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Buying tires
Old 09-12-2015, 07:43 PM   #1
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Buying tires

OK, here is the situation. I need 4 new tires for my pickup truck. I went online, found the tires that I want, and priced them out at several places (Amazon, Tire Rack, a couple others). Amazon had the best price.......about $650 for a set of 4 (free shipping). If I buy them online, I will have to have them mounted and balanced by my local garage (cost unknown at this point). The other option is to just order the tires through the local garage, and have them take care of everything (which is easier). So, I get a price quote on the 4 tires I want from the local garage, plus mounting and balancing - $950. Now, I don't mind paying a reasonable amount for the mounting and balancing, but this doesn't this seem way out of line to those of you that are familiar with auto maintenance? I mean, if I can get the tires for $650 from Amazon, I would think that the garage can get them for about the same price (or less), no? And if so, $300 for mounting and balancing 4 tires seems a bit ridiculous to me. I like to do business locally whenever possible, but I just can't justify $300 for mounting and balancing 4 tires. My next step is to ask the local garage what they would charge for just mounting and balancing the 4 tires (that I buy elsewhere).......it will be interesting to see what they say about that.

I'd be interested to hear from others who have bought tires lately - how you went about it, and what your experience was.
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Old 09-12-2015, 08:01 PM   #2
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I buy the tires online, usually at Tirerack, and have them shipped directly to a local garage (a mechanic I've worked with for 38 years). I drop the vehicle off and he mounts and balances the tires and disposes of the old tires. Two years ago he charged me $120 for four tires on a Saab.
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Old 09-12-2015, 08:12 PM   #3
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You should have a used tire shop somewhere around you. He should be able to mount and balance them cheaply.

Me, I do my own... buy 'em at the junkyard for $10 each on Sundays...
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Old 09-12-2015, 08:49 PM   #4
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I bought from discount tire direct. raised the car, took the wheels and new tires to a tire shop for mount/balance then put them back on the car. I had a coupon for the shop otherwise probably would have used walmart.

Tirerack has partner shops like firestone. You can ship directly to firestone store and they give a discount for tirerack.

Also check for tire rebates.
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Old 09-12-2015, 09:03 PM   #5
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I buy the tires online, usually at Tirerack, and have them shipped directly to a local garage (a mechanic I've worked with for 38 years). I drop the vehicle off and he mounts and balances the tires and disposes of the old tires. Two years ago he charged me $120 for four tires on a Saab.
+1

Though I had the tires shipped to me, but TireRack lists local shops that they work with, so I felt pretty comfortable taking them there. EZ-peasy, and a reasonable price for mounting/balancing. Of course, I give that shop my follow up work, so it was a win for them anyhow.

I know someone with a fleet for their business, they do all their expensive truck tires through TireRack.

So I'm not sure you get that dealer connection through Amazon - is the TireRack-Amazon delta very much? If not, I'd go with TireRack.

OK, sorry if that sounds like an ad, but I've had good response and prices from them (I had to ask once, because I was looking for direct replacement, and it kept pushing another tire on me - they got back to me and said that tire was a direct replacement for my discontinued model). No affiliation whatsoever, other than happy customer. Also, their 'tire wizard' thing actually works! I was skeptical, but surprised - it really took me to the best tire choice for my needs.

-ERD50
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Old 09-12-2015, 09:31 PM   #6
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+1


So I'm not sure you get that dealer connection through Amazon - is the TireRack-Amazon delta very much? If not, I'd go with TireRack.



-ERD50
Yes, the difference between Amazon and Tire Rack is significant for the Michelin tires I am looking at...........about $200 (for 4 tires). Tire Rack charges about $30 per tire for shipping, and Amazon will ship for no added charge, so that is a big part of the difference.

You are right that the dealer connection is missing when ordering through Amazon, and that is a bit of a concern. I'm not sure that the garage I usually do business with will want to mount and balance the tires if I just buy them myself and bring them to them, so I might have to go to another place for that, if I go the Amazon route. Still not sure what I will do.
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Old 09-12-2015, 09:34 PM   #7
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I read TireRack.com for tire tests and customer ratings. Then I compare their prices to DiscountTireDirect.com and TreadDepot.com delivered prices (including sales taxes.) I order them online from the cheapest and often get overnight or 2 day delivery.

In the last 30 months, I've bought well over two dozen tires and paid the local tire store $50 per set of four to balance and mount them.

My last set of truck tires were Michelins bought at Costco reasonably. They do have a Michelin tire that's just sold at Costco and Walmart for pickups that's especially good value in a top quality tire and often comes with a rebate removed at the cash register.
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Old 09-12-2015, 09:41 PM   #8
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I pay $70 to have my snow tires put on every winter. I'm pretty sure they also check to make sure they are balanced after they swap the tires out. Same when they put the regular tires back on in the spring. What if this is when you take in some new tires instead of the old ones? Should still be about $70 I would assume. I'll plan to do this when it's time for new tires.
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Old 09-12-2015, 11:21 PM   #9
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I've gotten tires from Discount Tire and Tirerack. Depending on whatever current rebate/sale may be going on either one may be cheaper than the other. When I go that route I've found the local Walmart has the best deal for mounting and balancing - something like $12.50 per wheel.

