Discount Tire: How to Buy Discount Tires

Tink tink tink tink tink tink tink.

These were not the normal rattles I hear when I’m driving my 2007 Honda Fit down the street while driving back from my Neighborhood Walmart for groceries.

I’m used to the jack in the back of the car rattles when I’m going down the Interstate at 80 mph. To me, that rattle is just ambiance, like the sound of the ocean while at the beach.

No, this rattle was slightly different. It was about 60 degrees out so I rolled down both of my windows while driving down the street to see if I could hear where the rattle was coming. Nope, no idea.

I also checked both of my rear-view mirrors because the left corner of my rear bumper is attached with zip-ties. Several times I’ve been going down the Interstate to have the corner of the bumper pop off and act like a tiny sail against the wind. Now that makes some real noise and can easily be heard above Metallica blaring over my radio. But today the bumper hadn’t come apart again. No worries, I’m almost home. And when I arrive home I’ve forgotten about the rattle.

That was until the next morning when I was getting ready to drive to the gym with my family. My rear tire had gone flat. It was a busy day, and I didn’t need the cart that day or the next.  I decided I would wait (procrastinate) about taking the tire off and bringing it in to be fixed.

Hopefully, they can just plug the hole for $10, and I won’t have to buy a whole new tire. Wouldn’t that be a dream scenario? I remember in 12th-grade auto shop learning how to plug holes in tires. Since then I’ve never come across a tire that could just be ‘fixed’. They always seem to need to be ‘replaced’. Have you ever had a flat tire that was just plugged and fixed? I haven’t.

Now my driveway has a slope to it, and that’s where the car is parked. I wasn’t comfortable jacking up the car on the slope. I was just envisioning it sliding downhill off the jack. So I moved my wife’s car out of the garage, thinking I would just drive the Fit onto a flat surface to put on the spare tire.

This maneuvering of the Fit from the driveway to the garage resulted in me driving on the flat tire for, oh I don’t know, maybe 40 feet? This is a key point here which we will get back to in a minute.

Hello Costco

If you have listened to my show or read my other articles, you know I love Costco. I save a lot of money there. When my wife’s Toyota needed new tires, I shopped around on the Internet and found Costco had the best prices. I ordered four new tires through the Costco website and had them delivered to my local store. They called me a couple days later – ‘Mr. Turner, your tires are ready. Come in at any time and we’ll get them put on.’ ‘Great, thank you very much!’

I drove the Toyota in one afternoon, and they service tech said it would take about an hour to get the new tires put on. That was perfect because I can certainly wander every aisle in Costco and see what they have that I might not know about.

Side note here – Costco carries A LOT of stuff. ‘Oh wow, I didn’t know they sold these!’ is a phrase that comes to mind. Always check out warehouse clubs when buying durable goods.

Based on my positive experience with the Toyota tires, naturally my first thought is to call Costco to see if they can patch my tire. Because if they can’t, I would want to buy a replacement from them.

‘No, I’m sorry we can’t patch your tire because the walls have collapsed from the tire being driven. And I’m not comfortable replacing the tire because it’s a Dunlop, and we don’t sell Dunlops. I don’t like to mix and match tires. You might try Discount Tire.’ Those were the words of the Costco service tech.

So I drove my car 40 feet on a flat tire to prevent myself from being squashed by a runaway jack, and now I can’t get my tire patched. I do own an air compressor. Apparently I was supposed to inflate the flat tire first, then drive the car into the garage so that I didn’t collapse the tire walls. I think that’s stupid, I should be able to drive a measly 40 feet at 1 mph from my driveway into my garage and not have the tire get ruined. But I guess you can’t!

Hello, Discount Tire

From the Costco parking lot, I call Discount Tire. Yes, they carry Dunlops. No, they aren’t in stock. Yes, they can order me one. $139.00 Great. Two more days of driving around on my donut tire. And that nail just cost me $139.00. But wait – you read the title of this article, right? Where does $179.02 come from? Grrrr…

After this phone call, I start to wonder – ‘where did I get these tires from in the first place?’ Obviously not at Costco. I may have gotten them at Walmart, but it had been so long I can’t remember. It could have been National Tire and Battery. Wherever it was, it was long before I realized I should be buying all my tires at Costco.

What Costo Costs Per Tire

$84.99 for a tire
$15.00 installation package and disposal fee per tire.

What Walmart Costs Per Tire

$92.43 for a Dunlop tire
$12.00 installation per tire
$9.00 optional lifetime balancing. I’m not the type of person that goes back to get my tires rebalanced periodically – are you?

What Discount Tire Costs Per Tire

$131.00 for a tire!!!
$16.00 lifetime balancing per tire
$18.50 for a refund/replacement certificate. What is this piece of garbage???

That $18.50 is just a junk fee thrown on to make more money. Do I really need a piece of paper for $18.50 to show my tire is under warranty.

Discount Tire was NO DISCOUNT

I paid too much for my tires. Discount Tire was no discount for me at all.

When you call to get a quote on tires, or you look online to order tires – get ALL the costs up front. There was no mention on the phone of disposal fees, warranty certificates, and installation charges, yet these are fees are all common junk fees that get tacked on to your bill.

I was quoted $131.00 over the phone for a new tire, and my final bill came out to $179.02. There was $11.02 in tax, but that’s still $37.00 more than I was quoted. And take a gander at the Costco and Walmart prices I gave you. Had I gone to Walmart I would have saved $60.00.

What if I had bought four new tires at Discount Tire – the price difference would have been $240.00!!!

I overpaid – and now you don’t have to. Know the steps to take when you need some new tires, or need to get a replacement. Call first and ask for the walkout price.  And when you show up get the walkout price IN WRITING before any work is done on your car.  If they give you a higher price than what you got on the phone – raise your voice in protest.  Don’t be ripped off.

Look at Walmart or one of the warehouse clubs and get ALL of the pricing, installation, disposal charges and any other junk fees up front. You’ll be glad you did, and you can keep more money in your wallet.

Question: Have you gotten a bad deal buying new car tires?  Please tell me about it on Facebook.

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