Tire Installation Cost Comparison
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Tire Installation Cost Comparison: What's the Best Place to Get New Tires?

Shopping around for the best deal on dependable, quality tires isn't as simple as comparing advertised prices. Most do not include installation as part of the deal, and it can easily add from $50 to more than $100 to the "out the door" cost of new tires. Don't waste time spinning your wheels searching for the right installer. We compared prices and service packages at eight top nationwide chains that sell and install tires: Walmart, Sears, Sam's Club, Pep Boys, Discount Tire (America's Tire), NTB (Tire Kingdom), Costco, and BJ's. Our roundup also takes into account how each store rates for additional services, selection, scheduling convenience, and opportunities for extra savings.

What we found is that warehouse clubs are the best place for tire installation. Our winner, Sam's Club, edges out rival Costco by offering not only an expansive set of services for a low price but also 24/7 roadside assistance for flat tires — nice peace of mind for drivers who don't already belong to AAA or another automobile club.

Tire Installation Cost Comparison

ChainInstallationAdditional Fees
(per tire)
Included ExtrasOptional Tire Services
BJ's$60 for 4 wheels
($15 each)
TPMS kit: Fees may vary.
(Valve stems and tire disposal included.)
- Lifetime rotation and balancing
- Flat repairs
- Inflation checks
N/A
Costco$60 for 4 wheels
($15 each)
TPMS kit: $3
(Valve stems and tire disposal included.)
- Lifetime rotation and balancing
- Flat repairs
- Inflation checks
N/A
Discount Tire$84 for 4 wheels
($21 each)
Tire disposal: $2.75
(TPMS kit and valve stems included.)

- Lifetime rotation and balancing
- Flat repairs
- Inflation checks
N/A
NTB$68 for 4 wheels
($17 each)
TPMS kit: $8
Tire disposal: $3
- Lifetime rotation- Lifetime balance upgrade: $8/tire
- Wheel alignment: $90
- 1-year wheel alignment: $125
- 3-year wheel alignment: $170
- 5-year wheel alignment: $210
Pep Boys$90 for 4 wheels
($22.50 each)
None
(TPMS kit, valve stems, and tire disposal included.)
- Lifetime rotation
- Inflation checks
- Vehicle inspection
- Treadwear mileage warranty
- 1-year roadside assistance
- 3-month wheel alignment: $90
- 1-year wheel alignment: $110
- 3-year wheel alignment: $140
- Lifetime wheel alignment: $180
Sam's Club$60 for 4 wheels
($15 each; $25 for dually trucks and motorhomes)
TPMS kit: Fees may vary.
(Valve stems, TPMS reset, and tire disposal included.)
- Lifetime rotation and balancing
- Flat repairs
- Road hazard warranty
- 3 years of roadside assistance
N/A
Sears$76 for 4 wheels
($19 each)
TPMS kit: $11
Tire disposal: $3
Rubber valve stem: $2.99
- Lifetime rotation and balancing
- Multi-point inspection
- 1-year alignment: $130
- 6-month alignment: $100
- Brake evaluation: $15
Walmart$60 for 4 wheels
($15 each; $25 for tires not from Walmart)
Tire disposal: Fees may vary.
(TPMS kit and valve stems included.)
- Lifetime rotation and balancingN/A

*Prices may vary by location and are subject to change.

Our quotes came from stores in western Ohio, but online searches showed that prices at other locations as far afield as California and New Jersey were often comparable. Still, there's no guarantee they'll be the same at your local store.

More important than the base price for discount tire installation is what's included in the package and what carries an extra fee. We found wide variation among installers, and the a la carte items at some chains certainly add up. While some installers cover disposal of old tires, others charge extra. Basic parts needed to get tires mounted, like rubber valve stems and tire pressure monitoring system service kits, can also carry additional fees, charged per tire. Although these costs can seem small, taken together for four wheels, they can make a supposedly cheap tire installation much pricier than anticipated. Sears' fairly low base rate of $19 per tire jumps to $33 once disposal and TPMS kit fees are factored in, pushing the total cost for installing four tires to $132 (excluding taxes and state environmental fees, if required). At Pep Boys, the installation price of almost $23 seems pretty hefty at first glance, but there are no hidden fees, so customers pay only $90 in total. They also get a package of extra services that Sears doesn't include.

Extra Services

Packages that include freebies like lifetime rotation and balancing, road hazard coverage, and roadside assistance can save on future maintenance bills and prove absolutely priceless in a pinch. At Walmart, for instance, lifetime tire rotation is included in the install package. Considering the recommendations that tires be rotated every six months and changed every six years, that's 12 anticipated rotations — which would cost $120 based on Walmart's a la carte price of $10 for four wheels ($2.50 each). Lifetime balancing is also free with a Walmart install but would add $36 to the total bill at NTB, where opting for this "upgrade" comes with a surcharge of $8 per tire.

