Tips When Shopping for Tires at Costco and Sam’s Club

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I recently bought a new set of tires at Costco, and bought my last set at Sam’s about 3 years ago (for another car), so today’s post is simply a quick overview on how to get the most out of your tire purchase if you decide to buy at a “warehouse”-style store.

There are a number of reasons why you might want to buy at a warehouse. My own personal reasons included:

  • Cheaper price for tires, and installation.
  • Even cheaper price if you include the ongoing tire sale that is almost always going on.
  • The staff won’t bother you about dirty fluid or other things that need replacement–these are strictly tire stores.
  • I shopped and paid online and only dealt with the store for installation.
  • Deals on flat repairs, balancing and rotation for the life of the tires (free, in most cases, for all of these).

If you find that some or all of these reasons ring true for you, here are my tips on how to make the experience the best it can be:

  1. Find your tire size by researching your car model or simply checking your existing tires. Then, find out what brands and makes of tire are available at the various warehouses where you have a membership, for the exact size you need.
  2. At this point, I recommend reading the reviews, researching sites like Consumer Reports, and many of the other available websites, for feedback about the quality of each available tire. I’ve found that the value sweet spot is usually somewhere between the least expensive and the most expensive tire, and often toward the less expensive side.
  3. Once you’ve picked the tire you want, wait for a sale of that brand. Sales at each warehouse typically rotate throughout the year, with many of the popular brands going on sale for a month or more, often several times per year. You’ll save $70 or more this way, and easily cover the cost of the installation (typically around $15 per tire, plus minor disposal fees).
  4. Order the tires online for maximum convenience. In this way, you can also pre-pay for the tires and installation and avoid the hassle at the club.
  5. Appointments are not necessary when getting your tires installed. As a result, I recommend arriving as soon as the club opens on a weekday. I walked into my club at 10:05, and there were already 4 people in line.
  6. Expect at least one to two hours for installation. These shops are often busy and service multiple cars simultaneously. The later you arrive, and the busier the store is, adjust the waiting estimate accordingly.
  7. Finally, avoid getting your tires rotated at the club. While this is a free service, you’ll save a ton of time if you just have your local mechanic do this during an oil change (most don’t charge for the service anyway). If you ask your warehouse to do it for you, expect to wait accordingly.

Overall, I’m very happy with my warehouse tire experience and would definitely buy from them again. Happy shopping!

Today’s photo is brought to you by Julian Povey

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