Different studies show that up to 80% of Americans have experienced a flat tire, with an average motorist experiencing an average of 5 flat tires in their lifetime. Luckily, most flat tires are repairable by patching.
So, how much does it cost to get a tire patched? Before getting into the cost, let’s talk about whether it’s worth patching a tire and when to replace instead of patching.
Is it worth patching a tire?
Yes, patching is one safe way of repairing a flat tire, especially if the puncture is small. This is only if patching is done professionally and the tire is in good condition. Industry standards on tire repair indicate that patching is safe for punctures that occur within the tread area and are less than 1/4 inches in diameter. Patching is also cheaper than replacing a tire especially if the tire is fairly new.
How Much Does It Cost To Get A Tire Patched?
1. Free patching
It will be free to patch your tire if you live in an area where there is a business that offers free patching services. Some chain stores offer this service to attract motorists to their business, while other companies offer free tire patching as part of their warranty.
For instance, Les Schwab offers free tire repair to their customers across their 510 locations. Costco also offers free repair if the tire was installed by Costco. If the tire was bought and installed elsewhere you will pay less than $20.
So, in case of a flat tire, review the fine details of your tire warranty and look if there is free repair. If it’s not, Google “free tire repair near me” and see if there is a business offering free tire patching.
2. Patching it Yourself
Patching a tire will also be free if you know how to do it yourself. However, not everybody can do this. Different studies show that only a small number of Americans can patch a tire by themselves.
To patch a tire by yourself, you will need a tire puncture kit, which comes with everything you will need, including pliers, a T-handle insert tool, a T-handle spiral probe tool, string plugs, and sealing lubricants. The tool in the kit will also limit what you can do. Most kits can only do plugging.
Patching a tire by yourself is further complicated by the fact that you have to remove the tire, remove the rim, patch the tire, and then reinstall the tire. This means you will require extra equipment to jack up the car, remove the tire and reinstall it. I would only recommend this if you know what you are doing.
3. Professional Patching – How much does it cost to patch a wheel?
When you take your car to a repair shop, it will cost you anywhere between $10 to $40 to patch a tire, depending on where you live. A professional mechanic will take up to 20 minutes to patch a tire depending on the puncture size and location of the puncture. So, if a mechanic charges $100 per hour. You will pay 1/3x $100, which is about $30. The labor cost depends on where you live. The total cost will also depend on what else the mechanic recommends, for instance, a sealant may be an additional cost.
The cost of patching a tire ranges from $0 to $40 depending on location and the severity of the puncture. It will be free if your warranty includes free tire installation and if you are lucky to find a chain store or auto center that offers free patching. In other auto shops, the cost will depend on the time the mechanic takes to patch the tire. Remember, not all punctures are repairable. You should replace the tire if a puncture happens outside the tread area.
Sam is Automole’s editor-in-chief and classic car enthusiast. Sam is studying mechanical engineering at Cockrell School of Engineering, Austin. He also writes for many top automotive publications and appears on the Collecting Cars Podcast.