If you want to be able to handle all your tire maintenance with the same shop, it's good to find out in advance whether an installer also offers wheel alignment, which can extend the life of your tires while keeping you steering straight. Many of the chains on our list don't provide this service. Others, like NTB, Sears, and Pep Boys, are full-service shops that not only offer wheel alignment but can also help with a host of other vehicle maintenance and repair needs — from oil and fluid changes to battery installation and brake and engine checks.

Convenience

The range of tires available, the size of the inventory, and the convenience of scheduling an appointment also factored into our ranking. For example, it might be worth spending a tiny bit more at a vendor like Discount Tire, which is known for stocking many cheap tires and even has its own Road Hugger house brand. Costco customers get a lower price on installation but won't find any discount-brand tires — the club deals only in big names and features just three major brands.

When we searched online for a set of Michelin Defender T+H 205/55R16 tires (one of the most popular sizes) for a hypothetical 2013 Honda Civic EX sedan, only the local Discount Tire showed that type and size in stock and ready to install right away. Most others indicated they could have them in one to three days. Costco required the longest wait, with an estimate of five to 10 days for the tires to be special-ordered, then shipped and available for pickup.

While most of these stores are happy to try to accommodate walk-ins for in-stock tires installed today, only a few allow customers to schedule appointments for same-day service. Our Walmart does not take advance appointments of any kind — very inconvenient if you need to plan your work day or other responsibilities around having your car serviced. Walmart Auto Care Centers do open early, though. Our local shop boasts a 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. schedule. NTB locations also tend to open early and close late. And although it was not always the case in our area, we found that many Pep Boys stores keep their doors open until 9 p.m. to cater to the after-work crowd.

Tire Prices

It may be surprising, but one thing that probably shouldn't factor too much into your choice of installers is tire prices. Barring special sales or coupons offered at each retailer, we found that if you've got a specific brand and type of tires in mind for your vehicle, you may find that differences in installers' "available today" inventories are more glaring than disparities in prices. We found that we'd pay nearly the same amount for that Michelin Defender T + H tire we used as a basis for comparison no matter where we shopped. The lowest-priced store, Discount Tire had them for $122 each, while the steepest price tag was only $6 higher at NTB; most others fell somewhere between $124 and $125. And these prices were right in line with online vendor Tire Rack's asking price of $124 — although two years of road hazard coverage came with that purchase.

While online sellers like Tire Rack can save you money upfront, and ship tires free to your home or directly to one of the company's recommended installers, prices quoted by these local vendors can vary widely. And, often, installation for tires purchased elsewhere may come with extra surcharges and not include amenities or guarantees offered to customers who buy directly from the shop.

Know Before You Go

How often should tires be replaced? The official consensus is that tires have a lifespan of about six years (although some manufacturers say tires can last as long as 10 years). But regardless of the age of the wheel, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends tires should be replaced when the tread depth reaches 2/32 inch. This is the legal limit in most states. Go to NHTSA.gov for safety information, tutorials on measuring tire wear and determining the age of your tires, and tips on proper maintenance.

Is it okay to replace two tires at a time? That depends on whether your car is AWD, 4-wheel drive, front-wheel drive, or rear-wheel drive. It is always recommended that you replace all four tires on an AWD or 4-wheel-drive vehicle. Driving on tires with differing degrees of wear can cause serious problems with AWD systems, especially, and can damage the drivetrain. Many experts suggest you replace the tires on all four wheels of a front- or rear-wheel-drive car, as well. At the very least, you should replace at least two at a time, and the new set should always be mounted on the rear axle, where steady traction and braking is most important.

How long does it take for tire installation? Experts say that it should take about an hour to change all four wheels. Pep Boys claims it can do a full install in about 45 minutes to an hour. We were told by technicians at Sears that the job is generally completed in one to two hours.

What does "TPMS service" mean? All newer cars manufactured after 2008 are equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system. Sensors in the tires monitor the air pressure and transmit a signal to alert drivers when the pressure is too low and may present a safety hazard. It's recommended (and often required) that these sensors be replaced when new tires are installed. The parts needed for the replacement are referred to as TPMS service kits, TPMS repair kits, or TPMS rebuild kits. Some TPMS systems may also need to be reset when the tires are changed (or after rotations).

Reviews

Learn more about eight top tire installation chains, ranked from "decent enough" to "what a deal!"

8. Sears Auto Center

At Sears, we were quoted $19 per tire for a "performance balance" installation package that covers mounting, lifetime balancing and tire rotation, and a multi-point inspection. But there's an additional cost for items sometimes included in competitors' cheaper packages, such as $3 per tire for disposal, $3 each for rubber valve stems, and a steep $11 per tire charge for a TPMS kit. If you want road hazard coverage for tire failure under normal driving conditions, you can get it only if you purchase a premium 1-year alignment maintenance package, which costs about $120.

