When you’re looking for the best place to buy tires, there’s certainly no shortage of options. But between warehouse clubs, online tire merchants and independent tire retailers, the prices and quality of service can vary quite a bit.
In this article, I’ll cover where to find the most affordable tires, highlight which retailers do it best and cheapest, and I’ll take a close look at the top five places to buy tires.
Over the past few months, I’ve been researching the prices and process of buying new tires at a variety of popular tire retailers to see where you’ll get the best deal and the best customer experience.
Where to Buy Tires
According to a 2019 study by Consumer Reports, Walmart, Sam’s Club and Discount Tire Direct offer some of the lowest median tire prices on the market. According to my recent research, this holds true for many tires. While you have to be a Consumer Reports member to view the full study, you can see the highlights below.
Of course, if you plan on purchasing tires, you’ll want to consider a few more factors than just the price. These factors may include the cost of installation and additional services.
“Buying tires has never been so cost competitive, so it’s very important to comparison shop,” money expert Clark Howard says. “Service after the sale is really important, especially if you live in a city with lots of potholes.”
Generally speaking, you’ll find some of the cheapest selections at Walmart and Discount Tire Direct. However, Sam’s Club, BJ’s Tire Center and Costco offer some of the best overall tire-buying experiences including low average prices, free services and convenience.
If you’re looking to buy new tires, here are what I’ve found to be five of the best places to shop:
Median Price Per Tire Installation Per Tire Key Features Selection
Walmart $102 $15 - Cheapest tires on average
- Biggest selection of brands
- Road hazard warranty available for $10 per tire
Firestone, Michelin, Cooper Tires and 29 other brands
Costco $165 $19 - Best road hazard warranty (5 years)
- Free lifetime maintenance
- Installation charge is included in the quoted price
BFGoodrich, Bridgestone, Michelin
Sam's Club $139 $20 - Second-cheapest tires on average
- Second-best road hazard warranty (4 years)
- Flat repairs on members’ tires even if purchased elsewhere
GoodYear, Pirelli, BFGoodrich and 9 other brands
BJ's Tire Center $147 $20 - Free lifetime maintenance
- 3-year road hazard warranty
- Installation is automatically added during checkout
Michelin, BFGoodrich, Uniroyal and 11 other brands
Discount Tire Direct $144 $19 - Online-only tire store
- Second-biggest selection of brands
- Fast and free shipping to you or an installer
Bridgestone, Continental, Michelin and 25 other brands
Below, you’ll find additional information on each tire retailer and head-to-head comparisons of tire prices, selection of brands, cost of installation, free services and warranty information.
Choosing The Best Tire Store
To find the best places to buy tires, I looked at Consumer Reports data, deals and discounts tracked by ClarkDeals.com and weighed several factors in my own research. These factors included average tire price, selection, cost of installation, free services and warranty information.
Consumer Reports conducted a survey among nearly 50,000 of its subscribers to ask about cost, selection, sales service and free perks when it came to purchasing tires. They collected data on 31 tire stores.
I compared those 31 tire stores to the retailers where our team at ClarkDeals.com has found the best deals. Then I narrowed the selection down to 10 retailers that were all highly ranked by Consumer Reports. Here’s the list of 10: Walmart, Sam’s Club, Discount Tire Direct, BJ’s Tire Center, Town Fair Tire Centers, Firestone Complete, Sears, Tire Rack, Goodyear and Costco.
From here, I began researching the prices and process of buying tires at each store. In my experience, you can find some of the best prices and overall buying experiences at Walmart, Costco, Sam’s Club, BJ’s Tire Center and Discount Tire Direct.
To determine which place is ultimately the best choice for purchasing your next set of tires, I took a closer look at the following factors:
Additionally, I entered information about my own car on each retailer’s website to see where I’d end up getting the best deal myself.
Cost of Tires
While there are many factors to take into account when you’re deciding where to buy tires, cost is certainly a big one.
To determine where you’ll find the best price on tires, I looked at a variety of different data including the median tire price according to Consumer Reports, prices on two specific tires at the time of writing and the range of prices on tires available for two popular vehicles.
