As a membership-only warehouse store, Costco has made a name for itself with great prices, solid customer service, and a reputation for treating its employees with respect. If you’re a member, you can take advantage of savings on all sorts of products, including tires. The retailer is not only highly rated, it is consistently among the most affordable places to buy tires.
Costco’s warehouse stores are huge, and occupy a large footprint at nearly all of the company’s 558 stores in the U.S. In many locations, the store offers automotive tire services, which are housed in a garage adjacent to the main store.
Costco is consistently cheaper than its competitors on tires, across the board. Tires for a 2015 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited were less expensive at Costco than at other national tire retailers.
|Costco Price||Tire Rack Price||WalMart Price|
Costco allows its members to book tire appointments online, over the phone, or in person at the warehouse. Shopping and scheduling appointments online is easiest, as the buyer can select the tire, pay, and schedule all in the same place. Once the order has been placed, Costco will ship the tires to the warehouse of choice for free.
Costco’s tire installation process looks like any other tire shop, in that a technician will take your vehicle, install the tires, and then balance them. The tire shop is located either inside, or adjacent to the warehouse store, but is not available at every location.
Though the tires Costco sells are covered by manufacturers’ warranties against defects from the factory, Costco adds a five-year road hazard warranty to the tires it sells and installs. This warranty covers tires that have “become unserviceable due to cuts, non-repairable punctures, or impact damage.” The retailer’s tire shop will inspect the tire to determine the amount of tread-life left and will issue a credit to buy new tires based on the remaining useful life of the damaged tire.
Costco carries the same major tire brands that everyone else does, so why shop with them? Well, for starters, the warehouse giant beats every single one of its competitors on pricing, some by quite a lot.
Costco also offers neat perks, such as free lifetime nitrogen refills in tires that it sells, which retains tire pressure better than the compressed air that the quickie tire shop down the street from your house offers. Then, there’s the five-year road hazard guarantee and lifetime maintenance, which includes free tire balancing and tire flat repairs.
Consumer Affairs Collects reviews on companies of all types, including Costco’s tire services.
“I bought my Michelin winter tires recently. I got a flat tire yesterday. I asked for an appointment with Costco. They replaced it with a brand new one, because they couldn't repair it. I think that this is the best place to buy tires. Because they provide very good warranty for flat tires. There are constructions everywhere and there are high risks for having flat tires. So, I strongly recommend Costco tires.”
“I never write reviews, but my experience at the Costco Tire Center in Gypsum, Colorado was so good compared to what I read in the reviews online, that I want to let people know. I bought 4 new Bridgestone Blizzak tires on Costco's online site, got a great price, and had great service when I got there. One key may be using the new appointment site at costcotirecenters.com. When I arrived the tires were there, and they were ready to put them on. I watched them work and they were very thorough and professional. At the end they even refunded the tire disposal fee, because I was keeping the old tires. I can heartily recommend the Gypsum Costco tire center!”
*“Today I have a different experience. I purchased 4 winter tyres of Michelin from Costco for my Audi Q5. Also I paid online for their tyre replacement. When I went for the replacement as per my appointment, the mechanic said I can't find a special key in your car which is required for replacement. I went to the dealer as my car is new and they should provide me the key. The dealer showed me the key along with the toolbox inside the car. I came again at the Costco Etobicoke Tyre Center. I asked how come your mechanic could not find the key? It is there in the car inside the toolbox.
The person at the counter said it is your responsibility to find the key and keep it ready on the passenger's seat. Then only we can replace the tyres. We are not gonna search for the key. I am very much surprised by this behaviour as we customers are not Mechanics and have zero knowledge about what is required for the replacement of tyres. The person I found was very rude in talking, too.”*
“I purchased top of the line Michelin tires in late 2019 for my work vehicle. The tires started leaking in January. First they said that’s normal because it’s cold out, then because it’s too hot, next visit because I drove the car too much, next - you got it - too little. So after 4 attempts to make an appointment - I got one- I let them know all tires leak, light came on 5 minutes after I left. They now say nothing wrong with the tires AFTER replacing the valves (leaking since January). Costco headquarters, same sort of run around.”
In our research, we found the two to have very similar pricing. It is very easy to find prices for either retailer, so why not cross shop both?
If you are a Costco member it is well worth cross-shopping tires and installation against other retailers. In our research, Costco was not always the least expensive retailer for tires, but you can shop the store while you wait for your new tires. Not a bad way to use that time.
Costco says that it charges around $19 per tire for installation plus tax. This is at the lower end of the price range for tire retailers.
Every car is slightly different, but it’s easy to find out the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle. Inside the driver’s side door jam is a yellow and white label with tire pressures listed. If your label is damaged, you can easily find the information online by searching your make and model.
Most newer vehicles come with tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS), which alert the driver to over- or under-inflated tires via a light in the gauge cluster. If the light comes on and your tire pressures check out to be fine, there may be an issue with the sensors themselves, so it’s time to have a pro check it out.
Tires have birth dates that are listed right on the sidewall, along with the tire’s size and a load of other information. Most automakers recommend replacing tires six years after their date of manufacture to avoid malfunction. As tires age, the compounds in the rubbers can break down and lead to cracking or even blowouts while the vehicle is in motion.
When shopping for tires, you’ll see all sorts of mileage numbers being thrown out. This isn’t really a guarantee, because the conditions for each vehicle are so different. It’s more of an expected mileage, so if the tire is listed with 60,000 miles, it’s expected to last that long if taken care of properly. If the tire malfunctions before it wears to a certain point, it’s usually covered by a manufacturer’s warranty, but it won’t cover damage caused by abuse or abnormal wear caused by improper vehicle maintenance. You can read more about this on our Best Tires, A Buying Guide article here.
Ordering your tires online vs. the shop will save you money