Sears Auto CenterAlong with tire installation, you can have the mechanic check the brakes on your vehicle for an additional $15. And, of course, Sears Auto Centers tackle the full gamut of automotive needs, from oil changes to battery and engine checks. Be sure to search the website to see if there are any coupons for tire deals or other services before scheduling an appointment. Members of the Shop Your Way rewards program can earn points on auto purchases and may be eligible to save with other deals and discounts.

Customers who prefer to shop for their wheels elsewhere online might like to know that Sears is an official partner for Amazon tire purchases. Simply select your brand, and you'll be offered the option to arrange for professional installation. Pick which service center you'd like to use, and Amazon will ship the tires there directly for pickup. The Sears install fee we saw on Amazon was a few dollars less than our quoted rate but may or may not include all perks in that package.

7. NTB/Tire Kingdom

National Tire & Battery is owned by the same company as Tire Kingdom, with more than 700 locations in 26 states across the two brands. At NTB, we were quoted $17 per tire for basic installation, which includes mounting, one-time balancing, and free lifetime rotation. But with TPMS kits, the cost jumps to about $25 per tire. Disposal, often included at other shops, is an extra $3 per tire. Lifetime balancing is another $32 (if purchased for all four wheels). Road-hazard warranties vary depending on the tires, but the price is generally about 16% of the cost of the tire. For example, road hazard coverage was $20.48 for a Michelin Defender T+H wheel priced at $128.

Although NTB had its share of add-on fees, we did find a lot of coupons and promotions on its website, with special offers prominently featured on tire search pages. Something else that will be appreciated by busy types who need their tires today: Online scheduling allows customers to choose from appointment slots available the very same day; no need to waste time waiting around as a walk-in. And you'll find a full roster of automotive services at NTB and the other stores in this group, including tire repair and wheel alignment; battery, brake, and suspension service; oil changes and fluid exchanges; and vehicle inspections.

6. Pep Boys

Pep Boys' quote of nearly $23 per tire is on the higher side, but it does include a fair amount: disposal, balancing, mounting, and a TPMS kit for vehicles with a tire pressure monitoring system. Buying tires onsite also comes with one year of roadside assistance, a courtesy vehicle inspection, free lifetime rotations and air-pressure checks, in addition to a treadwear mileage warranty. A road-hazard warranty would typically add from $7.50 to $19.50 per tire to the tab depending on the tirel brand purchased, although, according to the store rep we spoke to, ordering a specialty premium tire for your vehicle could push that cost as high as $50.

Although it does have online scheduling, the shop doesn't take advance appointments for same-day service, but customers are welcome to take a shot at a walk-in visit. A scheduling tip: Mid-week days, like Wednesday and Thursday, are best and should be least busy. Also, Pep Boy locations tend to open pretty early, around 7 a.m. or 7:30 a.m., which may help if you want to bring in your vehicle before work.

See Pep Boys' "Savings" page for coupons, special online deals, and manufacturer rebates. You might also find discounts for other maintenance and repair needs Pep Boys covers — from state inspections to oil changes to brake, battery, and engine services.

5. Discount Tire/America's Tire

Discount Tire, owned by the same company as America's Tire (the name varies by region), claims a $21 base price for tire installation. That includes lifetime rotation, balancing, flat repairs, inspections, air checks, and TPMS kits but not tire disposal, which adds another $2.75 a tire. Road hazard coverage is lumped into the chain's certificate for repair, refund, or replacement, which covers a new set of tires for three years after purchase. The cost of these certificates varies based on brand and type (coverage rates for pricier tires and performance tires are higher) but generally runs about 13% to 16% of the tire price.

True to this shop's reputation for having a wealth of tires on hand, our online searches found many options in our desired size ready for pickup today. Some others would take an extra day to arrive from the warehouse, or three to five days to be shipped from elsewhere. A convenient graph on the scheduling page suggested the best times to come in for an appointment each day based on hourly traffic estimates.

The website is designed to make it easy for customers to find ways to save, with tires that are eligible for manufacturer rebates or other discounts clearly labeled. You can search the "Promotions" page for a full list of deals and find information there on expired offers that still carry active rebate coupons. Just keep in mind this is not a one-stop shop: Discount Tire's focus is on installing tires; it doesn't offer wheel alignment or address other automotive issues.

