Tire news & information

Replacing your tires in the age of social distancing

Last updated 11/03/2023 - Originally published 9/24/2020
Written by SimpleTire

Whether it’s due to social distancing or just a busy calendar, sometimes it’s easiest to set things up so that you can get the job done without any one-on-one contact. The pace of modern life means that hardly anyone has time for things like going to a tire shop and spending a couple of hours in the waiting room, reading 6-month-old magazines and drinking lukewarm coffee while you wait for your tires to be installed.

Contact-Free Tire Replacement Options

For several years now, people have been handling these things remotely. Think of the dealerships where you can set up a service appointment via the internet and just drop off your car, leave your keys in their key drop and pick up the car the next day. Glass replacement companies have been working remotely and in many cases, without even seeing the customers in many places.

Convenient Service Around Your Schedule

There are mobile mechanics who come to where you are and can perform repairs in the parking lot while you’re at work, or companies who can do windshield replacement on location, where you never even see the tech. Getting hands-off service doesn’t mean you’re unsociable, it just means that you’ve got a packed schedule.

Here are your three contact-free tire replacement options:

1. Key Drops & Same-day Drop-off - Local Installation Centers

Many tire dealers offer same-day dropping off of keys for tire servicing as well as after-hours dropoff, where you can set things up with the store in advance, leave your car locked up outside, put your keys in an envelope--sometimes accompanied by a form provided online by the shop--and put inside an envelope before being placed in a dropbox.

For tire repair shops, the information on the form gives the service tech what he needs to start repairs.

Some tire replacement shops will have the tires you need in stock, or will offer similar tires to the ones you’re replacing or repairing.

If you want to supply your own tires, order the set you’re looking for from a reputable online retailer like SimpleTire and select the delivery location of your choice during the check-out process. Tires will be sent quickly and directly to the service center--no need to lug the tires there yourself!

When the business has what you need already stocked, you can drop off your vehicle the same day you call for replacement or repairs. With most service shops having some kind of a drop-off box, there’s no need to interact with anyone else, or spend time at the service desk doing paperwork.


  • Relatively easy for the customer and the service location
  • Fast service and flexibility of location and scheduling
  • Multiple service options - replace, rotate, and/or repair
  • Many service center choices available, including your usual local provider
  • Tires of your choice can be quickly and easily delivered to the center of your choosing
  • No physical contact necessary


  • Pick-up and drop off your vehicle is necessary
  • Wait times may be extended based on the number of vehicles already on-location
  • When requesting speedy service, you may be limited to the tires the shop has in stock

How a Key Drop Process Works

  • Call ahead and ensure they have availability that meets your schedule
  • They should be done on a day you are able to pick up your vehicle
  • Schedule an appointment for the when the work is to be performed
  • Drop your keys in the drop box at the service center
  • Pick up your car or truck after the work is completed
  • You can pay over the phone and have the service tech leave the keys in or around the car in a location of your choosing

2. Mobile Tire Repair Service


  • Very minimal customer effort - call, schedule, and pay - that’s it
  • Speedy service and flexibility of location and scheduling for ultimate convenience
  • Multiple service options - replace, rotate, and/or repair
  • Many service center choices available, including your usual local provider
  • The tires of your choice can be quickly and easily delivered to the center of your choosing
  • No physical contact necessary


  • Space to service your vehicle is necessary
  • Mobile tire servicing may cost slightly more than a traditional tire shop
  • When requesting speedy service, you may be limited to the tires the shop has in stock

How Mobile Tire Replacement Works

Anyone who’s caught a stray rock on the highway, or watched a hairline crack spread faster than a spider web over Green Goblin likely has heard of mobile servicing of auto glass repair. For those who haven’t, the concept is simple--call a mobile service center and have your broken car or truck window replaced whenever you are, whenever is convenient for you (and not yet booked).

Mobile tire replacement services work much the same way. Call up the service center of your choosing, verify the date and time of your replacement, and you’re all set.

3. Replacing Your Tires at Home

Changing your own tire by switching the old tire(s) with new tires can be quite difficult unless you’re swapping both the tires and rims, and the new set of tires are already mounted and balanced.

If you don’t have specialized equipment at your disposal and/or expertise in doing so, it’s advised you don’t go this route.

The hardest part is mounting and balancing the new tires properly. Tires that are not perfectly balanced can produce a number of undesirable side-effects, which is why--unless you already have the confidence, experience, and tools for the job--it’s not advisable to change your own tires unless you’re simply putting on new rims and tires, or a temporary spare.

SimpleTire Provides the Best of All Three

Other brick-and-mortar tire retailers have had to adapt to the times and offer online scheduling and key drops for after-hours service. In some cases, you can even set up a wheel alignment, oil change, or tire rotation while your vehicle is in their hands.

Buying a set of tires through SimpleTire is a completely hands-off process that allows for same-day and overnight key-drops, and the traditional drop-off, pick up later method, all serviced by the local shop of your choice. But SimpleTire’s process comes with some real advantages over the competition.

The SimpleTire System

We’ve assembled a network of tire retailers across the country who actually do the installation after you buy the tires through us -- your credit card never even has to leave your hands. We’ve built a system where we can use data and technology to find you the best deal on the tires you’re looking for, so we can find the exact brand and model of tires that line up with what you want.

To help with convenience and lack of human contact, we’re zeroing in on tire dealers that feature a key drop, so you can leave your vehicle at the store (even after hours, if you need to) and then come by to pick your car up after the job is complete.

Keeping It Local

One thing to keep in mind is that by going through SimpleTire, even if you’re just using a key drop arrangement where you’re never in direct contact with anyone, you’re helping to keep a local business above-water and keeping that money circulating in your community, a commitment to small businesses that's core to SimpleTire's mission. SimpleTire’s network has grown to over 10,000 stores across the United States, and chances are there are service centers near you to choose from.

Concierge Service

  • Check SimpleTire's online inventory to find the right tires for your vehicle
  • Enter your payment information to pre-pay for your tire installation
  • Tell us when you'd like to have your tires installed and our installation coordinators will find the right pre-certified service center nearest to you and take care of the scheduling
  • Choose the "Drop & Go" option at checkout to leave your keys in the key drop when you take your car in for service
  • Tires will be shipped to the service center or dealership in advance
  • Bring in your vehicle for your appointment at the time you choose and leave the keys in the key drop along with the pre-paid form we send via email
  • Pick up your vehicle when the installation is complete -- no hidden fees, no surprises

Comprehensive Service

While your vehicle is at the dealer, they might also be able to take care of TPMS service, oil change, brakes, alignment, or any other maintenance items you might have coming up...again, 100% hands-off with the key drop.

Pricing Meets Convenience

It’s the same reliable service, the same hard-to-beat pricing, and the same great selection of tires you’ve come to know from SimpleTire, with the added confidence that comes from knowing that you can stick by social distancing guidelines and still get your tires installed.

Peace of Mind

Your safety and peace of mind are more important than anything else. So, as always, feel free to browse our selection of passenger car and light truck tires, motorcycle tires, ag tires, RV and specialty tires and let us hook you up with a great deal. It’s business-as-usual at SimpleTire, which means the ease of key-drop service while offering great deals on the tires you want.

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