Nearly every car owner has needed to replace their tires at some point. Whether it's because of a flat (or two), wear and tear from age, structural issues, or swapping out for seasonal tread tires, tire installation is routine for many auto shops. Seasoned gearheads might be willing to tackle a tire project at home, but everyone else will probably need to pay for professional installation. There are a few different installation options to examine, depending on the situation.
Installation with Purchase
When purchasing new tires from a retailer or auto shop, there will often be packages that include mounting and balancing. While it is possible to buy just tires, it's typically easier to pay a little bit more to have them professionally installed at the time of purchase. After removing the vehicle's wheels, the old tires will be unmounted and (usually) discarded in accordance to local regulations. The new tires will then be put on the rims, then balanced using weights, and then installed back on the vehicle. This method will require a single payment from the customer, which includes both the cost of the tires and the mounting service package.
In some situations, tires and installation will need to be purchased separately -- for example, when purchasing used tires from a private party or installing seasonal tires that were purchased at a previous time. Keep in mind that some tire chains are not able to mount used or pre-purchased tires, so this method may require a little more research. In this case, a local body shop or independent mechanic might be your best bet.
Tire Repair Installation
If a tire is flat, it needs to be replaced or repaired. If the damaged tire remains structurally sound (i.e., no holes in the sidewall or broken belts), repair may be an option. Any reputable repair will require unmounting the tire from the wheel, applying a patch, and reinstalling the repaired tire. In this situation, installation should be included in the repair price.
At-home installation typically requires some specialized tire equipment and doesn't come with any hard guarantee that the job has been done right. However, this is the cheapest option for well-equipped private garages.
Tire replacement and installation is something that almost all vehicle operators will need to deal with at some point. Tire installation is a project that can be tackled either at home or professionally through a mechanic or tire retailer, depending on personal preference and mechanical knowledge. Professional installation options should be available regardless of where the replacement tires were purchased, and the actual installation process probably isn't as involved as it seems.
Visit a tire installation shop like Lee Tire for more information.