Tire Mounting & Balancing - Mom & Pop v. Walmart

Not open for further replies.
Dec 28, 2006
The previous two times I bought tires I got them online and had them mounted and balanced at local shops. The first time was in late 2008 and I used a local used tire shop and the cost was around $50. In early 2011 I used a local service station that really was a 2 person mom & pop operation and paid $48. So when my Coopers arrive at the house, I throw them in the trunk and head over to the mom & pop station. It's closed. I stop by one other place on the way home - the guy is sitting in the shade, not a single customer and wants $85. I ask him if he'd take $50, he said $70 and I'd have to take the old tires with me. He had no customers and no cost associated with selling me tires. Pure labor and he wouldn't take $50. Okay, I head back home and start calling local shops. Two shops will not mount other people's tires and I get quotes of $65, $81, $90, & $105. I look on Walmart's TLE web page - $13/tire with an additional $1.5/tire disposal fee. I think about the horror stories and worry about the possibilities, but decide to give them a shot. So my wife goes with me and we head over today. There are 2 tire jobs ahead of us, it's shift change and the women that puts the orders in the computer wants to leave so she gets the guy doing oil changes to take care of me. Not building my confidence, but I leave the key and we go wonder around the store. End up in the waiting room and the guy that does the tire work comes in. He tells me he's about to start and asks if I want the old tires - I tell him no. I watch through the window and he 'looked' like he knew what he was doing. All four mounted and then balanced, lugs checked with torque wrench. Almost 3 hours, but car is done so I head out and my wife pays the bill. We get home and I get the receipt from her to put in the file (free rotation every 7,500 miles) and notice that they only charged for the mounting and tire disposal. $28 at Walmart v. $65 at the cheapest mom & pop (very rude on phone and not open on Saturday). I'm not sure why the local guys are charging so much now. I really do like to support local business, but they should at least act like they WANT my business. High prices, rude, and lazy was my unfortunate experience with the locally owned shops. Didn't realize I was going to ramble forever - sorry for the long post.
Having work like this done at WM is like rolling the dice. Their turnover (at least in my area) is so high that it's possible you might have the work done by an expert or somebody who started just yesterday. My local indy tire shop probably won't fix or sell tires on a Saturday morning, are closed by 12:00 Saturday afternoon, and the place is locked up tight on a Sunday. I've had to have a flat repaired on a Sunday afternoon at the local WM and it's business as normal. However, a couple of years ago, I needed to buy a 13" tire (for a Chevette, a long story) on a Sunday afternoon at WM and the guy who had worked there for quite a few years couldn't get it on the rim. He took me out to the shop to show me. He then tried a 14" tire and of course it was too large and floppy to stay on the rim. Before he could say anything, I grabbed the 13" tire and had it on before he could give me the sermon about how I wasn't covered by their insurance. I didn't have too much faith in him after that. However, he did manage to seat the beads and successfully balance the tire.
When I bought tires online I had them mounted at WM, local MOM&POP shops either didn't like to install bring in tires or charged too much. The only problem with WM TLE is they have only 1 bay for tire and sometimes waiting time is too long. Now, I get the lowest price(shipping, if any, included) online and get DT/AT price match.
The local shop uptown charges $25 per tire if you bring your own for mount/balance. Why so high? If they tear a bead, they pay for tire, etc. Same shop, buy tires from them, free rotation for as long as you own car. Any problem and I mean any problem, they fix it...free. Their prices also beat Walmart, Tiremart etc.
Walmart unfortunately only mounts OEM sizes... There's a local husband and wife shop I use. The husband is 50 and very rude. The wife is a very pretty 25 year old...who's rapidly aging due to drug use but really sweet. They charge a flat 100$ cash to mount my big tires... and the husband thankfully does not walk around with a torque wrench. (The range is like 30ft lbs, if they can't land in there by hand...shudder)
That's why I never buy tires online. I've always had the local tire shops price match the online prices and typically when they price match, they don't charge for mounting, just balancing. Paying the tax makes it a wash plus if you ever need warranty work, the shop covers the warranty. Also Town Fair tire also does a free front end alignment and that's even after you do the price match with them. Once you add it all up, it's cheaper doing a local price match.
Originally Posted By: Wolf359
Once you add it all up, it's cheaper doing a local price match.
+1. It's also one of the reasons local shops don't like to mount tires bought from some where else.
I now just buy new steelies every time I order tires from discountt tire direct. I can easily sell the old wheels and tires and offset the price. Even if not...still cheaper than my local wholesale pricing.
I usually get tires that are different size than what's on the door jam sticker. I just load them up in the other car and drive to WalMart and have them mounted and balanced. Cheapest by far and still lifetime balanced. Last time is was just under $60. It's the only place I go for this.
I will generally forfeit free mount and balance on new tires and take them over to a Mom and Pop Goodyear in NDG. Then, I`ll tip the installer a tenner as he mounts them onto mags, or 5$ onto steelies. Then I`ll chat him up and watch... I don`t need a shredded bead. I keep the tires mounted for the life of their tread, I don`t need a slow leak. I do prefer to do it myself though, and line up the red or yellow circle to the tire valve, lube those babies up and go real slow. Then do the 3x drain and fill of Nitrogen if possible. You go to Walmart and you`ll be very lucky if you get a nice job done.
WalMart will match the prices of online places. The selection is what you see is what you get, otherwise why go there to buy the tire? If they have to order it I'll just order from the Tire Rack and get them delivered in a couple days. I usually pay around $50 for the shipping.
I have used Walmart on a couple occasions and have been very happy. They balanced my michelins up nicely, torqued wheels and gave me great service and a good price on my carry in tires.Will use them again.
I too have struggled with having new, carry-in tires mount/balanced. Stopped at one large local chain with a 6-8 employees sitting there listening to the radio. They wouldn't touch my carry-ins, even cash, no receipt, however they would have had they been used tires. Others will do them, but you'll pay $15-25 a tire. I found a place to mount 4 for $60 at the time. On the other hand, snow tire changeover? SURE! Come on in. Cha-CHING!
Last edited:
1976, mounting and balance and new stems,,,was 16 bucks total on 4 tires at a Goodyear Store... expensive stardard tires were 35 each,,,things have changed, as usual ..
I usually get tires that are different size than what's on the door jam sticker. I just load them up in the other car and drive to WalMart and have them mounted and balanced. Cheapest by far and still lifetime balanced. Last time is was just under $60. It's the only place I go for this.
I'm assuming that means the car is up on jack stands while the tires are wally mounted and balanced? Glad I don't have this dilemma now with multiple Discount Tire stores in the area. Lacking that with the frequent Disc. Tire Direct $100 rebate promos plus no tax price, it would be difficult to pass on purchasing online from DTD. Thing is with Wally, it's just a business transaction for services rendered. Indy's otoh as mentioned in this thread, might tend to look unfavorably at tires being purchased elsewhere, thus the higher cost of services. Again, glad I don't have to face this issue.
Not open for further replies.