As your tires’ treads wear down to the point of baldness, shopping around for a fresh set becomes necessary. For many drivers, two top options are the retail giants Discount Tire and Costco. With their differing service offerings, warranty choices, and more, deciding where to spend your hard-earned money can get confusing.
This comprehensive guide compares Discount Tire and Costco across key categories so you can pick the best tire retailer for your specific needs and budget. Time to replace those worn out tires!
Here’s a quick comparison:
Choosing between Discount Tire and Costco for tires involves tradeoffs. Discount Tire provides affordable pricing on tires from 50+ brands, but charges extra for installation and maintenance. Costco limits selection to Bridgestone, Michelin and BFGoodrich yet includes a generous 5-year warranty, balances/rotations, and lifetime repairs. Decide based on whether low upfront costs or ongoing ownership perks hold more value for your needs.
Brand Variety: From All-Season to High-Performance
When it comes to the actual tires themselves, Discount Tire clearly has the edge in terms of selection. With over 50 tire brands and countless models to browse through, you’re bound to find options for everything from basic all-season tires to ultra high-performance and winter/snow tires. Whether you drive an SUV, sedan, crossover, or even a sports car, Discount Tire has got you covered.
Costco plays in a much more limited lane, offering tires from just three brands: Michelin, Bridgestone, and BFGoodrich. Now don’t get me wrong – these are quality tire manufacturers. But if you’re looking for a wider selection of brands and tire models, Discount Tire drives away with the win here. Caveat: there are some Costco locations that sell other brands beyond this “Big 3” lineup, but it’s not consistent nationwide.
The Variety Winner: Discount Tire
Pricing and Warranties
Now to the money talk. When comparing base tire prices alone, Discount Tire tends to edge out Costco, with cheaper average prices per tire. However, Costco fights back when you factor in the included warranties.
Every tire purchased at Costco automatically comes with a free 5-year road hazard warranty protecting against defects and damage like punctures. At Discount Tire, you’d have to pay extra for a comparable 3-year road hazard coverage plan. Most tires also include the standard manufacturer defects warranty as well.
Here’s a warranty comparison:
|Road Hazard Warranty
|$10-15 per tire
For a lot of drivers, having that extra peace of mind from Costco’s longer, free warranty makes up for the slightly lower tire prices at Discount Tire. Your needs may vary here depending on your budget.
The Price/Warranty Winner: Toss up. Depends on preferences.
Installation and Maintenance Fees
The costs don’t stop once you pick out a shiny new set of tires. You still have to pay to get them installed and maintained over their lifespan. This is another area where Costco dominates over Discount Tire.
Costco includes a tire installation package with every purchase, currently charging only $14 per tire. Contrast that to Discount Tire’s $19 per tire install fee. The difference adds up, especially if you’re buying 4 tires or more.
But wait, there’s more! Costco also offers free flat repairs, tire rotations, wheel balancing, and pressure checks for the life of your tires. At Discount Tire, expect to pay every time you need air added or get a nail hole plugged. These complimentary maintenance services make Costco extremely appealing to folks wanting maximum value out of their tire investment.
The Fees Winner: Costco
Now for the catch. To shop at Costco and take advantage of those sweet perks, you need an active membership which starts at $60 per year for a basic gold star membership. Discount Tire has no such membership requirements or fees.
Think about whether that annual Costco membership expense makes sense for your situation. The rebates and savings can be worth it, especially on big-ticket items like tires. But if you won’t shop there enough to justify the membership or want to avoid another monthly bill, Discount Tire remains open to all.
The Membership Winner: Discount Tire
Availability and Convenience
With nearly 1,100 warehouse store locations across the U.S. and Canada, Costco still pales in comparison to Discount Tire’s impressive footprint of over 1,000 stores. Discount Tire expands their reach even further via partnerships with auto shops and dealerships that sell and install their tire brands on-site.
Bottom line: it’s probably easier to find a Discount Tire store nearby. Most locations also allow you to shop online and then schedule a installation appointment that works for your schedule. No waiting around in a crowded warehouse!
The Convenience Winner: Discount Tire
The Final Call: Choose Discount Tire for Selection and Value, Costco for Service and Warranties
Deciding whether Discount Tire and Costco is ultimately the right tire provider for your needs depends greatly on what you value more – upfront purchase price, brand selection, or long-term service perks and warranties.
Here’s a quick recap on when you might choose each retailer:
Shop Discount Tire When You Prioritize:
- Wide brand selection
- Finding the lowest tire prices
- Avoiding membership fees
- Convenience and availability
Shop Costco When You Prioritize:
- Getting a premium warranty
- Ongoing free maintenance
- Minimizing installation/service fees
- Shopping at a preferred warehouse retailer
As you can see, there’s no universally “best” option. Identify your must-have tire buying criteria, weigh the key differences covered here, and then make the smartest decision for your own situation. Those worn out tires aren’t going to replace themselves!
1. Does Costco offer tire installation?
Yes, Costco includes a tire installation package with every tire purchase. The current fee is $14 per tire installed which is lower than installation charges at many other retailers.
2. What kind of tires does Discount Tire sell?
Discount Tire sells tires from over 50 different brands ranging from budget all-season tires to premium and performance tire models. They offer one of the largest tire selections in the industry.
3. How long does Costco tire warranty last?
Every tire bought at Costco includes a free 5-year road hazard warranty covering defects and damages like punctures. This protection is much longer than the warranty Discount Tire includes.
4. Is Costco tire center cheaper than regular tire shops?
In most cases, yes. Not only are Costco’s base tire prices competitive, but they have lower installation fees at $14/tire compared to $19/tire at Discount Tire. Costco also provides free lifetime maintenance.
5. Does Discount Tire price match?
Yes, one advantage Discount Tire offers is a low price guarantee. If you find the same tire sold cheaper elsewhere, even after your purchase, Discount Tire will refund the difference or match the competitor’s pricing.