At one point or another, we will get a puncture in one of our tires. It always seems to happen at the worst times as well! Right before an important meeting, on a family vacation when you are supposed to be relaxing, or on a Sunday when most tire service centers are closed. But there is one place that sells tires which is always open, Walmart.
Luckily, Walmart does perform tire repairs and will most certainly patch your tire. Be warned that if you do not have an appointment, you may have a wait time if they are busy with other customers. Fortunately, they are pretty cheap at around $10 to $15 per tire patch job, so it can be worth the wait.
What Services Does Walmart Provide?
Along with tire patching, Walmart also offers some additional services for both your tires and your vehicle.
- Tire mounting installation package – Walmart will mount any new tires to your rims. If you bought the tires from Walmart the mounting service will cost, you $15 per tire. If the tires are not bought from Walmart, then the charge is an extra $10 per tire for a total of $25 per tire, or $100 for all four tires.
The tire installation package also comes with some additional services. Is comes with a Valve stems/TPMS service pack, a Lifetime balance and rotation every 7,500 miles, and a 50-mile lug re-torque.
- Tire rotation and balancing– Walmart will rotate your tires for the low price of $2.50 per tire which is far cheaper than the industry average of $25 to $50 for all four tires. Additionally, Walmart offers a $14 per tire lifetime balance and rotation package.
- Lug nut replacement – Other than buying the lug nuts off the shelf, Walmart offers lug nut replacement if you bought the tire from Walmart. It is not free however and will cost you $2 per lug nut.
Other Vehicle Maintenance
- Oil change – For $20 to $50 you can get your vehicle’s oil changed at Walmart. Keep in mind that you should make sure that the correct oil is used for your vehicle.
- Wiper blade installation – If you buy the wiper blades from Walmart the installation is free. On average the wiper blades cost $10 per blade.
- Air filter installation – Once again, installation is free if you buy from Walmart. Unless you need a cabin air filter then the installation cost $10.
- Battery installation – A battery bought from Walmart is free to install, however a battery not bought from Walmart cost $10 to install. Additionally, Walmart offers non-corrosion treatment and terminal end replacement at $3.50 and $5.00 respectively.
- Headlight installation – A headlight installation will set you back $7.50 a headlight. Walmart also provides a headlight restoration service which costs $25.00 per headlight.
How Does Walmart Perform a Patch Job?
Walmart follows the USTMA (United States Tire Manufacturer Association) guidelines when it comes to tire repairs. This means that they use patch kits to repair your tire and not plug kits. Additionally, they cannot patch all tire damage as some tire damage is considered unrepairable due to safety issues.
Irreparable damage can be defined in several different ways. Firstly, for the damage to be deemed repairable, it needs to be well within the treaded area. This area is defined as being half an inch from the edges of the steel belt which is located under the tread.
If the damage is within half an inch of the belt edge, on the shoulder, or anywhere on the sidewall then the tire must be discarded for safety reasons. A tire with this kind of damage is likely to blow out because of the constant expanding and contracting of the rubber as the tire rotates.
Furthermore, any damage which results in a hole larger than one-quarter of an inch, has punctured the tire diagonally, has an irregular shape, or has severed the steel belt cannot be repaired. These are all for safety reasons and it is important to understand that when this happens you do need to buy a new tire.
How Can You Schedule an Appointment?
Luckily, it is super easy to schedule an appointment for any of your tire needs. They have a user-friendly system to do so online which will help you schedule exactly what you need. If you don’t want to do it through the online method, you can call your local Walmart and do it all over the phone.
Does Walmart Sell Tire Patch Kits?
Yes, Walmart does sell tire patch kits separately. On average you can get a tire patch kit from $10 to $20. Some tire patch kits will be more expensive, as much as $70, so it’s really up to you. My advice is to read reviews, look up comparison videos, or just go for the most expensive one.
Can You Patch a Tire Yourself?
It is possible to do your own tire patch repair. As mentioned above, Walmart sells many patches, plugs, or additional tools which you would need. Keep in mind that you will need to remove the tire from the rim in order to perform a proper patch job.
How Do You Patch a Tire?
The first step is to remove the wheel from the vehicle and find the damaged area. An easy way to do this is to spray soapy water on the tire and look for bubbles. Once you have found the damage and marked it so you can find it again later, you will want to release all the air out of the tire and remove the tire from the rim.
You may want to simply use a plug kit because it is easier and you don’t need to remove the tire from the rim, however, these plugs never last and are likely to start leaking again. Keeping this in mind, you do need to plug the hole before actually patching it.
If the damage is repairable, then the puncture hole’s edges have to be filed smooth so that it does not expand any further. The surface area around the puncture on the inside of the tire also needs to be cleaned and prepared so that the patch holds.
After preparing the hole and cleaning the inside area where the patch is going to be applied, the hole needs to be filled. As mentioned above you can do this with a tire plug (solid rubber stem) or you can use a suitable vulcanizing material. Said material will often come with the kit.
Once the hole is plugged the inside of the tire should be cleaned up again and made smooth so that the patch will adhere to the rubber surface. Sometimes the instructions for applying the patches are different to one another because the bonding material works differently.
Either way, applying the patch should be straightforward, like sticking a sticker. Once you are done and the patch has had some time to set, you are free to put the tire back on the rim and check your work. If there is no more leak you are good to go.
Keep in mind that your tire is not good as new now. Once a puncher has occurred and a patchwork is performed the tire will not be able to perform the same way. You might have the same amount of grip; however, the top speed of the tire and long-distance travel range has been reduced.
This is because heat builds up due to high speeds and many consistent hours of use. The heat buildup could lead to the patch coming off, resulting in a loss of air pressure. The reason for this is because the tire and patch expands and contracts at different rates, essentially ripping the patch off.
Walmart does perform tire repair work for around $10 to $15 per tire patch job. The price could be a little higher in your area, but not by much. Additionally, if the tire cannot be repaired Walmart can sell you a new tire or install a full spare for a fee of $10.
Be warned that Walmart can have long waiting times so if it is possible, you should schedule an appointment. Furthermore, if your tires are covered by Walmart’s Road Hazard protection plan then they will patch your tire for free.