The week before Christmas I took my car in for some service and to get a state inspection, and just my luck, they determined that I needed new tires for my car. Why does this kind of stuff always happen around the holidays or when you are least looking to shell out money for this kind of thing? In any case, the quote from my dealer was for $1,192.00 for four new tires and installation. And while my car doesn’t have cheap tires, from anyone, I figured I could get a better deal at Costco. I quickly verified through the online Costco Tire Center website that indeed I could get a lower price at Costco and have a great warranty to boot. Not to mention, at the time there was a deal for $70.00 off a full set of tires.
When I looked online, I was able to see that the tires, Michelin Energy MXV4 S8 P235/55R18 99V, would be $205.99 per tire. Which isn’t cheap, by any means, but was less than the $233.00 per tire from my dealer. Where the biggest difference came though, was the installation price; just $14.00 per tire at Costco versus $65.00 from the dealer. Yes, that’s a whopping difference of $51.00 per tire just for installation, not including the difference in price of $27.01 per tire, for a total difference of $78.01 per tire. Yikes! So, needless to say I decided to go with Costco for my new tires.
The most unfortunate thing in this story is that the Costco Tire Center at my warehouse in Austin doesn’t take appointments. I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this. So, I took the car in on a Thursday morning, not too long after they opened because I thought that would be a time when not everyone else would be there. It’s hard to tell how many people were there before me because no one stands around the tire area waiting for their car to be worked on. But it wasn’t a quick process. However, the tire center guy did prepare me, and he wasn’t wrong, when he said it was going to be about two hours. It ended up being just five minutes short of two hours that I was wandering around Costco. I love Costco but there really is only so long I can browse around when I’m not in an actual shopping frame of mind. Okay, the truth is that I sat down in one of the office chairs that they were selling and answered email and IM messages on my phone (I love my iPhone) for at least an hour.
When they were finished with my car it was spotless inside (not always the case when you’re having your car worked on, sadly) and they hadn’t gotten greasy hand prints on the outside either. And, what pleased me even more was that they hadn’t damaged the wheels either and everything was lined up properly too. Last time I had someone (not Costco) put tires on a vehicle they had scratched up the wheels and then tried to act like it wasn’t them. But this time the car came back looking just like it had when they took it, only with new tires.
I wanted to make sure that I pointed out some of the benefits to getting your tires at Costco: lifetime balancing and rotation, fixing of flat tires, and of course, their road hazard warranty (I scanned this from my receipt and made a PDF that you can view). Plus, they also use nitrogen to inflate the tires, instead of regular compressed air. Now, you might wonder why you would want nitrogen in your tires and it has to do with maximizing vehicle handling, fuel efficiency and tire life. The nitrogen helps to stabilize the tire pressure, so it stays at the correct manufacturer’s operating pressure. With regular compressed air, the oxygen molecules, which are smaller than nitrogen molecules, escape from a tire three to four times faster than the nitrogen. There is also more moisture in regular air, and that moisture will expand and contract with air temperatures and tire temperatures when driving to change the level of tire inflation. For more details and information, you can read all about the advantages of using nitrogen in this brochure from the Costco Tire Center.
All in all, I am really pleased with my Costco Tire Center purchase. Of course, I have only had the tires for a couple of weeks. But the pricing was more than competitive and the installation went well too. So, once again, Costco has made me happy through good pricing and great service.