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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 seven top nationwide chains that sell and install tires: Walmart, Pep Boys, Discount Tire (America's Tire), NTB (Tire Kingdom), BJ's Wholesale Club, Costco, and Sam's Club. Our roundup also takes into account how each shop rates for additional services, selection, scheduling convenience, and opportunities for extra savings.


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Cheapest Tire Installation Service: Walmart

If you want the cheapest tire installation, Walmart is the way to go, with the absolute lowest prices for the service — if you purchase your tires directly from the retailer.


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Best Value Tire Installation Service: Sam's Club

We found that warehouse clubs provide the best bang for the buck. Our winner for best value tire installation service, Sam's Club, edges out both sibling Walmart and longtime rival Costco by offering not only an expansive set of services for a low price but also a generous 24/7 roadside assistance program — nice peace of mind for drivers who don't already belong to AAA or another automobile club.

Tire Installation Cost Comparison

ChainInstallation PriceInstallation Package &
Optional Services
BJ's$80 for 4 wheels ($20/tire)

TPMS kit fees may vary.
Tire disposal included.
- New valve stems
- Lifetime rotation and balancing
- Flat repairs
- Inflation checks
- 3 yr. road hazard warranty
Costco$80 for 4 wheels ($20/tire)

TPMS kits: $3/wheel
Tire disposal included.
- New valve stems
- Lifetime rotation and balancing
- Flat repairs
- Inflation checks
- 5 yr. road hazard warranty
Discount Tire$84 for 4 wheels ($21/tire)

TPMS kits included.
Tire disposal: $2.75/wheel
- New valve stems
- Lifetime rotation and balancing
- Flat repairs
- Inspection and inflation checks
NTB$68 for 4 wheels ($17/tire)

TPMS kits: $8/wheel
Tire disposal: $3
- Lifetime rotation and balancing

Optional:
- Wheel alignment ($90)
- Road hazard warranty (varies by tire)
Pep Boys$118.40 for 4 wheels ($29.60/tire)

TPMS kits and tire disposal included.
- New valve stems
- Balancing
- Vehicle inspection
- Treadwear mileage warranty
- Free rotation w/ any service
- 1 yr. roadside assistance

Optional:
- Wheel alignment ($100 for 3 mo.)
- Road hazard warranty (varies by tire)
Sam's Club$80 for 4 wheels ($20/tire)

TPMS kit: $5/wheel
Tire disposal included.
- TPMS reset
- New valve stems
- Lifetime rotation and balancing
- Flat repairs
- 4 yr. road hazard warranty
- 3 yr. roadside assistance
Walmart$60 for 4 wheels ($15/tire; $25 for non-Walmart tires)

TPMS kits included.
Tire disposal: $1.50/wheel
- New valve stems
- Lifetime rotation and balancing
- 50-mile lug retorque

Optional:
- Road hazard warranty ($10/wheel)

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


Our quotes came from installation services in western Ohio, but online searches showed that base prices at other locations as far afield as California and New Jersey were usually comparable, give or take a dollar or two. Still, there's no guarantee they'll be the same at your local store. Disposal fees, in particular, may vary, and you can expect state-specific environmental taxes.


As suggested, 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 extra costs can seem small, taken together for four wheels, they can make a supposedly cheap tire installation much pricier than anticipated. NTB's fairly low base rate of $17 per tire jumps to $28 once disposal and TPMS kit fees are factored in, pushing the total cost for installing four tires to $112 (excluding taxes and state environmental fees, if required) — a far cry from that original quote of $68. At Pep Boys, the installation price of nearly $30 seems pretty hefty at first glance, but there are no hidden fees, so customers pay only about $7 more than NTB in total. They also get a year of 24/7 roadside assistance, which NTB doesn't provide.

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. Take Walmart, for instance, where lifetime balance and rotation services purchased a la carte would cost $14 per tire, or $56 — nearly the price of a full install package.


And, while the complimentary roadside assistance that comes with installation at Pep Boys may not offer all of the perks of a service like AAA, it's an attractive inclusion nonetheless, considering that AAA memberships start at $56 per year. At Sam's Club, where shoppers get not only a four-year road hazard warranty but also three years of roadside assistance free of charge, the extras more than offset the price of the initial installation relative to competitors.


If you want the same shop to handle all your tire maintenance, 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 and Walmart, are full-service shops that not only offer wheel alignment but also can 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 dedicated tire shops — Discount Tire, NTB, and Pep Boys — showed that type and size in stock and ready to install right away. Big-box king Walmart and the warehouse clubs all indicated that our tires would have to be ordered, and we'd typically have to wait from one to three days for them to come in. 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. General operation hours can also make a difference if you need to plan your workday or other responsibilities around having your car serviced. Our local Walmart Auto Care Center is open only between 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. On the other hand, Pep Boys, NTB, and Discount Tire open their doors at 8 a.m. and remain open for service until 6 p.m., although NTB and Discount Tire are closed on Sundays. We found that BJ's Wholesale Club and Costco were friendliest to the after-work crowd, with tire service centers operating until 8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., respectively, on weekdays. It's worth noting, however, that BJ's locations are relatively scarce: Our closest BJ's was more than 160 miles away, hardly "convenient," no matter the hours of operation.


These days, many car owners are also interested in limiting contact when having their cars serviced, and some shops now offer basic maintenance — and more — off-site. NTB and partner store Tire Kingdom, for example, have mobile tire installation services in limited markets. Car owners in West Palm Beach, Florida, and Dallas can pay an extra $25 fee to have technicians come out to their homes to do the job; they'll even schedule Saturday appointments. Pep Boys caters to particularly cautious customers by offering "Touchless Drop-Offs" that include disinfection of vehicle surfaces and sanitization of car keys.