Most recently though I priced out a couple of different new tire options on Tirerack and DT then went to my local tire store, told them the prices I'd found and asked what they could do to sell me some tires. While they couldn't match the deal on one size/brand they beat it by about $40 on another. Letting the local shop sell me tires just bore additional fruit last week. I got a nail in one and it turns out they fix leeks for free in tires they sell. Score.

Short summary: Do your research beforehand to find good prices on a few options online, but give your local tire store a chance to do better. Worst case you can always buy online and go to Walmart for mounting/balancing. Best case you can save money, support a local business and maybe get better follow on service.
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Old 09-12-2015, 11:32 PM   #10
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I live close enough that I usually drive to TireRack and have them install them. Huge facility near South Bend IN.

IME $300 to mount & balance 4 tires, as the OP noted, is absolutely crazy.
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Old 09-13-2015, 07:40 AM   #11
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I agree $300 sounds steep.


When I've priced tirerack, after shipping and installation they were no cheaper than Costco, so I just get my tires at Costco.


Or you could ask the place that gave you the $950 quote if they will match the tirerack price.
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Old 09-13-2015, 08:21 AM   #12
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Last month I like to purchased a set of four tires from a Discount Tire store. I have been using them for about 10 years as they have always given me first class customer service. From the invoice....
4 Michelin Defender tires $620
waste tire disposal $12
road hazard warranty for 4 tires $94
installation and lifetime spin balancing, includes lifetime rotation and repairs $64.00


I qualified for a $70 Michelin mail-in rebate which would lower the tire cost from $620 down to $550. Sure I could have saved the $94 on the road hazard warranty but I think this insurance is well worth the cost.
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Old 09-13-2015, 08:57 AM   #13
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Not a do-it-yourselfer and so wanted to see if you'd priced Costco for the Michelins? I've bought 3 different sets there and found them to be priced right (although I've never thought of buying them online before).
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Old 09-13-2015, 08:58 AM   #14
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I don't buy tires on-line since to me the savings is just not worth the hassle. (although $300 sounds like a lot). I assume for that price it included tire break down and mounting, TPMS maintenance, balancing, tire disposal fees, etc. Even with that it sounds like too much.

When I need tires (very often in my case) I use a company like Discount Tires. They almost always have want I want in stock, I can make an appointment on-line and usually I'm in and out of their shop in about an hour. Most of the time, they have some sort of discount special and I can save $70 to $100 or more on a set of tires off of the advertised price.

I haven't had problems with any tires that I have bought in years, but if I did, I would much rather deal with a company like Discount Tires or NTW than some "on-line" dealer. I guess it also depends on the specific tires too, but I've found that companies like Tire Rack are not always cheaper, for the "exact same type of tire".
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Old 09-13-2015, 09:13 AM   #15
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Just got a set of 4 tires for the Honda Accord.

Shopped local tire shops and well here in SD it was about $15 to install/mount each tire.

I got a $60 rebate for Coopers that were on special this month.

Plus, the tires were on sale for 'employee rate' at Express Tire.

Done and done in 90 minutes at $356 OTD for all 4.(that includes the rebate)

Dealing with delivery, hauling the tires to a shop doesn't appeal to me.
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Old 09-13-2015, 09:19 AM   #16
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If you just want cheap tires, local is probably easiest. I've always chosen tires very carefully (tread wear, winter performance and road noise are usually priorities for us) and liked Tire Rack for the incomparable selection/inventory and price - and because they are within easy driving distance. But we just joined Costco about a year ago, so we'll give them a look next time.
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Old 09-13-2015, 09:30 AM   #17
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If you just want cheap tires, local is probably easiest. I've always chosen tires very carefully (tread wear, winter performance and road noise are usually priorities for us) and liked Tire Rack for the incomparable selection/inventory and price - and because they are within easy driving distance. But we just joined Costco about a year ago, so we'll give them a look next time.
I checked out Costco online here as well. The stock was only for 'premium' type tires (Michelin) and were more expensive than the Coopers for total cost (tax, mounting, rebate, etc).

So, it does pay to shop around. I used to be a believer in all things Costco (as always being cheapest/best buy), but sometimes they are not.
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Old 09-13-2015, 09:47 AM   #18
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Another Discount Tire fan here - they have gone above and beyond for me several times and their prices are usually OK (not the lowest but not the highest). So they get my tire business.
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Old 09-13-2015, 09:55 AM   #19
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Not a do-it-yourselfer and so wanted to see if you'd priced Costco for the Michelins? I've bought 3 different sets there and found them to be priced right (although I've never thought of buying them online before).
No Costcos within 100+ miles of me (we live in a rural area). I've priced the Michelins at all of the online tires places mentioned in this thread so far, though, and Amazon is by FAR the cheapest (not even close). There is no way my local garage would come close to matching the price I can get the tires for at Amazon. Now, I'm not a huge Amazon fan, and would prefer to buy locally, but that is the situation.
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Old 09-13-2015, 09:57 AM   #20
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So, it does pay to shop around. I used to be a believer in all things Costco (as always being cheapest/best buy), but sometimes they are not.
+1. Costco is worth membership IME, but they're not always the best price/value. We shop conscientiously too.
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