Does investing in tire mounting equipment actually save money?

By J.G. Pasterjak
Jun 23, 2024 | tires, wheels, tire mounting, wheel balancing | Posted in Shop Work , Tires & Wheels | From the June 2022 issue | Never miss an article

Photography by Chris Tropea

If you spend any time on track, then you know you’re going to go through tires at an accelerated pace. It just comes with the territory. And the expense of mounting and balancing those additional tires starts to add up.

In our case, we’d been paying a local tire chain about $130 to mount and balance a set of tires. We …

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Toyman! GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/11/22 12:55 p.m.


Edit: You spent a good bit more on the machines and the answer is still, yes. 


s2europa New Reader
5/11/22 1:33 p.m.

It's well worth it. You also can't find a tire shop open a 10:00 pm or 3:00 am, either. My manual Roger Krause tire machine ($300) has paid for itself many times over. I'm going to invest in a pneumatic one soon, since I am getting too old to do the manual one anymore. :)

SV reX
SV reX MegaDork
5/11/22 1:34 p.m.

I'd have to include the cost to build an addition on my shop to fit the machines...

Tom1200 UltraDork
5/11/22 2:11 p.m.

For those of you who do a lot of work it makes total sense. For people like me, who buy 2-3 sets of  tires per year (including race tires) it makes no sense whatsoever.  Also note the used tire place by me will do 4 tires for $85.

Good information on what the equipment actually costs.


APEowner GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
5/11/22 2:12 p.m.
SV reX said:

I'd have to include the cost to build an addition on my shop to fit the machines...

That's the challenge I have as well.  I'd love to have tire machines but I don't want to give up any of the equipment I'd have to displace to fit them in my shop.

klodkrawler05 HalfDork
5/11/22 2:43 p.m.

We bought our pair of machines used for $1000, then invested in a really nice air compressor for $1200, we kept a tire fund jar and kept all our "tips" from helping locals do tires for $20-50  set. Once we recouped our $2200 we closed up shop to all but our closest family/friends.

Wound up with free tire changing equipment and as mentioned above, no looking for a tire shop at 10pm at night, or paying $85 to swap a set of nearly used up tires onto wheels for a local autox event so you can save runs on your good sets etc. Heck if you aren't balancing track tires (why would you) then you can pretty much swap a set of tires in the time it would take to load them in the truck, run them to a tire shop and get back home. let alone waiting for them to be done, then driving another trip to/from the tire shop.

Toyman! GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/11/22 2:50 p.m.
Tom1200 said:

Good information on what the equipment actually costs.

Their price is for really good equipment at retail. 

My machines were about 20% of what they spent, new and delivered. Granted this was 5-6 years and a pile of inflation ago. 


Tom1200 UltraDork
5/11/22 4:18 p.m.

In reply to Toyman! :

Understood I remember a couple of you detailing what you spent.  Even at $1500 it would still take me 10-15 years to recoup the cost and I'm also lazy. The tire place a mile from my house turns them around same day. 

I also have 3-4 Llanteras open until midnight. I live in a heavily Hispanic neighborhood; there's taqueria truck in the same lot as the tire shop so I can get a yummy snack while I wait. 

SupraFiend New Reader
5/11/22 4:41 p.m.

It's worth mentioning the risks of doing your own wheels too.

I worked in mechanics shop just out of high school, and I found it a little challenging to get good at mounting as I didn't have to do it everyday. Slipped the press once and caught the edge of the rim and cracked a customers aluminum rim. That was a bad day.

Later in life I brought a pair of 10inch wide JDM wheels I wanted to squeeze some 225s on. The kid who did it didn't identify that the combo wasn't going to work and ended up gouging up the rim and ripped the tire. The shop paid to replace the tires and had the wheel refinished. A buddy of mine had the same thing happen to him once too.

If you run really low profile tires on fancy rims, I would recommend taking them to a pro with a high end machine.


bearmtnmartin (Forum Supporter)
bearmtnmartin (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
5/11/22 5:01 p.m.

How often does a tire need balancing? I have a friend who is in the tire business and he says new or undamaged tires rarely need balancing as they are naturally round when manufactured. (makes sense). He thinks balancers are often just a scam. And when you think about it, why do tires always need weight? Ever spun a new tire that the machine said did not require something? 

Heavy trucks rarely have wheels balanced other than steers. I have six old unbalanced 11r22.5 tires on the fossil and they run very smooth. I never balanced drive tires in almost two million miles in heavy trucks.  After impact damage or a skid or abnormal tire wear sure, but without those factors i am not convinced. I never heard of anyone balancing circle track tires either. The speeds are not as high as a road course but on a half mile track we will see over 100 for twenty minutes. 

Feel free to discuss!

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