tires

The table below shows prices our undercover shoppers were quoted by a sampling of local tire dealers, including big chains, independents, auto repair shops, new-car dealers, and online sellers, for four specific models/sizes of tires—two for a Ford Explorer and two for a Honda Accord. All of the stores were asked to quote on a set of four tires for each tire model, including mounting, balancing, valve stems, and disposal fees.

The table also reports Checkbook’s price comparison score for each store or chain. These scores show how each store’s prices compared to the average of all stores’ prices for the tires we shopped. We adjusted the scores so that the average of all stores equals $100. A score of $105, for example, means prices averaged five percent higher than the all-store average.

Note that for online-only retailers, which don’t offer installation services, we added an average installation fee ($90) to their prices for each set of tires.

Here’s what our undercover shoppers found:

  • Major price differences. For example, prices for a set of four Bridgestone Dueler H/L 400 tires for the Ford Explorer ranged from $710 at Walmart and $776 at Discount Tire to $1,220 at the Goodyear Auto Service Center on Wabash Avenue in Chicago—a difference of $444 or more.
  • Among local stores, chains Discount Tire, Walmart, Costco, and Sears offered low overall prices, but we also found low prices at some independent tire dealers, repair shops, and even new-car dealerships.
  • Not all of the big chains or big-box stores offered low prices. Surveyed stores for Firestone Complete Auto Care, Just Tires, NTB, Pep Boys, Sam’s Club, and Suburban Tire quoted prices that ranged from slightly below average to higher than average.

  • Although Costco and Walmart offered low prices, a big advantage to using a conventional tire shop is that selection at the big-box discounters is fairly limited.
  • Online sellers Amazon, OnlineTires.com, and TireRack.com also offered consistently low prices—with incomparable selection. These retailers will ship tires to your home or to a local shop for installation. (On our price table, we added an average installation fee of $90 to the online sellers’ prices.) Among the online sellers, we found that Amazon’s prices were the lowest—about four percent lower than prices offered by OnlineTires.com and seven percent lower than TireRack.com’s.
  • Stores that had low prices for one tire model tended to be competitive for others, but you can’t count on that. Some stores quoted low prices for one tire model but average or higher-than-average prices for others.
  • When shopping for price, specify exactly what you want. If you want mounting, balancing, and valve stems to be included, make that clear. And because there are so many tire models, many with very similar names and specifications, cite the tire model precisely, preferably by the parts number.
  • Stores tend to specialize in certain brands, order some upon request, and refuse to handle others. They are likely to offer their best prices for their specialties. Indeed, some of the stores we shopped would probably have looked better if we had shopped for other brands.

Illustrative Tire Prices

Prices are for a set of four and include mounting, balancing, and valve stems. For online retailers, which do not offer installation services, we added an average installation fee ($90) to each set of prices.

