I find discounttiredirect.com to have really good prices and NTB has a deal with them to mount and balance them for $80 something dollars. I'll take that. I usually save about $200 doing it this way. I'll take it.
Discount tire direct has been good to me. Take it to their brick and mortar store for installation and still save $100 after buying the certificates for road hazard if I wish even though there is some included if you don't buy the extra policy. Bought one brand of tire locally and they did finally take care of me, but had to wait weeks for resolution for the manager to look at them due to an issue. DT looks and decides in less than an hour. Plus it takes longer to get sizes that are not super common. The other store orders them like once or twice a week.
There are other things beside price that are important when buying tires.
Tire shops tend to view people that bring in tires to mount as "Not customers". They tend to be a little sloppier and tend not to deal with problems.
Example: If you bring in a set of tires and there is a vibration, the mounting tire dealer has no incentive to try to fix the problem - EVEN IF they are an authorized dealer of the brand involved.
The worst example I have seen with this was a tire shop that damaged a tire in mounting. All the consumer knew was that the tire was leaking. The mounting dealer refused to touch it - as did every other tire dealer in the area. I was on the manufacturers end trying to solve the problem (exact cause of the leak was unknown - and because no one would touch the problem, unsolvable). Eventually, the consumer had to ship the tire back to the selling dealer, where it was dismounted and returned to the manufacturer for credit (credit was denied!) and while the selling dealer absorbed the cost of the tire, the consumer had to bear the cost the second mounting and balancing.
So I am a fan of buying tires at the local dealer - EVEN IF the price is a bit higher.
I have purchased tires from 800 number companies such as Euro Tire going back long before the internet. Never had a problem which required sending a tire back.
When I ask for advice from Tire Rack, they connect me with a wheel and tire geek with encyclopedic knowledge. This person listens to my criteria in full, and gives me informed, custom-tailored advice with little-to-no sales pressure.
At a tire shop, I've had three kinds of outcomes. One is they have no idea what they're talking about. The second is that they give me advice based on minimal knowledge and totally generic criteria. The third is that the guy at the front desk -- whether not I even asked his opinion -- tries to pressure me into his own favorite tire.
When I'm buying tires alone, I can often find a good shop that will match Tire Rack's price. That makes the whole package more convenient for the same price. In those cases, I go to the shop.
If I'm buying wheels and tires together, Tire Rack wins hands-down. They mount and balance the tires with the best available equipment, for free. Never found a comparable deal through a local outfit.
Free tire rotation isn't valuable to me because I don't see the benefit of doing it regularly on a RWD car. It doesn't actually make tires wear more slowly; it just means you replace your tires four-at-a-time at long intervals instead of two-at-a-time at half the interval. I also like that the front tires wear more slowly than the rears, because I want better hydroplaning resistance on the tires that will be doing the braking. Even if I did see the benefit of rotating my tires regularly, I'd do it myself. Small price to pay to make sure my wheel lugs are never tightened with an air wrench.
Never had to make a warranty claim on a tire, so that hasn't been a factor in my calculus.
Tire shops tend to view people that bring in tires to mount as "Not customers". Tire shops then tend to be a little sloppier and tend not to deal with problems.
A friend of mine just got tires, told me he complained about the size of the total bill at his local shop. The guy behind the desk said most customers order online, have them delivered to his shop and just pay mounting/balancing.
I did the Internet tire thing for the first time (not counting bicycle, utility, etc) this year. I got 4 Continental Pure Contacts for my Corolla for $300 delivered ($100 off) from DTD and mounted/balanced for $71. The Firestone guy said he couldn't beat that deal, but he did beat everyone else's deal for mounting and balancing and said he really wanted my business. He even came in a few bucks under his original estimate of $75.
If there's no sale or coupon, I agree with the rant that there's no good great savings, but that doesn't prompt me to put down Internet purchasers. Local dealers who refuse to order the tire of your choice, no local dealers for a certain brand of tire, longer lead times for dealers than Internet customers, a chance to examine tires before mounting, there are a bunch of good reasons for tire buyers to order online.
Likewise if I have a good trusted tire dealer, I won't order Internet just to save $20. $100, yes, but not $20.
