on the motorcycle.

If the wheels are still on the motorcycle (i.e., ride-in service), the changing of the tires will cost more. The typical costs will vary between $45 and $110 per tire. A reasonable price, in this case, is about $40 to $75 per tire.

If the wheels have already been removed (i.e., carry-in service), then the cost to change the motorcycle tires will be significantly lower. The cost of replacing the tires, in this case, will be between $20 to $50 per tire.

Changing a motorcycle tire will vary greatly, so it always pays to shop around and get multiple quotes.

Why are there cost fluctuations?

One of the things that many new riders may not realize is how expensive the materials are, and how time-consuming changing the tire on a motorcycle is compared to a car.

Because of that, many shops and dealerships will charge between half an hour to an hour and a half per tire for labor costs (depending on the motorcycle). 

Shops and dealerships may charge about $100 per hour for labor costs or a flat rate of $50 to $75 per tire.

Another thing to consider is How Long Does it Take to Change Motorcycle Tires?. (This will heavily affect the labor costs and, thus, the overall cost of tire installation.)

The time will vary between motorcycles because not all are built the same. It is a lot easier to work on some motorcycles than others. Changing motorcycle tires can take between 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Here’s why.

On some motorcycles taking off the wheels and replacing the tires can be a simple process that takes no more than 30 minutes and, in fact, can be done faster manually compared to using a machine.

In comparison, on other motorcycles, simply removing the wheels can be a complicated process involving a number of different steps, which can take 2 to 3 hours.

Another thing to consider is that shops and dealerships often charge by book time (and not the actual time it takes them to change your tires). There are reference books that list how much time the different repair jobs on different motorcycles should take.

These times are used as a point of reference. They are averages and are used as a base for what shops will charge. If changing the tire on a specific motorcycle model is listed as a two-hour job, the shop will charge your labor costs for two hours, regardless of how long it actually took them.

Here’s the thing.

An apprentice may take more time to do said job, while an experienced mechanic may need a lot less time.

So by setting a standard rate, the shop ensures that they do not charge customers more when a new mechanic is working on your motorcycle. (because they will work slower and need more time).

For example, many shops will charge a standard 2 hours’ worth of labor for most motorcycles. On the other hand, Harley often charges 1 hour for the front tire and 1.5 hours for the rear tire.

The costs will also vary depending on where you live. In bigger cities, the costs of changing a motorcycle tire will almost always be significantly higher compared to a small town.

Next, let’s not forget that if you have tubes, which may need to be replaced, this will add more to the bottom line. Tubes may cost between $20 to $100 apiece. It also takes slightly longer to place the tubes, and there is always the risk of pinching the tube.

The costs will vary a lot depending on what shop you go to. Dealerships will almost always be on the more expensive side.

This means that at a dealership changing both tires plus tubes, including labour costs, can cost anywhere between $550 up to and in excess of $1,000.

Local independent shops and mechanics will usually charge the least for a motorcycle tire change; however, they may not always be able to sell the tires at the lowest possible price.

However, it is my belief that local shops should always be given a chance to match or beat the prices of other places as this will support your local community.

The average costs quoted above are costs that will include everything. However, not all shops may include the same services in their quotes. There may be additional costs for balancing and mounting each tire.

So it is important to keep an eye on what you are offered for the money you pay.

However, some good ballpark prices are $8 to $15 for balancing, $1.50 to $4.50 for installing rim stripes, and about $2 to $5 for disposal. Some of these prices may even be combined together.

Lastly, if you buy the tires from the shop, they will usually charge you less compared to bringing tires from a different place. Some places will even remove, balance, and mount the new tires for free if you buy the tires from them.

(And let’s not forget there will also be sales tax on top of those costs, which can be as much as 15%.)

Cost of Changing motorcycle Tires

How much does it cost to have new tires put on a motorcycle vs. retreads?

It costs between $250 and $1,100 to put new tires on a motorcycle, including the cost of the tires. The cost will depend on the type of tires and motorcycle, where you change them, and the tires’ quality. 

