Having your motorcycle tires changed is not exactly cheap.
In fact, many new riders get surprised by the quotes they receive for changing their motorcycle tires. Naturally, this brings up a few questions like what is considered a normal price for changing the tires on a motorcycle?
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.
Ride-in service vs. carry-in service costs
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 it takes 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.
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, and including labor 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 7.25%.)
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.
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.
- Motorcycle lift
- Motorcycle tire levers or a motorcycle changer
- Motorcycle rim protectors
- Bead breaker
- Valve core tool
- Motorcycle wheel balancer
- Tire pressure gauge.
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.
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.
See article: Is it worth It to change your own motorcycle tires?
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.
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.