"One must choose, in life, between making money and spending it. There's no time to do both." - Edouard Bourdet

Are Costco Tires a Good Deal?

By , June 27th, 2015 | 12 Comments »

Costco, the warehouse giant, is notorious for saving shoppers money. Customers can find everything from food products to home appliances and electronics. You can get prescriptions, eyeglasses, insurance, and even a car. Did you also know that you can purchase tires for your vehicle at Costco? The question is whether or not it’s a good idea to purchase Costco tires. What are the advantages as well as the disadvantages of such a purchase?

As someone always in favor of the bad news before the good, let’s begin with the disadvantages.

Costco offers no advance appointments for either tire installation or balancing and rotation. This is probably not a deal breaker unless you have one specific day or time-frame in which you are available to get your tires done, or if you are in a hurry.

If you show up to have your tires either installed or maintained, you are at the mercy of that day’s schedule. You may get lucky and have no wait time at all. On the other hand, it’s more likely you may have to wait up to two or three hours. You could spend this wait time shopping inside of Costco, but the downside to that is that you will inevitably spend more money.

Another disadvantage to buying tires at Costco is a lack of selection. Typically, Costco carries Bridgestone, BF Goodrich, and Michelin tires. There is no denying that these are among the top brands of tires, but you will not have the option of choosing from other alternative brands.

As far as pricing, Costco is generally fairly competitive. However, you could probably research and find lower prices at a discount tire shop. You may end up paying the same price, though, once you consider tire disposal and installation fees.

As far as advantages, the number one would probably be the lifetime warranty replacement of tires purchased at Costco. If you experience a flat tire, Costco will attempt to repair the tire or credit you for the amount of tread that is still remaining on your tire if it cannot be repaired. If the tire is fairly new at the time of the flat, Costco will replace it with a new tire.

The other perk that goes hand in hand with this is Costco’s lifetime rotation and balancing service. This could save you money over the course of owning your tires. The issue here, like with getting tires installed, is there is no appointment system. That means if you want to get a quick tire rotation, you don’t know how long it will actually take.

Costco also inflates tires using nitrogen instead of regular air. Tires inflated with nitrogen are said to stay better inflated than those tires inflated with air, and properly inflated tires can help save money on gas. Costco also offers cheaper installation prices in comparison to other tire shops, which could allow for a big savings.

Like most large purchases, there are pros and cons involved when making a decision. It seems that Costco’s competitive pricing and extended warranty and maintenance services may be worth the extra wait time you may experience by not being able to schedule an appointment in advance.

Besides tires Costco has other things for your car, check them all out in these articles.

Costco Gas Hours
Does Costco Do Oil Changes?
Costco Gas Calculator: Will I Save Money Buying a Membership if All I Buy is Fuel?

(Photo courtesy of David Goehring)

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  • Scott says:

    It’s the wait times that had me switch to Les Schwab. The prices for tires are comparable and they give the same lifetime guarantee for tires, but there aren’t the horrendous wait times you have at Costco. I drive in for a tire rotation at Les Schwab and I’m out in under 30 minutes every time. I used to have to wait 2 hours at Costco.

    • Bobby says:

      But how safe are you on there tires?? Costco hand torque your tires to the car manufactures recommendation. So if your little Prius is sitting next to a F150 and there’s only one airgun that puts both those tires on and no one hand torques your tires. Wow you just way over torqued your lugs and lug nuts. NOT A GOOD IDEA. But hey it only took 20 mins. Good luck

    • Allan says:

      I have bought my last two sets of tires at Costco and have never had to wait—probably because I made an appointment ahead of time. I have always managed to set up an appointment for tires, i.e. replacements, rotations, new, etc. And I am buying another new set….with an appointment to have them put on.

  • Bobby says:

    Ok what Heidi and Scott don’t know or aren’t saying is Costco is one of the few if not only people who hand torque your lug nuts. So your like the rest of the fokes out there and are saying so big deal. Well the torque on a Prius is 76 foot pounds. Ford F150 is 150 foot lbs. so go ask what happens when u over torque bolts and nuts. But hey it only took 30 mins for the other guy to screw up your threads on UR lugs and lug nuts. Repair shops loves to replace them. Me I’ll wait for the real professionals in the tire industry.

  • Bill. says:

    At least in the LA area, one can now schedule apps for new tires and reblancing.

  • Bruce says:

    Interesting thoughts on torquing. I would not worry too much about the torquing if you’re going to a place like Schwab.

    These guys are very well-trained and most use a Torque stick (Torx Stix) which attaches to the air gun – these are all color coded to match the vehicle specifications. Now if you see a guy use the same color torque stick on an F150 and Prius – I’d ask some questions.

    However, I would dissaggree that Schwab is competitively priced. They have GREAT service, but you’re going to pay a little more for it.

    One negative regarding Costco that isn’t called out. They don’t service vehicles. A few years ago I worked at an independent tire and service shop and Costco sent their stripped stud work to me for repairs – I usually had a few a month. This can happen at any shop. They usually break when you’re taking off the tire/wheel and caused by a miss-thread or over-torque by the prior installer.

    By the way, my experience with Costco is that they are also well trained and I would not hesitate to take my car there for tires – but the wait, sometimes to just to speak to someone, is horrid.

  • Adam says:

    I just had tires placed there a couple weeks ago, and all the costcos are offering advanced appointments. No waiting. Just like any other tire store. So if that’s your only disadvantage, it’s no longer a problem.

  • Bill says:

    I drove all the way out to costco today on my donut tire to get a new pair. I figured I’m a member, I might as well take advantage of the good prices.

    I arrived at 4:15pm on a Wed. and was told they could have my car done by 8:30.


    I left, want half a mile down the street to Point S and was back on the road by 5:30.

    Whatever “savings” they’re offering are not worth over 4 hours of my time.


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