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 Michelin Latitude Tour tires for the Ford Explorer ranged from $660 at Eppie’s Discount Tire, $745 at Mill Street Tire, and $784 at BJ’s to $1,217 at Creamery Tire—a difference of $433 or more.
  • Among local stores, chains BJ’s, Costco, and Walmart offered low overall prices, but we also found low prices at some independent tire dealers, repair shops, and even new-car dealerships. The lowest prices were quoted by Eppie’s Discount Tire in Philadelphia and United Tire & Service in Downingtown.
  • Not all of the big chains or big-box stores offered low prices. Surveyed stores for Firestone Complete Auto Care, Just Tires, Mavis Discount Tire, Mr. Tire, NTB, Pep Boys, Sam’s Club, Sears, and Tires Plus quoted prices that ranged from slightly below average to higher than average.
  • Although BJ’s, 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 and OnlineTires.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)
Eppie’s Discount Tire & Auto Repair
9409 Bustleton Ave, Philadelphia, PA, 215-464-8200
$660 $760 $512 $512 $82
United Tire & Service
100 Robbins Rd, Downingtown, PA, 610-269-3680
$944 $740 $424 $468 $83
BJ’s
152 Route 73, Voorhees, NJ, 856-768-9015
$784 $824 $424 $608 $87
BJ’s
200 Easton Rd, Warrington, PA, 215-488-4050
$784 $824 $424 $608 $87
Mill Street Tire
300 N Church St, Moorestown, NJ, 856-235-1591
$745 $788 $544 $617 $90
Tires Etc
515 W Baltimore Ave, Clifton Heights, PA, 610-259-8800
$1050 $825 $486 $463 $90
Amazon.com
888-280-4331
$841 $746 $486 $672 $91
Keenan Honda
854 N Easton Rd, Doylestown, PA, 215-340-9000
$900 $560 $520 $91
Keystone Discount Tire
1224 Street Rd, Bensalem, PA, 215-638-3313
$912 $792 $536 $556 $92
Walmart
270 Indian Run St, Exton, PA, 484-875-9053
$982 $706 $470 $648 $92
Walmart
117 Wilton Blvd, New Castle, DE, 302-324-0900
$986 $710 $474 $652 $92
Werbany Tire Town
1337 N Black Horse Pike, Blackwood, NJ, 856-227-0049
$896 $780 $536 $580 $92
Delaware Tire Centers
616 S College Ave, Newark, DE, 302-368-2531
$1071 $510 $504 $93
Sloane Honda
9903 Bustleton Ave, Philadelphia, PA, 215-305-5000
$1019 $535 $93
Tire-City
2917 Veterans Hwy, Bristol, PA, 215-785-2255
$835 $865 $552 $552 $93
El’s Tire Service
2724 Pulaski Hwy, Newark, DE, 302-834-1997
$908 $520 $620 $94
Costco
900 Center Blvd S, Newark, DE, 302-444-9310
$974 $828 $508 $95
Costco
201 Allendale Rd, King of Prussia, PA, 610-337-6601
$974 $828 $508 $95
Miller Tire & Auto
856 Blooming Glen Rd, Blooming Glen, PA, 215-257-4307
$1084 $815 $484 $581 $95
OnlineTires.com
877-465-8473
$1034 $705 $642 $95
Rossi’s Tire & Auto Service
291 E Township Line Rd, Upper Darby, PA, 610-789-2121
$828 $96
TireRack.com
888-541-1777
$988 $823 $536 $645 $98
DiscountTireDirect.com
$1015 $828 $544 $650 $100
Mr Tire
328 Haddonfield Rd, Cherry Hill, NJ, 856-486-4430
$1020 $548 $636 $100
TireBuyer.com
866-961-8668
$1086 $830 $526 $642 $100