2014 Ford Explorer 2014 Honda Accord Checkbook's price comparison score
($100 = average)
Michelin Latitude Tour HP (88062) Bridgestone Dueler H/L 400 (133272) BFGoodrich Advantage T/A (02107) Goodyear Assurance Fuel Max (738638571)
Discount Tire
6635 W 95th St, Oak Lawn, 708-233-9026
$864 $776 $488 $584 $83
Discount Tire
2845 Planfield Rd, Joliet, 815-436-0906
$864 $776 $488 $584 $83
Amazon.com
888-280-4331
$841 $746 $486 $672 $85
Castle Honda
8833 N Waukegan Rd, Morton Grove, 847-965-8833
$1056 $920 $277 $647 $85
McGrath City Honda Hyundai
6750 W Grand Ave, Chicago, 773-889-3030
$844     $644 $85
Walmart
1300 Des Plaines Ave, Forest Park, 708-771-2270
$986 $710 $474 $652 $86
Walmart
4650 W North Ave, Chicago, 773-252-7465
$986 $710 $474 $652 $86
VIP Tire & Auto Center
7121 171st St, Tinley Park, 708-614-1700
$907 $826 $528 $588 $88
Costco
7311 N Melvina Ave, Niles, 847-972-3003
$974 $828 $508   $89
Costco
7300 S Cicero Ave, Bedford Park, 708-552-9010
$974 $828 $508   $89
Honda on Grand
300 W Grand Ave, Elmhurst, 630-833-7700
$956     $627 $89
OnlineTires.com
877-465-8473
$1034 $705   $642 $89
Sears
4730 W Irving Park Rd, Chicago, 773-202-2000
    $504 $652 $91
Sears
2 Hawthorn Center, Vernon Hills, 947-918-2220
    $504 $652 $91
TireRack.com
888-541-1777
$980 $814 $528 $637 $91
Brilliance Honda
680 W Terra Cotta Ave, Crystal Lake, 815-459-6400
$878 $901 $612 $590 $93
DiscountTireDirect.com $1015 $828 $544 $650 $93
Rod Baker Ford
16101 S Lincoln Hwy, Plainfield, 815-436-5681
$918 $918 $558 $642 $94
TireBuyer.com
866-961-8668
$1086 $830 $526 $642 $94
Joe Rizza Ford Porsche Lincoln
8100 W 159th St, Orland Park, 708-403-0300
$928 $928 $568 $652 $95
McCarthy Ford
11400 S Pulaski Rd, Chicago, 773-239-7900
$940 $940 $580 $664 $96
Roesch Ford
333 W Grand Ave, Bensenville, 630-279-6000
$938 $938 $578 $662 $96
Gillespie Ford
18834 W Grand Ave, Gurnee, 847-244-9500
$948 $948 $588 $672 $97
Sam’s Club
141 W North Ave, Northlake, 708-531-0807
$1106 $851 $595 $622 $97
Sam’s Club
16100 Harlem Ave, Tinley Park, 708-429-6069
$1106 $851 $595 $622 $97
DuPage Tire & Auto Center
1200 E Roosevelt Rd, Lombard, 630-629-8473
$1062 $886 $600 $650 $98
Lucas Tire & Auto Care
3501 N Western Ave, Chicago, 773-528-2212
$1140 $856 $576 $656 $98
Pep Boys
6631 W. Ogden Ave, Berwyn, 708-749-3074
    $586 $654 $98
Pep Boys
2604 N Elston Ave, Chicago, 773-395-4444
    $586 $654 $98
Just Tires
25 Waukegan Rd, Deerfield, 847-945-7210
$960 $860 $542 $835 $99
De Re Tire & Auto
430 Nelson Rd, New Lenox, 815-462-5700
$1080 $980 $568 $658 $100
NTB
840 W Algonquin Rd, Arlington Heights, 847-506-1100
$918 $1107 $538 $710 $100
NTB
915 E Ogden Ave, Naperville, 630-428-2233
$918 $1107 $538 $710 $100
Village Garage & Tire
N Main St, Glen Ellyn, 630-469-9700
$1290 $845 $570 $630 $100
Firestone Complete Auto Care
1755 E Golf Rd, Schaumburg, 224-520-9610
$1182 $802 $598 $710 $101
Firestone Complete Auto Care
1980 N Rand Rd, Palatine, 847-221-0810
$1182 $802 $598 $710 $101
Grand Tire & Auto Service
7034 W Grand Ave, Chicago, 773-622-4361
$1138 $866 $658 $634 $101
Krage’s Goodyear Tire Center
120 E Roosevelt Rd, West Chicago, 630-231-7677
$1200 $919 $562 $649 $101
McGrath Honda in Elgin
2020 N Randall Rd, Elgin, 847-695-8000
$1232 $864   $648 $101
Suburban Tire
3412 Orchard Rd, Oswego, 630-608-2276
$1196   $544   $101
Just Tires
4809 N Broadway St #19, Chicago, 773-334-5552
$1120 $860 $520 $835 $102
C & R Tire & Automotive Center
6800 W 63rd St, Chicago, 773-229-0165
$1187 $925 $603 $683 $103
De Re Tire & Auto
17956 Halsted St, Homewood, 708-957-9070
$1100 $997 $600 $685 $103
Suburban Tire
2064 W Lake St, Hanover Park, 630-504-7771
$1240   $544   $103
Ashland Tire & Auto
3737 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, 773-549-0084
$1116 $916 $636 $716 $104
Associated Tire & Battery
6208 W Roosevelt Rd, Oak Park, 708-383-6673
$1197 $898 $638 $676 $104
Goodyear Auto Service Center
723 W Dundee Rd, Wheeling, 847-541-2124
$1170 $890 $670 $670 $104
Berry Tire & Auto
1001 N Milwaukee Ave, Libertyville, 847-362-4110
$1224 $941 $633 $706 $107
Duxler Complete Auto Care
2620 Green Bay Rd, Evanston, 847-869-3200
$1102 $966 $666 $738 $107
Quality Tire & Auto
7255 Kingery Hwy, Willowbrook, 630-323-0500
$1131 $988 $638 $728 $107
Gene’s Tire Service
280 W 63rd St, Westmont, 630-852-6759
$1258 $901 $636 $739 $108
Wilrae Tires
9200 S Harlem Ave, Bridgeview, 708-599-0900
$1188 $976 $615 $747 $108
Fox River Tire & Supply
20 N 17th St, St Charles, 630-584-0655
$1240 $975 $672 $694 $109
Cassidy Tire & Service
3235 N Western Ave, Chicago, 773-570-5400
$1150 $928 $694 $778 $110
A-Tire County Service
363 N Cedar Lake Rd, Round Lake, 847-546-7491
$1225 $1060 $651 $705 $111
Fast Tire
474 E IL Route 173, Antioch, 847-395-2345
$1248 $1004 $658 $833 $115
Deerfield Auto & Tire Clinic
663 Waukegan Rd, Deerfield, 847-945-0896
$1399 $980 $690 $748 $116
Acorn Tire & Service
6200 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, 773-539-2970
$1331 $1091 $690 $764 $118
Runge’s Auto & Tire
7478 N Rogers Ave, Chicago, 773-764-9360
$1412 $1072 $757 $942 $129
Goodyear Auto Service Center
1806 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, 312-225-5999
$1520 $1220 $900 $1000 $143