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 $704 at Capital Tire in Shakopee and $710 at Walmart to $1,107 at NTB—a difference of $403.
  • Among local stores, chains Walmart, Discount Tire, and Costco 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 Capital Tire, American Tire & Auto in Brooklyn Center, and the Goodyear Auto Service Center on Silver Lake Road in Minneapolis.
  • Not all of the big chains or big-box stores offered low prices. Surveyed stores for Firestone Complete Auto Care, NTB, Pep Boys, Sam’s Club, Sears, and Tires Plus 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 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 six 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)
Capital Tire
1248 Vierling Dr E, Shakopee, 952-697-6727
$704 $440 $476 $78
American Tire & Auto
7624 Brooklyn Blvd, Brooklyn Center, 763-566-4840
$956 $820 $508 $488 $88
Goodyear Auto Service Center
4020 Silver Lake Rd NE, Minneapolis, 612-781-2668
$571 $88
Amazon.com
888-280-4331
$841 $746 $486 $672 $89
Walmart
1644 Robert St S, St Paul, 651-453-0343
$986 $710 $474 $652 $90
Walmart
12195 Singletree Ln, Eden Prairie, 952-829-9040
$986 $710 $474 $652 $90
Discount Tire
1350 University Ave W, St Paul, 651-641-8916
$964 $780 $520 $588 $91
Discount Tire
7915 Eden Rd, Eden Prairie, 952-294-8220
$964 $780 $520 $588 $91
Costco
11330 Fountains Dr, Maple Grove, 763-494-8050
$974 $828 $508 $93
Costco
1431 Beam Ave, Maplewood, 612-486-1740
$974 $828 $508 $93
OnlineTires.com
877-465-8473
$1034 $705 $642 $93
Buerkle Honda Hyundai
3360 Hwy 61 N, White Bear Lake, 651-484-0231
$976 $844 $531 $610 $95
TireRack.com
888-541-1777
$982 $817 $530 $639 $95
Walser Honda
14800 Buck Hill Rd, Burnsville, 952-388-2231
$617 $95
All J’s Tire Center
5001 Xerxes Ave S, Minneapolis, 612-927-7981
$920 $796 $568 $660 $96
Richfield Bloomington Honda
501 W 77th St, Richfield, 612-866-8832
$1063 $906 $533 $551 $96
Westside Tire
19925 75th Ave N, Hamel, 763-420-2100
$1048 $751 $544 $644 $96
Wright Tire Service
710 W Main St, Anoka, 763-427-5700
$1104 $761 $527 $625 $96
DiscountTireDirect.com
$1015 $828 $544 $650 $97
Samaritan Tire
3200 Oak Ridge Rd, Minnetonka, 952-933-3363
$1068 $832 $508 $652 $97
TireBuyer.com
866-961-8668
$1086 $830 $526 $642 $98
Fred’s Tire & Service
14520 60th St N, Stillwater, 651-439-0403
$1103 $838 $541 $629 $99
Luther North Country Ford Lincoln
10401 Woodcrest Dr NW, Coon Rapids, 763-427-1120
$928 $928 $568 $652 $99
Morrie’s Ford Lincoln
13400 Wayzata Blvd, Minnetonka, 952-546-5441
$928 $928 $568 $652 $99
Weinhagen Tire
206 Wabasha St S, St Paul, 651-222-4736
$1136 $872 $528 $612 $99
Goodyear Auto Service Center
3013 W 66th St, Richfield, 612-866-5053
$651 $100
Luther Hopkins Honda
250 5th Ave S, Hopkins, 952-938-1717
$1053 $917 $580 $589 $100
Sam’s Club
9925 Hudson Rd, Woodbury, 651-702-7970
$1096 $845 $589 $616 $100
Sam’s Club
3745 Louisiana Ave S, St Louis Park, 952-929-9158
$1096 $845 $589 $616 $100
Superior-Brookdale Ford
9700 56th Ave N, Plymouth, 763-559-9111
$956 $956 $100
Tire Town
8528 Pillsbury Ave S, Bloomington, 952-881-0764
$1016 $872 $580 $652 $100
Twin City Tire & Auto Service
12479 Plaza Dr, Eden Prairie, 952-829-8000
$1012 $868 $672 $100
Mills Fleet Farm
8400 Lakeland Ave N, Brooklyn Park, 763-424-9668
$1116 $900 $568 $616 $101
Pep Boys
1426 E Mendota Rd, Inver Grove Heights, 651-451-2100
$576 $644 $101
White Bear Tire & Auto
1350 Highway 96 E #22, White Bear Lake, 651-429-8111
$1014 $882 $622 $630 $101
Heartland Goodyear Tire & Service
1120 E 146th St, Burnsville, 952-891-5555
$1172 $872 $552 $628 $102
Apple Ford Lincoln
7200 150th St W, Apple Valley, 952-431-5900
$954 $954 $594 $678 $103
AutoNation Ford
1493 E County Rd E, White Bear Lake, 651-484-7231
$956 $956 $596 $680 $103
Brookdale Honda
6800 Brooklyn Blvd, Brooklyn Center, 763-561-8111
$1058 $922 $618 $617 $103
Jim Cooper’s Goodyear Tire & Auto Service
1835 Diffley Rd, St Paul, 651-454-3250
$1065 $982 $611 $103
TGK Automotive
5237 Edgewood Ave N, Crystal, 763-533-9710
$1099 $959 $567 $628 $103
Tires Plus
1103 W Lake St, Minneapolis, 612-587-2378
$1068 $820 $600 $704 $103
Accurate Auto & Tire Services
8767 Jefferson Hwy, Maple Grove, 763-391-7512
$1211 $888 $556 $649 $104
Grandview Tire & Auto
5100 Vernon Ave S, Minneapolis, 952-929-3115
$588 $680 $105
Norm’s Tire Sales
2767 Long Lake Rd, Roseville, 651-483-4591
$1068 $948 $588 $672 $105
Edina Tire & Auto
5354 France Ave S, Edina, 952-926-5110
$1156 $920 $596 $668 $106
Lakeville Tire & Auto
20909 Holyoke Ave, Lakeville, 952-469-4428
$1208 $922 $580 $653 $106
NTB
9200 Lyndale Ave S, Bloomington, 952-884-5330
$991 $1107 $543 $679 $106
NTB
3757 Lexington Ave, Arden Hills, 651-490-9271
$991 $1107 $543 $679 $106
Sears
12431 Wayzata Blvd, Minnetonka, 952-542-2078
$520 $772 $106
Sears
1297 Shingle Creek Dr, Brooklyn Center, 763-572-3000
$520 $772 $106
Tires Plus
300 Snelling Ave N, St Paul, 651-433-6585
$1208 $820 $600 $704 $106
Paramount Goodyear Tire & Auto Center
1707 Weir Dr, Woodbury, 651-738-9202
$1244 $828 $628 $696 $108
Firestone Complete Auto Care
1399 Town Ctr Dr #15, Eagan, 651-234-4886
$1224 $844 $640 $752 $111
Firestone Complete Auto Care
2269 Ford Pkwy, St Paul, 651-234-4842
$1224 $844 $640 $752 $111
Steve’s Tire & Auto
5355 34th Ave S, Minneapolis, 612-724-1202
$1344 $984 $615 $694 $114
Venburg Tire
3001 Maplewood Dr, Maplewood, 651-483-2601
$1157 $1013 $643 $749 $114
Valley West Goodyear Tire & Auto Service
10608 France Ave S, Bloomington, 952-884-9228
$1355 $720 $119