Changing Tires For Free: does AAA do it?

A couple of days ago, I got a call from a friend of mine whose car had a flat tire. They had an AAA membership and called me to ask ‘Does AAA change tires for free?’ This question is faced by many technicians all over the USA and Canada. 

The answer is yes, AAA does change tires for free for their members! AAA changing the tire for free depends on whether the car owner has an AAA membership or not. If the owner of the car with a flat tire does not have an AAA membership, they have to pay for the tire change. 

But changing tires is not the only service provided by AAA. They have a whole host of services that the members can avail of. These services include-

  • Changing tires
  • Towing cars with no spare tires
  • Supplying fuel
  • Jump starting cars
  • Delivering and installing the battery
  • Charging electric vehicles when in emergency
  • Extricating
  • Providing rental car services
  • Helping out with bicycle breakdown
  • Providing car locksmith services etc.
does aaa change tires for free?

Can You Change Tires For Free With An AAA Membership?

Flat tires are always a pain in the rear. Doesn’t matter whether someone is in an urban area or the desert, a flat tire means not only a loss of time but also resources. I have received plenty of calls where a person was just backing out of their driveway and found out that they had a flat tire. This is where having an AAA membership comes in.

For those with AAA memberships, all they need to do in case of a flat tire is to call AAA and they will be where their car is. But what happens when someone doesn’t have an AAA membership? They don’t have to worry as they can also avail of AAA services by paying the standard bill. 

Irrespective of someone having their membership, a person will not be able to change tires for free with AAA if they don’t have a spare tire. AAA does not provide a spare tire. They only change a flat tire if the owner already has a spare tire at hand. 

What Happens If Someone Doesn’t Have Spare Tires?

As a technician, I have to deal with a lot of people in a lot of different scenarios. Almost half the time I get calls from people who don’t have a spare tire in their car. If that happens, AAA will not bring a spare tire with them. But they won’t leave the drivers to smack dab in the middle of the road either. 

AAA membership services will enable a person to have their car towed to a nearby repair station. This service is free up to the amount paid by the membership. For example, a premier membership of 170 dollars will enable the driver to have their car towed for 200 miles at first. After the initial trip of 200 miles, the membership will cover 100 miles of towing. 

What Are The Membership Tiers Of AAA?

There are three membership tiers of AAA. They are Classic, Plus, and Premier. All of these membership tiers cover up to 4 incidents in a single year. The Classic tier costs 79.50 dollars per year. Apart from free tire changes, this tier offers 7 miles of free towing, car locksmith services up to 50 USD, and discounted rental car services among other amenities. 

Next up is the Plus tier. Members of this tier have to pay 130 dollars a year. They can enjoy free towing services up to 100 miles along with other upgraded services such as free extrication with an additional truck being covered. Other services include a 100-mile bicycle transport in case of a breakdown, up to 1000 dollars worth of legal defense reimbursement, etc. 

The topmost tier is the Premier tier. This tier costs 170 dollars and includes the aforementioned 300-mile towing service for free. This tier also includes facilities such as a trip interruption reimbursement of up to 1500 USD and an extra 10000 dollars’ worth of identity theft protection.

It is very easy to buy an AAA membership. One has to go to the official AAA membership website and follow the appropriate steps to become an AAA member.

Does AAA Inflate Tires?

A flat tire doesn’t always result in the tire being replaced. Sometimes the tire just needs to be inflated and it becomes as good as new. But does AAA put air into deflated tires? Yes, they do.

The inflation of tires also falls under flat tire services. As a result, members don’t have to pay AAA to inflate their tires.

Does AAA Membership Cover Repair Tires?

AAA membership only covers replacing flat tires. If a tire is flat and has to be repaired, AAA will not provide reparation services. They will tow the car to a repair station. The station will then quote their price to repair the flat tire.

What Is The Average Cost Of Replacing A Tire?

If all the necessary tools are available, one can change their flat tire themselves. The necessary tools for replacing flat tires are-

  • A spare tire
  • Manual Jack
  • Lug Wrench
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Wheel wedge

All these tools will cost between 49 to 850 dollars except the tire. The cost of the tire will depend on its condition of it. A retreaded tire will only cost 20 dollars, while newer tires can cost 100 dollars to a grand. So the total cost of changing a flat tire will be in the range of 60 to 1850 dollars. 

Changing a flat tire in a repair shop varies from place to place. The cost can vary between 300 to 600 dollars.

people also ask (FAQs)

1. What If I Don’t Have A Spare Tire?

Most modern cars don’t come with a set of spare tires. In case you have a flat tire but don’t have a spare tire in your car, you can use emergency tire kits to patch it up. These kits contain a tire sealant as well as a tire inflator. 

2. How Long Does It Take To Change A Tire?

Changing a tire does not take much time. The time depends on the equipment used to change tires. On average, changing all 4 tires of a car takes 30 to 45 minutes. This means one tire takes 7 to 11 minutes to be changed. 

3. Can I Drive A Mile On A Flat Tire?

When you have a flat tire, it’s best to drive the car as little as possible. The highest distance that a car should be driven with a flat tire should be around 200 meters. So driving a car with a flat tire for a mile is a big no-no.

Final Words

Almost everyone with a flat tire and an AAA membership has asked ‘Does AAA change tires for free?’ at one point or another. They do if anyone has their membership and spare tires with them. But they don’t repair tires or patch them up. 

In case of a spare tire is absent, AAA provides towing service. This towing service is free up to a point depending on the membership tier. Even if anyone doesn’t have AAA memberships, they can use AAA services after providing the required amount.

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Mahir Ahmed


I'm the guy responsible for ensuring honest, informative, accurate and helpful guide to the reader.

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