On average, putting on new motorcycle tires, which have been bought from the same shop, should cost between $250 and $550. Putting on new tires by yourself may cost between $100 and $300, depending on the type of tires and their quality.

Retreaded tires are old tires that have been used. Think of them as second-hand tires that have been refurbished. Retreaded tires are tires that have received new tread and are being resold. Retreaded tires receive a lot of bad rep. 

The authorities have not found retreaded tires to be any more dangerous than regular new tires. However, the reality may not be as promising.

Almost everyone has seen the retreaded tires that have come apart on the highway. And the problem is that you have two wheels, which means that they are exposed to a higher lateral force than other vehicles, and a failure in one of the tires will be a lot more dangerous.

The only advantage of treaded tires over new tires is the price. Treaded tires are up to 50% cheaper compared to comparable new tires.

Does the cost to change tires on a motorcycle include the cost of tires?

The cost of changing the tires on a motorcycle includes the cost of labor (the removing, mounting, and balancing of the tires) and disposal fees. However, the total does not always include the cost of the tires.

The cost of motorcycle tires varies between $60 and $500 per tire. On average, you can expect to pay about $150 to $300 for a motorcycle tire set. The actual cost will depend on the quality, brand, type, and the type of motorcycle.

It may interest you to know that the shops where you can buy your motorcycle tires will usually offer to mount them on your motorcycle as well. How much will that cost you will vary from place to place, but you can expect them to charge you between $0 and $100 for the whole deal if you buy your motorcycle tires from them.

Cost of Changing motorcycle Tires

Does the type of motorcycle tire affect the cost?

There are several different types of motorcycle tires. There are sport, touring, cruiser, ADV or dual sport, and offroad and motocross tires. There are also specialized sand tires.

With such a variety of motorcycle tires, one may wonder if the cost to change them may vary.

The type of tire does not significantly affect the cost of changing the motorcycle tires. 

For example, changing the tires of a dirt bike will cost, on average, between $25 to $40 for labor. Bringing only your wheel will cost you less than bringing in the whole dirt bike.

That being said, in general, changing the front tire is usually cheaper compared to changing the rear tire. The labor cost for changing the front tire can vary from $30 to $40, while the cost of changing the rear tire $50 to $80.

Keeping in mind that you may not necessarily have to change both tires on your motorcycle, this means that you can reduce your costs by about 30% to 50% if you will be replacing only the rear tire.

How much does it cost to change tires on a motorcycle by yourself?

To answer your question, yes, you can change the tires on your motorcycle on your own. This is a little time-consuming process and takes some elbow grease. However, knowing how to change and balance your motorcycle tires is a skill well worth having.

You will also have to have the necessary tools. Click on the images to order from Amazon.

Saving Money on Motorcycle Maintenance: A Guide to Understanding the Cost of Changing motorcycle Tires
Saving Money on Motorcycle Maintenance: A Guide to Understanding the Cost of Changing motorcycle Tires
Saving Money on Motorcycle Maintenance: A Guide to Understanding the Cost of Changing motorcycle Tires
  • Motorcycle lift, Motorcycle lift make the job easier in lifting your motorcycle too the ground and support it while you dismount the tire.
  • Motorcycle tire levers or a motorcycle changer, Tire irons are used to remove and install tires from the wheel. They come in various lengths and sizes, and it’s essential to choose the right size for your motorcycle tires.
  • Motorcycle rim protectors, rims protector can be place to keep your rim in good shape and avoid marks and scratches.
  • Bead breaker, A bead breaker is used to separate the tire bead from the rim. This tool is necessary for removing and installing tires.
  • Valve core tool, A valve stem tool is used to remove and install valve stems. This tool is necessary for replacing damaged or leaking valve stems.
  • Motorcycle wheel balancer, A wheel balancer is used to ensure proper balance after installing a new tire. Balancing your wheel is critical for optimal handling and performance.
  • Tire pressure gauge, after the installation and before every rides you should validate that your tires have the correct pressure.
Saving Money on Motorcycle Maintenance: A Guide to Understanding the Cost of Changing motorcycle Tires
Saving Money on Motorcycle Maintenance: A Guide to Understanding the Cost of Changing motorcycle Tires
Saving Money on Motorcycle Maintenance: A Guide to Understanding the Cost of Changing motorcycle Tires

The tools you will need to change your motorcycle tire will cost between $200 and $500. The front tire is easier to remove and change, however, the rear tire is usually a bit more challenging.