I bought during a sale at DTD, and got an incredible deal on 4 Nokian hakka tires. Cost me a few hundred after i was quoted locally more than double that (im in canada)add our 15% tax rate to that too. Already had a 2 night trip planned across border so cost me nothing to bring them back either, install was about 80$ at my local Toyota dealer. Money saved= 300$. Not a chance they would price match such a price as they would lose money on the sale. So tell me why I need the small shop again? I think for everyone on this site, its finding a shop they can trust is more of concern than anything else. So many shops out there, its like a dime a dozen. Im sure some are great but id rather not take a chance.
Great thread this.
I bought 4 tires from an old man and had a local "import car repair shop" in NJ mount and balance them.
'Twas a good deal at $20 per. The price has gone up to $25. OK, so that means $100 CASH or $107 "on the books".
When I'm up north we mount 'em ourselves and take 'em in for spin balancing. That's $5 to $7 each.
Hard to beat. Kira
Because it was the best price by far, I did a TON of research on my next set of tires for me Xterra (Money is tight and it is a big investment that I am stuck with for a long time before the next set) I never want to go cheap on tires so I settled on the Cooper S/T MAXX in 265/75/16 for my next set, I call all 3 Cooper Tire dealers near me and told them what I wanted and I gave them one shot at offering me their best out the door deal, the lowest price from one of those dealers was approx $1200 Out the Door. I called Discount Tire Direct (Online) and asked for their lowest price and it was $181 SHIPPED TO MY DOOR per tire with No Sales Tax so $752, When I take them to my local Discount Tire for mounting and balancing they charge me the exact same labor as they would have had I walked in and bought them off the shelf so my Out the Door price from DTD online WITH Mounting and LIFETIME BALANCE AND ROTATE will be approx $860 so about a $340 savings over the lowest price Cooper Tire dealer near me... That is why I buy tires online.
You just have to do the math. There's very little to rant about. Sometimes local is cheaper, sometimes local will price match, sometimes you have to order online, because with tax savings and shipping costs added still comes out less.
Tire size matters too as the shipping costs can differ widely.
Lately Costco has come out slightly cheaper on all our tires, even after tax. If a size is in stock, buying in a tax free state like DE would make the savings even higher.
I'd assume the OPer is just trying to drum up business, but I found his post to be insulting.
I know how much the tire shop I like to use charges to mount and balance tires, and I can also figure out how much TireRack is going to charge to ship the tires to me. I do my research, relying heavily on TireRack.com, and usually figure out what it's going to cost to get the 2 or 3 models I'm interested in from that site shipped to me and then mounted at my local shop. I then call that local shop and get their price on those same tires...if they're within $40 or so, they get the business because I like them. Sometimes, they're cheaper...when I ordered decent wheels along with my last set of winter tires, I saved over $400 online because the local shop couldn't even remotely approach the TireRack price for the wheels. Was going to put them on myself and have the dealer register the new TPMS sensors, but those gougers wanted $50 for something that probably takes less than a minute...the shop I like put the tires on and took care of the sensors for $20. Because they treat me right, they get a shot at winning the business for my next set of tires.
Don't care about free rotation or anything else because that shop is too far away for small services like that...the tire places nearby are incompetent and/or crooked.
It's not rocket science or even lawn science, people understand about shipping and installation...cmon.
Normally, I would agree with the OP. But, it depends on the amount of savings. About a month ago, I put 2 Firestone Transforce HT's on my truck. Cost mounted, balanced and tax was about $459. Just ordered 2 from Tirebuyer.com. Cost, $317. At Wal-Mart, I can have them mounted with lifetime balance and rotation, add lifetime B&R to the other 2 and have one of my old tires mounted and balanced for a spare and still be money ahead.
I WANT to support and shop at the small-local-expert businesses but SALES TAX kills it every time at the approaching rate of 10%. So last time I went in they priced matched the tires, after, they brought up my account and saw that it was flagged saying to the effects of I am not paying retail.
Not only that but I will buy new vehicles from out of state and still pay less with flying to the closest sales tax free state and driving it back 1400 miles to avoid paying sales tax!
By law, you usually are required to register a new vehicle in the location it is garaged or your legal residence. Most state DMVs will collect that state's sales tax when you go in to register the vehicle.
I really sick of getting ripped off on tire balance. 25 bucks is way too much for a 3 minute procedure. I was able to get a discount tire tech to do 4 mount only for 20. He just put the money in his pocket. In don't think modern tires need balance.
