Maybe Costco has cheaper tires (I’d have to be convinced) but I suggest you check out Tire Rack online for real bargains on tires. What Costco can’t deliver is the peace of mind that you have actually bought the optimal tires for your car, ones where you have made the correct trade offs regarding handling, ride, quietness, and tread life. And when it comes to your car, these can literally be life and death decisions.
You can’t get this information by looking at a tire. You have to find reviews. So who is actually testing tires for your car? Well, it seems like Tire Rack is; their reviews are both quantitative and qualitative, based on user response. Plus they also do their own direct comparison tests, with different tires put on the same car driven over similar conditions to try to achieve objective, repeatable results. And their inventory isn’t just the mainstream, largest selling tires, but many more specialized, performance-oriented, or just plain excellent but less popular tires.
How, you may ask, do you buy tires online — like who mounts them? They have local tire retailers they work with who will mount your tires for a fixed fee you know ahead of time. Tire Rack ships direct to the retailer; you bring your car and they mount the tires as if you bought them there. Even with shipping and mounting, the cost of Tire Rack tires is competitive with local prices, even discounters.
I’ve bought tires for both our cars now through them. Using their surveys and tests, I ended up deciding on Pirelli PZero Neros, which are definitely not available at Costco, at prices which I believe were completely competitive with more readily available Michelin or Bridgestone brands. The process was entirely painless, from online ordering to final mounting. And the tires have been nothing short of a revelation, changing the handling, ride, and quietness of our cars significantly for the better.
– Louis Rossetto