In the table below, you’ll see prices for a Bridgestone Turanza 215/55R17 tire that fits my 2017 Toyta Camry and for a Michelin Defender LTX M/S 20″ tire that fits the popular Ford-F150.
Median Tire Price According to Consumer Reports Cost of Bridgestone Turanza 215/55R17 Tires Cost of Michelin Defender LTX M/S 20” Tires Price Range for Tires That Fit a 2017 Toyota Camry Price Range for 20” Tires That Fit a 2019 Ford-F150
Costco $165 $205.99 $213.99 $119.99 to $205.99 (15 options) $205.99 to $268.99 (7 options)
BJ’s Tire Center $145 $202.99 $213.99 $77.99 to $202.99 (38 options) $138.99 to $285.99 (32 options)
Sam’s Club $139 $193.02 $213.99 $79.38 to $218.94 (52 options) $123.73 to $255.56 (34 options)
Discount Tire Direct $144 $173.90 $214.00 $60.13 to $190 (93 options) $100.65 to $444.17 (85 options)
Walmart $102 $173.90 $213.99 $50.22 to $175.99 (132 options) $100.11 to $453.27 (129 options)
In addition to the prices above, it’s worth noting that when I searched for the Bridgestone Turanza tires, there were promos available at Costco and BJ’s Tire Center. The promos offered a $150 savings on a set of four tires with installation.
Also, despite the fact that Costco generally had the most expensive prices in the table above, the original study conducted by Consumer Reports included retailers with median tire prices that ranged all the way up to $226 each. With additional sales and rebates available throughout the year (like the one that was available on the Bridgestone tires at the time of writing), you’ll likely be able to grab a great deal.
In fact, after adding the purchase of all four tires, adding the cost of installation (which we’ll look at next) and subtracting the discounts available at the time of writing, here’s what my subtotals would be at each tire store for a set of Bridgestone Turanza tires to fit my 2017 Toyota Camry:
- Costco: $673.96
- BJ’s Tire Center: $737.96
- Walmart: $755.60
- Discount Tire Direct: $771.60
- Sam’s Club: $852.08
At this point, based on cost alone, I would personally be most interested in shopping at Costco. But considering all the data, it’s clear that Walmart and Discount Tire Direct offer some of the lowest tire prices on average followed by BJ’s Tire Center, Sam’s Club and Costco.
Cost of Installation
In addition to purchasing your tires, you’ll likely also need professional installation. That usually means you’ll be looking at an additional charge, so take that into account before you make your purchase.
As of November 2020, here’s how much you can expect to pay for tire installation:
|Cost Per Tire||Total Cost|
|Discount Tire Direct||$19||$76|
|BJ’s Tire Center||$20||$80|
If you plan on having your tires installed at Walmart, know that installation will cost an additional $10 per tire if you bring in tires that you purchased elsewhere. And if you want the road hazard protection warranty, the cost of installation for tires purchased at Walmart is $25 each.
At Costco, the cost of installation is included in the quoted price of the tires. This may be one reason that the initial prices seem higher than competitors, but after factoring in installation, Costco could be one of your cheapest options.
Since Discount Tire Direct is an online tire store, you’ll need to choose a place to get your tires installed. The price in the table above is the average cost of installation at Discount Tire Direct’s partnering installers, but you can take the tires anywhere.
At BJ’s Tire Center, the cost of installation is automatically added when you check out. Whether you’re shopping online or in-store, you can expect this payment to be required upfront with the purchase of new tires.
Based on this information, Walmart offers the cheapest installation, but if the total cost of your tires is cheaper at Costco than the total cost of tires and installation at Walmart, Costco may be your best bet.
Selection of Tire Brands
Whether you’re loyal to a certain brand or you know exactly which tire you’re looking for, selection may be another important factor to consider when shopping for tires.
Generally speaking, you’ll find the biggest selection of tires at Walmart which carries 32 tire brands. Discount Tire Direct offers the next-biggest selection with 28 brands followed by BJ’s Tire Center which offers 14. Sam’s Club carries 12 different tire brands while Costco carries only three.