Tire Prices

It may be surprising, but one thing that shouldn't necessarily factor too much into your choice of installer 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 what it costs to buy tires. 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 typical asking price was $129.99, even at the wholesale clubs and online vendors like Tire Rack and Amazon. The two outliers were Discount Tire, which had rounded up its price by a penny, and NTB, which charged just $2 more per tire.


Consumers who prefer to buy tires online from sites like Tire Rack or Amazon, either for quick-click convenience or a wider selection, should keep in mind that not every shop will install tires purchased elsewhere. None of the warehouse clubs will accommodate tires that aren't bought directly from their stocks, and you'll pay an additional $10 per tire to take advantage of Walmart's installation services if you buy tires from an outside vendor, or even a seller on Walmart's marketplace.


Pep Boys will install tires purchased at both Amazon and Tire Rack, but expect potential discrepancies in what is included in these third-party install packages as compared with the services that come standard with installation of tires purchased on-site. For example, when we searched for our tires on Amazon, the price we were quoted for a Pep Boys installation was just $20 — significantly lower than Pep Boys' "official price" — but a glance at the fine print suggests that only tire installation and balancing are included, and there may be surcharges for amenities and guarantees that are complimentary when buying directly from the shop. Other independent shops and larger chains, like Sears Auto Centers, also work with Amazon on tire installations. The once-popular Sears tire centers are rapidly dwindling in number, however. We left the brand out of this comparison after reading numerous reviews from consumers aggrieved that promises of lifetime service were rendered worthless when a local Sears store closed.

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). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends tires should be replaced when the tread depth reaches 2/32 inch, regardless of age. 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, but expect some variance. For example, Pep Boys claims it can do a full install in about 45 minutes to an hour. With Costco, we read several reviews from customers who claimed to have had installations completed within the time it took to take a shopping trip through the store, while others said there can easily be a wait of two hours or more at the club.


What does "TPMS service" mean? All 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 the seven tire installation chains in this comparison, ranked from "decent enough" to "what a deal!"


7. NTB/Tire Kingdom

National Tire & Battery is owned by the same company as Tire Kingdom, with more than 600 locations in 26 states across the two brands. At NTB, we were quoted $17 per tire for basic installation, which includes mounting 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. A road hazard warranty is generally about 16% of the cost of the tire. For example, road hazard coverage was $84.47, or $21.12 per tire, for a Michelin Defender T+H wheel priced at $131.99.


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. NTB offers wheel alignment (including 1-, 3-, and 5-year service programs ranging from $125 to $220); tire repair; battery, brake, and suspension service; oil changes and fluid exchanges; and vehicle inspections.

6. Pep Boys

Pep Boys' quote of nearly $30 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, and a courtesy vehicle inspection in addition to a treadwear mileage warranty. A road hazard warranty would typically add from $12.50 to $19.50 per tire to the tab depending on the tire 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. Customers ordering tires online from Amazon and Tire Rack can also take advantage of the shop's installation services.


Pep Boys has a convenient online scheduling system that takes advance appointments for same-day service, but customers are also welcome to take a shot at a walk-in visit. A scheduling tip: Midweek days, like Wednesday and Thursday, should be least busy. Also, Pep Boys locations tend to open pretty early, around 8 a.m., and early and late drop-offs can be arranged, which may help if you need to bring in your vehicle outside of work hours. There's a contactless service option, as well.


See Pep Boys' "Coupons and Deals" page for specials 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 15% to 16% of the tire price. For the tires we chose, we would pay $19.75 per tire for this protection.


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. The scheduling page offered many appointment times for same-day installation, as well as the option for vehicle drop-off, or to purchase installation and schedule for up to 10 days after the tires arrive. A convenient graph suggests 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, and instant rebates are automatically added to your cart. 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.

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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 definitely the lowest, yet again, although 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 fees tack on an extra $1.50 per tire, according to our local store. The total price jumps to $25 a tire if you purchase a road hazard warranty, which covers only the first 25% of tread wear (approximately one year) and applies only to tires bought at Walmart. If you don't buy from Walmart, the basic installation costs an additional $10 per wheel. Walmart also doesn't do wheel alignments, although Walmart auto centers do offer a range of services for car batteries, engines, and fuel systems.


If you purchase tires online, you can arrange to have them sent directly to the Walmart Auto Care Center and get a message when the new set is ready for pickup (you have four days to get them). But unlike many of the other stores, Walmart doesn't always take online appointments. Depending on the tire ordered, you may need to call for scheduling or plan to try your luck with a walk-in. 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 more than 215 locations, primarily concentrated on the East Coast, offers members auto services and a wide variety of tire types and brands for sale. The installation package costs $20 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. BJ's also 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 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 that 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 memberscan 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 $20 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.) While Costco does boast some special members-only prices on tires, which may make prices more competitive with discount tire brands, the limited options provide less opportunity to take advantage of manufacturer-sponsored deals.


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.

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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 $20 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 $5 per wheel for the install). That makes Sam's slightly more expensive than Costco, 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. Sam's Club will also do installations on dually trucks and motorhomes for the same price, and will install NHS and Non-DOT tires for ATVs, UTVs, golf carts, and various types of lawn and garden equipment for $9.50 each. Service appointments for all types of installations 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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