The initial investment in tools will more than pay for itself in the long run.

This is a good idea for the more DIY inclined, though, if you do not feel you are particularly handy, usually, the best route to take is to unmount both wheels and bring them to a local shop or a dealer.

Overall, changing your motorcycle tires on your own will cost you about $200 to $500 in tools (if you don’t have any), on top of the cost of the new tires, which will vary between $60 to $300 or more per tire and about 1 to 3 hours of your time.

How to Change Your Motorcycle Tires – Step-by-Step Guide

Changing your motorcycle tires can be a challenging task, but with the right tools and knowledge, it can be done. Here’s a step-by-step guide to changing your motorcycle tires:

  • 1. Remove the wheel from the motorcycle.
  • 2. Break the bead of the tire and remove it from the wheel using tire irons.
  • 3. Clean and inspect the wheel and rim for any damage or wear.
  • 4. Install the new tire onto the rim using tire irons.
  • 5. Inflate the tire and check for proper seating on the rim.
  • 6. Install the valve stem and attach the wheel to the motorcycle.
  • 7. Use a wheel balancer to ensure proper balance.

Changing your motorcycle tires yourself can save you money on labor costs. However, DIY tire changing requires specialized tools and knowledge, which can be a significant investment. Additionally, DIY tire changing can be time-consuming and potentially dangerous if not done correctly. Read this articles to know Can Motorcycle Tire Be Plugged? – Be the Hero and save the ride or Can You Patch Motorcycle Tire? Comprehensive Repair Guide.

When deciding whether to change your tires yourself or use a professional service, consider your budget, time constraints, and level of experience.

I really like the video from MC Garage…He is always right on with mechanical tips and tricks.

What is the cheapest way to change the tires on a motorcycle?

The cheapest way to change the tires on your motorcycle is to buy your own tires and install them by yourself. If you have the right tools and are sufficiently handy, this method will only cost you the price for the tires and a few hours of your time.

The next best solution is to take off the wheels and bring them to your local shop or dealer, buy your tires from them and have them install the tires for you. Some shops may charge you as little as $0 for labor if you buy the tires from them. Also note that this service can include pretty long delay from 24 to 48 hours. Last year in Quebec City, it was 2 weeks of waiting if you wanted your tire to be changed. Pretty long!!!

You will be quoted a higher price if you bring your whole motorcycle or if you buy your own tires and have the shop installed them for you.

Tips for Extending the Life of Your Motorcycle Tires

Regular maintenance is critical for extending the life of your motorcycle tires. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your tires:

  • Maintaining the correct tire pressure is essential for optimal handling, performance, and safety. Check your tire pressure at least once a week and adjust as needed.
  • Rotating your tires can help ensure even wear and extend their lifespan. Consult your motorcycle’s owner’s manual for recommended rotation intervals. In most of the case, the tire are not the same from front to back and they have a rotation side making rotation of your tire impossible.
  • Hard braking and acceleration can cause excessive wear and tear on your tires, reducing their lifespan. Practice smooth riding techniques to reduce stress on your tires.
  • Proper storage can help prevent unnecessary wear and tear on your tires. Store your motorcycle in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and moisture.

Conclusion – The Importance of Regular Tire Maintenance for Saving Money

Regular tire maintenance is essential for safe and enjoyable rides and can help you save money on motorcycle maintenance. Understanding the factors that affect the cost of tire replacement, choosing the right tire for your motorcycle, and following proper maintenance techniques can help extend the life of your tires and reduce overall maintenance costs. Whether you choose to change your tires yourself or use a professional service, investing in regular maintenance can help you get the most out of your motorcycle tires.

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