Below, you’ll find a full list of tire brands (sorted alphabetically) carried by each retailer:
- Walmart: Antares, BFGoodrich, Bridgestone, Continental, Cooper Tires, Crosswind, Douglas, Dunlop, Falken Tires, Federal, Firestone, General Tire, Goodyear, GT Radial, Hankook, Kumho Tires, Mastercraft Tires, Maxxis Tires, Michelin, Mickey Thompson, Milestar, Nexen, Nitto, Nokian, Pirelli, Promoter, Radar, Sceptor, Solar, Toyo, Uniroyal, Yokohama
- Discount Tire Direct: Arizonian, BFGoodrich, Bridgestone, Continental, Cooper Tires, Dunlop, Falken Tires, Firestone, General Tire, Goodyear, GT Radial, Hankook, Kumho Tire, Laufenn, Michelin, Milestar, Nankang, Nexen, Nitto, Nokian, Ohtsu Tires, Pirelli, Road Hugger, Sentury, Toyo, Vogue Tyre, Westlake, Yokohama
- BJ’s Tire Center: BFGoodrich, Bridgestone, Continental, Cooper Tires, General Tire, Goodyear, Hankook, Kumho Tire, Michelin, Nexen, Pirelli, Toyo, Uniroyal
- Sam’s Club: BFGoodrich, Continental, Falken Tires, General Tire, Goodyear, Hankook, Kumho, Michelin, Mickey Thompson, Nexen, Pirelli, Toyo
- Costco: BFGoodrich, Bridgestone, Michelin
Services and Aftercare
Perhaps one of the most important factors to consider before buying new tires is the maintenance and aftercare that you’ll be paying for.
Based on my research, Costco offers some of the best free services, lifetime maintenance and road hazard warranty available. With a tire purchase at Costco, you’ll also get free lifetime inflation pressure checks, tire balancing, tire rotations and flat repairs. Plus, the road hazard warranty covers tire repairs and replacements for up to five years.
Sam’s Club also offers great services and aftercare with the purchase of tires. No-charge services include balance and rotations, air pressure and tread depth checks, 50-mile re-torques and other services for your vehicle such as wiper blade installation, battery installation and battery checks. The warranty lasts up to four years and covers repairs and replacements. However, flat tire repair is a Sam’s Club membership benefit no matter where you bought the tires.
At BJ’s Tire Center, tire purchases come with free lifetime tire rotation, wheel rebalancing, flat repairs and inflation checks. The full road hazard warranty lasts up to three years and covers repairs as well as replacements.
Walmart includes lifetime balance and rotation every 7,500 miles and 50-mile lug re-torques with the installation. For $10 more per tire ($25 per tire total), you can also get the road hazard protection warranty that covers flat repairs and eligible replacements.
Coming in last for services and aftercare, Discount Tire Direct offers a 30-day return policy on unused tires that you aren’t satisfied with. Beyond the return policy, tires are covered by the standard manufacturer’s warranty which includes workmanship and material defects. Warranty lengths vary by manufacturer.
A Closer Look at The Best Places to Buy Cheap Tires
Based on my research into the total cost of tires and installation as well as included services, here are the top five places to consider making your purchase:
If you’re strictly looking for a good price, Walmart offers the cheapest median tire prices of the 31 retailers I studied. The median per-tire price at Walmart is $102 and installation costs $15.
You can choose from a huge selection of brands including Firestone, Michelin, Cooper, Goodyear, and BFGoodrich. Plus, you can shop online or in-store.
According to Consumer Reports, Walmart’s sales, service and installation quality earn average ratings, though customers agree that the installation time is longer than average and there’s a substantial lack of free perks. Still, it can be a great place to purchase cheap tires.
Walmart also offers its Lifetime Balance and Rotation Plan at $12 per tire. For that price, Walmart will rotate and rebalance your tires at no charge for the life of the tires.
Compared to the other retailers on this list, here are a few of the biggest benefits and drawbacks to keep in mind if you’re thinking about buying tires from Walmart:
To learn more about Walmart Tires, including what you can expect while making your first purchase, check out these five things to know.
While Costco isn’t the cheapest option on the list, it is one of the highest-rated. Plus, several times a year, the warehouse club will discount select brands of tires by $70 to $80 and offer 1-cent installation per tire (regularly $15 per tire).
