Clark Howard

Costco Tire Center: 7 things to know before getting new tires

When you think of Costco, you probably don’t immediately think of tires — but maybe you should!

That’s because the warehouse club chain delivers members an exceptional tire buying experience at its Tire Centers across the country.

And the service doesn’t stop after the sale. Costco Tire Center has some great deals on maintenance, warranties and anything else you could need after you leave the parking lot.

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Costco Tire Center: What you need to know about prices, appointments, warranties and more

When it’s time to buy new tires, there’s no lack of places you could go — from warehouse clubs to online tire merchants to discount tire shops to independent retailers and more.

But only one consistently delivers the best shopping experience and price when it comes to purchase, installation and lifetime service.

1. Costco beats all competitors on pricing

Costco will beat anyone on tire prices — hands down. Need proof? Just check out these numbers culled from nearly 50,000 Consumer Reports subscribers who bought tires recently.

Keep in mind that online sellers like Amazon and TireBuyer don't provide or include installation in their quote!

The prices below reflect median price per tire when purchasing four tires at the same retailer. This number includes installation and balancing fees

Costco $166 $177
Les Schwab Tire Centers $187
Discount Tire $173
Independent retailers $167
Fountain Tire N/A* $124
Tire Barn $183 $147
Belle Tire Distributors $168

* N/A indicates that the sample size was too small to accurately calculate a median price.

Visit to see the complete list with full rankings on more than 30 retailers.

2. Scheduling a tire appointment is easy

When you're ready to schedule an appointment, you can do it right at the warehouse or you can do it online.

3. Tire installation is a cut above the rest

Most garages will inflate your tires with compressed air when they install them. But not Costco. The warehouse club uses nitrogen instead.

"Nitrogen retains tire pressure better over time than compressed air, which can positively impact the life of your tires, as well as the fuel economy of your vehicle," Costco notes online.

In addition, Costco installs new rubber valve stems when they service your tires. Tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) valve stems and accessories are available for an additional charge.

4. Look for the penny installation deal

Every so often, Costco will discount select brands of tires by $70 to $80 off during different times of the year.

Then, to sweeten the savings even more, they offer installation for just 1 penny per tire. That’s an additional savings of $60 right there!

RELATED: Costco members can save $130 on a set of 4 Michelin tires now through January 20!

5. The 5-year road hazard warranty protects your wallet after installation

Costco's got your back even after you leave the Tire Center and hit the road. A five-year Road Hazard Warranty protects your wallet from tread wear damage and tire failure.

That means Costco will repair or replace your tires if they’re damaged during standard legal vehicle operation. Of course, you’ve got to show your original receipt and keep up with standard maintenance like rotations, balancing, etc. for the warranty to apply.

But it's nice to know you're protected! You can read the fine print here.

6. Costco offers free lifetime maintenance services on tires

When you purchase and get your tires installed at a Costco Tire Center, you also get a lot of freebie maintenance services thrown in for the life of the tires:

  • Free lifetime inflation pressure checks
  • Free lifetime tire balancing
  • Free tire rotations
  • Free flat repairs

7. The savings on tires alone will more than pay for your Costco membership! 

By now you probably get the drift: Costco is a tremendous place to buy tires. In fact, we've included tires as the #1 thing on our list of items that will single-handedly pay for your Costco membership!

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