Tires Plus
424 W Lincoln Hwy, Exton, PA, 484-713-9680
$1080 $828 $556 $596 $100
Fitzgerald’s Tire & Auto Service
500 N Easton Rd, Glenside, PA, 215-885-1100
$940 $912 $600 $620 $101
Mavis Discount Tire
537 Lancaster Ave, Malvern, PA, 610-340-1514
$996 $804 $708 $101
Mavis Discount Tire
1731 E Marlton Pike, Cherry Hill, NJ, 856-218-3961
$996 $804 $708 $101
Mr Tire
401 S Dupont Hwy, New Castle, DE, 302-328-2945
$1020 $560 $636 $101
Ron’s Discount Tires
1702 Naamans Rd, Wilmington, DE, 302-475-4000
$1100 $820 $537 $638 $101
C J’s Tire & Automotive Services
1405 S Township Line Rd, Limerick, PA, 610-409-0400
$1097 $804 $571 $660 $103
Morgan’s Tire Service
813 Sunset Rd, Burlington, NJ, 609-386-4100
$1080 $853 $571 $639 $103
Pep Boys
2916 Springfield Rd, Broomall, PA, 610-353-3384
$580 $648 $103
Sam’s Club
2000 Clements Bridge Rd, Deptford, NJ, 856-853-0219
$1102 $847 $591 $618 $103
Sam’s Club
1717 E Old Lincoln Hwy, Langhorne, PA, 215-949-6501
$1102 $847 $591 $618 $103
Sheridan Ford
4001 Kirkwood Hwy, Wilmington, DE, 302-999-0261
$936 $936 $576 $660 $103
C J’s Tire & Automotive Services
305 Coldstream Rd, Kimberton, PA, 610-933-5984
$1097 $868 $571 $652 $104
John Kennedy Ford Mazda
1403 Ridge Pike, Conshohocken, PA, 610-279-1700
$944 $944 $584 $668 $104
Pep Boys
121 College Sq, Newark, DE, 302-368-1828
$584 $652 $104
Kershaw & Fritz Tire Service
670 N Easton Rd, Doylestown, PA, 215-345-0712
$1175 $858 $570 $627 $105
Rosemont Tire & Service
1203 E Lancaster Ave #7, Bryn Mawr, PA, 610-527-9010
$1100 $878 $578 $667 $105
Sears
3240 Kirkwood Hwy, Wilmington, DE, 302-995-9399
$627 $624 $106
Sears
1067 W Baltimore Pike, Media, PA, 610-892-8200
$627 $624 $106
Dempsey’s Tire Center
175 Bridgeton Pike, Mantua, NJ, 856-468-1400
$999 $930 $613 $707 $107
Firestone Complete Auto Care
2098 New Castle Ave, Burlington, NJ, 609-952-6857
$1178 $798 $594 $706 $107
Firestone Complete Auto Care
1524 E High St, Pottstown, PA, 610-427-8712
$1176 $796 $592 $704 $107
Lucas Ford
Rte 130 & Columbus Rd, Burlington, NJ, 609-386-3100
$982 $1020 $588 $678 $107
Creamery Tire
4123 Creamery Rd, Creamery, PA, 610-489-2122
$1217 $1217 $500 $500 $108
Just Tires
71 Christiana Rd, New Castle, DE, 302-322-8069
$940 $924 $544 $835 $108
United Tire & Service of West Chester
614 Westtown Rd, West Chester, PA, 610-692-6997
$885 $983 $635 $720 $108
Tires Plus
660 W Cuthbert Blvd, Westmont, NJ, 856-229-0298
$1142 $829 $620 $728 $109
Miller Ford Lincoln Subaru
1592 & 1596 Rte 38 E, Mount Holly, NJ, 609-261-7836
$998 $1036 $613 $703 $110
NTB
3235 Brunswick Pike, Lawrenceville, NJ, 609-912-0251
$1057 $1107 $585 $641 $110
NTB
25414 Pulaski Hwy, Bear, DE, 302-834-7812
$1059 $1107 $587 $643 $110
Paul Campanella Auto & Tire Center
1703 Augustine Cut Off, Wilmington, DE, 302-777-7170
$1060 $940 $672 $756 $114
Just Tires
1136 West Baltimore Pike, Media, PA, 610-892-9214
$1216 $864 $595 $835 $115