A rip off? What do you think pays to keep the lights on, the equipment bought/maintained, the employees payed and all the other fees associated with a business? And 3 minutes? Whatever. The time it takes to wheel you car in and hoist (or jack up and place on stands), the tire removed, balance and remount is not 3 minutes. Don't forget making a ticket out and dealing with the customer (answering all their questions, idle chit chat etc...) Multiply by 4 and you can see why costs are what they are. Remember- all time needs to be accounted for, not just the specific act of balancing. Paying the tire store employee does not support the business's infrastructure.
Small businesses are even more subject to these issues because of their lower volume and the fact that in many cases the person doing the work is not insulated from the customer. So they are also the one answering your questions, taking your phone calls and making your ticket out.
Want it cheaper? DO IT YOURSELF! I'm not going to dick around with some prima donna, spend extra time to properly pamper his/her tires/wheels (beyond normal, proper procedure), do an extra super duper special job just to appease their OCD tendencies and then cut my costs.
Originally Posted By: Pop_Rivit
Originally Posted By: AjsGarage
Why do I read about SO MANY people buying tires online from Amazon, tirerack, etc?...
I purchase online for a couple reasons. I like avoiding the sales tax, which adds up. I can also get the tires cheaper than I can locally, and I don't have to negotiate with ranting tire store clerks who may or may not know what they're talking about.
The nearest tire store to me is about 25 miles away. By ordering them online I can have them shipped here, call and make a simple appointment to have them installed, and make a single trip into town. I can get all 4 tires mounted and balanced for about $40; given the lower upfront costs, even with mounting and balancing it still makes sense to purchase them online.
Originally Posted By: AjsGarage
Do you consider the cost of rotating too? Rotations are free at most shops if you purchase tires there. Rotation is KEY to long tire life,
The last set of tires I purchased were for a Subaru Outback that had 92,000 miles on a set of Michelin Harmonys. The tires still had well over the minimum tread depth and the tread depth was pretty even across all 4, but they were replaced because of age. Guess what? They may have been rotated once during the 6 years they were on the car.
The rotation was free for me to do too, since I did it when I had it on the lift in my shop to replace the brakes.
Originally Posted By: AjsGarage
The old guy working up front was selling tires for many years, and knew all there was to know about tires. He could recommend a great tire for a car that you never thought about putting on it, and that was better then you were initially going for. Most independent tire shops have an old guy like this.
I'm perfectly capable of doing the research and making a decision on which tire is right for my needs and application. I don't need some "old guy" to tell me what I can find out on my own.
Originally Posted By: AjsGarage
How do you handle warranty issues?
I've personally never had a tire warranty issue. However, if you'd spend a minute or two on either Tire Rack's site or Discount Tire Direct's site and look for their warranty information, I bet you'd find the answer to your question.
Originally Posted By: turtlevette
In don't think modern tires need balance.
Yeah-you just keep right on thinking that.
Remember Pop_Rivit, not everybody inherently knows the answer to all of life's issues and/or has the resources to find the rest (and have the knowledge to decipher what they've found). Also, not everybody drives cars which inexplicably don't need tire rotations for 90+ thousand miles... For the rest of the world there are places that can take care of their needs.
I would have figured that you of all people would understand the merits of supporting brick and mortar stores. If I wanted a bottle of wine, but didn't know what I wanted, I could consult the Wine Lover's Companion. But what if I couldn't comprehend what I'd just read? There are all sorts of terms used that only someone familiar with the world of wine would know. Wouldn't it prudent of me to instead come to you and get your input on which wine type would suit purposes or tastes best? You could make a few recommendations, get your sales and I would go off happy knowing that there was someone there to help me out and give me a direction.
I find it's hard to beat Discount Tire during their holiday promotions. All they do it tires, so no monkeying around with the rest of the car, and future rotations/balance are in and out fast since all they do is tires!
As with any other purchase where there is the potential to save a decent amount of money, you have to do the research, which is easy in an online age.
You can sometimes save significant money buying online.
In particular, you may find closeout deals on tires you want dirt cheap.
You just have to look at a few sites and you have to find a local shop that'll do the install for a reasonable price.
Walmart TLE is one option if you can't find a local guy to give your money to.
It's also nice to have a set of tires you actually want sitting in the garage waiting for the date you choose to have them mounted, probably right before the snow flies.