4. Walmart

In our comparison of oil change services, Walmart came out on top as the cheapest option. When it comes to tire installation, the $15-per-wheel fee is pretty low, but Walmart's package is less generous than other brands'. Included are mounting, valve stems, TPMS kits, and lifetime balance and rotation every 7,500 miles, plus tightening of the lug nuts after the first 50 miles. But disposal is extra: $1.50 per tire, according to our local store. With a road hazard warranty, the total price jumps to $25 a tire, and the guarantee applies only to tires bought at Walmart. If you don't buy from Walmart, installation is an additional $10 per wheel. Walmart also doesn't do wheel alignments, although Walmart auto centers do offer a range of services for your car's battery, engine, and fuel system.

If you purchase tires online, you can arrange to have them sent directly to the Auto Care Center and get a message when the new set is ready for pickup (you have seven days to get them). But unlike many of the other stores, Walmart doesn't take appointments — only walk-ins. So whether your order comes in today or next week, there's no telling when you'll get to see an installer. Information from Walmart's customer help center explains the process. And be sure to pay attention to whether the tires you buy are sold and shipped by Walmart — tires from marketplace vendors on Walmart.com are subject to the extra installation fee.

For a roundup of Walmart tire deals and to search for coupons, navigate to the tires landing page, where you'll find links to tires on "rollback" discount and clearance, as well as manufacturer rebates. You can shop by category (from passenger tires to trailer tires), brand, size, type (i.e., all-terrain, performance, snow tires), or vehicle.

3. BJ's

BJ's, a warehouse club with around 216 locations concentrated on the East Coast, offers members auto services and a wide variety of tire types and brands for sale. The installation package costs $15 a tire and includes lifetime rotation, balancing, flat repairs, and inflation checks. A road hazard warranty is offered for free — a deal that places BJ's ahead of Walmart in our ranking. The megastore offers a similar package for the same price, but road hazard coverage for a full set of wheels would cost an additional $40. Another perk: Tire disposal is free, although TPMS kits may add around $5 per tire, according to the clubs we contacted. But, unlike Walmart, BJ's is open only to members and will not install tires purchased elsewhere. And BJ's does not provide oil changes and the like.

Tire shoppers looking for deals don't have to search around to find them on the BJ's website. Not only is there a special page dedicated to current offers, but for every type of tire, all available coupons, rebates, or specials that can be applied appear right alongside the initial quote and are automatically applied at checkout. You can schedule appointments online, and while you won't necessarily get tires ordered on the website today, you can filter results to show only those are available for next-day appointments. Members can also buy tires in-store and try to see an installer as a walk-in customer, rather than schedule a pickup.

2. Costco

Costco members can buy tires at a warehouse club location or online and have them sent to a local store for free, shipping and handling included. Installation costs $15 a tire and includes mounting, new rubber valve stems, nitrogen tire inflation (which helps maintain better pressure than compressed air), and old tire disposal. Cars that have TPMS systems face an additional $3 service charge per tire. Buyers are entitled to balancing and rotation, inflation and pressure checks, and flat repairs over the life of the tire, as well as a free five-year road hazard warranty.

If you buy tires from Costco online, you might have to be patient — it's unlikely you'll be able to get your new wheels today. Although we were told it's sometimes possible to arrange for same-day service with in-stock items (the install can be scheduled online or at the warehouse; walk-ins welcome), most of the tires we saw in our searches would take five to 10 days to arrive for pickup. There's a fairly limited selection, too, as the club primarily carries three brands: Bridgestone, Michelin, and BFGoodrich. (If you want RV tires, or tires for your trailer, ATV, or UTV, Costco offers Greenball lines.) The limited choice of brands means less opportunity for manufacturer discounts, so special deals and coupons are fairly sparse on Costco's website.

Costco doesn't handle any other car maintenance or repair, but members may be able to take advantage of discounts at service centers through the Costco Auto Program.

1. Sam's Club

Sam's Club is our winner for its rich array of included services, coupled with attractive pricing for club members. A $15 tire installation package includes mounting, new valve stems, lifetime balancing and rotation, lifetime flat repair, tire disposal, and road hazard protection. If the vehicle is equipped with TPMS, you get a free reset, although replacement TPMS kits cost extra (we were quoted $2.98 per wheel and $5 for the install). But the star attraction of the Sam's Club package is 24/7 emergency roadside tire-change service, available for three years after the date of purchase.

Shopping for tires online from Sam's Club is a simple, straightforward process — with plenty of brands available, a decent number of coupons for special discounts, and clear indications which tires offer savings. (We saw ads for one-day Member Savings Event that promised an especially sweet deal: $140 off select brands and $60 off installation on all other tires.) Appointments must be made by phone or in-store; there's no online scheduling.

Pro tip: You can't get an oil change or other automotive maintenance at a Sam's Club Tire & Battery Center, but you may want to stop in today to get your battery checked — there's no charge for members. Flat-tire repair is another perk free to anyone with a membership, and it's not limited to tires purchased at Sam's.

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