Costco’s selection may not be the largest, but there’s a big emphasis on staple brands like Michelin, Bridgestone and B.F. Goodrich. Plus, with every installation, you’ll receive free inflation pressure checks, tire balancing, tire rotations, flat repairs and a five-year road hazard warranty.
“I buy my tires at Costco when they offer the double discount of penny installation and an additional incentive for using my Costco Visa card,” Clark notes. “That works out to be a savings of $130!”
Here are a few of the biggest advantages and disadvantages to be aware of when it comes to buying tires from Costco:
For more information, check out these five things you should know before getting new tires at Costco.
Sam’s Club also offers very competitive prices on popular tire brands including Michelin, BFGoodrich, Goodyear and Pirelli. In fact, the average price per tire at Sam’s Club is around $139. Installation averages around $20 per tire depending on your vehicle and location.
Members can order tires online and get them installed at a nearby Sam’s Club, or you can buy the tires in-store. Customers agreed that the installation quality was very good and rated the free perks as excellent.
Tire installation at Sam’s Club includes 24-hour emergency roadside assistance, road hazard protection, rotation, balancing and flat repair for the lifetime of the tires.
You’ll also find promotions, discounts and rebates available year-round on select tire brands. For these reasons, it’s definitely worth paying the difference compared to cheaper tires at Walmart.
Here are a few of the biggest pros and cons when it comes to buying tires from Sam’s Club:
For more information about buying tires at Sam’s Club, check out these five things to know.
BJ’s Tire Center is another great option for buying cheap tires. The median price per tire at BJ’s is around $147. Installation costs $20 per tire.
Customers agreed that the product selection and installation time at BJ’s are good and gave sales services and installation even better marks.
What makes BJ’s one of the best options are all the free perks with tire installation. You’ll receive tire rotation, wheel rebalancing, flat repairs, inflation checks and a full road hazard warranty all at no charge.
BJ’s also offers a three-point tire promise, including an incredible value with a $20 installation, top-brand quality and premium service.
Based on my research, here are a few of the biggest pros and cons for buying tires at BJ’s Tire Center:
If you’re a BJ’s Wholesale Club member, be sure to check out these five things to know before buying BJ’s tires.
Discount Tire Direct is another great tire retailer that offers affordable tires online. The average per-tire price is around $144, and you’ll find that installation averages around $19 per store. Additionally, you’ll nearly always find deals and rebates available, which is a great way to get the best price.
Customers agree that everything from the selection to the sales service to shipping is excellent. Discount Tire Direct carries more than 50 tire brands including Bridgestone, Continental, Goodyear and Michelin.
As with any online tire retailer, the installation price and services can vary depending on where you choose to get the tires installed, and you won’t be getting many free perks with an online retailer.
Compared to the other tire stores on this list, here are a few of the biggest pros and cons that I found with Discount Tire Direct:
If you’re thinking about buying tires online, here are five things to know before shopping at Discount Tire Direct.
You’ll most likely find great prices on tires at Walmart or Discount Tire Direct, but be sure to find out what’s included with that price. For a more inclusive purchase, consider shopping at Sam’s Club, BJ’s Tire Center or Costco.
Also, be sure to keep an eye out for deals, promotions and rebates online. In my experience, these can lead to a major difference in the total price. You’ll most likely find the best deals at warehouse clubs like Costco, BJ’s Tire Center and Sam’s Club.
If cheap tires and installation are your priorities, Walmart may be the best place to shop. But if you can catch a good promotion, Costco may come out to be the most affordable option overall.
If you’re looking for the biggest selection of tires, Walmart or Discount Tire Direct will most likely have what you’re looking for.
When it comes to free services, lifetime maintenance and general aftercare, Costco and Sam’s Club come out on top. Depending on what kind of conditions you drive in, these may be the most important factors to consider before buying new tires.
Each of these retailers allows you to purchase online and have the tires shipped and installed at your nearest location, and that’s a great way to get the best price.
Of course, it’s important to keep up with regular tire maintenance, know when your tires will need to be changed and plan ahead. You’ll likely find more deals just before the seasons change around April and October. Either way, you’ll have more time to compare prices if you know the purchase is coming up!
Where do you go for the best price on tires for your vehicle? Let us know in the comments below!