Whether you buy tires from a garage or bring them in after obtaining them online, you will be able to request mounting and balancing service to ensure the tires are safely installed. Expect to pay up to $45 per tire.
Buying tires online can start off sounding like a grand idea. At first, you get to specifically sort by price to ensure the tires you’re purchasing fit into the budget. Secondly, you can find the right size tire for your vehicle’s specific year, make, and model. It makes it easy to find tires.
Then comes the harder parts: delivery and installation. New tires are bulky and heavy by nature, making regular shipping difficult. The tires can come via a delivery service, but the packaging or shipping costs may be more expensive than they’re worth.
Other delivery sources just drop off the tires without wrapping them, perhaps as a tire service or auto parts store offering.
There’s even a national company that will allow car owners to buy new tires online and have them installed where the car owner lives.
If the service catches on, our days of waiting a whole afternoon at the tire shop could be long behind us in the near future.
Where to Install Tires that I Bought Online
Sometimes we make purchases on the Internet and ask ourselves later what in the world were we thinking; this could happen if you bought tires online before finding a place to install them.
For the drivers with a garage stocked full of tools (dedicated to auto repair as a profession or a hobby), this is no problem at all. They have the wrenches, lifts, jacks, and gauges they need to get the job done quickly and effectively. For the rest of us, we have to find a partner.
Buying tires seems like a chore many of us forget until we’re stuck on the side of the highway with a flat tire.
Some companies have set out to change the way this works. Instead of having customers who buy tires online and not know where to go next, they look for customers who are looking for a one stop shop.
Local competitors have been doing at-home and roadside tire installation for years, but the technology and logistic capabilities for a national provider to enter the scene had been lacking for decades. This is where Tirescanner stepped up to the plate.
Some similar services are really just like giant telephone books or directories. They advertise as a nationwide service, but they instead just sell the gig to a local company who has enrolled as a partner. This is a win-win for the business side, but hard on the customer if things do go right.
Finding the best place to install a tire you bought online shouldn’t be so challenging.
What sets big companies apart is that they have truly committed themselves to making all of the experiences the same no matter from where the tire change service has been sourced.
It leads us back to a debate that always arises out of the question Where do I have my tires installed if I bought them online? Whereas some people promote the local garages and tow services, others stand by the belief that national companies do it better.
Tire Installation at Independent Tire Shops
When you buy tires online that you don’t know where to install, you’ll be quick to hear someone advise you to call up a local tire shop. Independent garages may be able to help! The trick is to ask them upfront if they install tires that you have purchased elsewhere.
Some shops will be happy to take on the work, charging you for labor but not parts (at least not the tires). Others may tell you no, that they have a contract or agreement with certain vendors to only install tires that are from specific inventories. This is common at dealerships.
The national competitors are keeping tabs on the situation. Often what happens is that with the resources allocated to a research and development team, professionals can analyze what works (and what doesn’t) out on the field, especially in local geographies.
For example, if company X installs tires you bought online for $25 a tire and company Y does the same for $45 a tire, the instinct might be to offer the lower price.
However, if the customers of company X are dissatisfied with the quality or timeline, then company Y is on to something. The analysis doesn’t stop with the lowest rate. It starts with the happiest customers. Wherever that’s happening, it’s what others aim to replicate.
National tire installation brands often give a “branded vehicle” to a local tire shop and contract the calls that occur in their local area. Don’t be surprised to see these companies out on the road.
Is this a disruption in the tire installation industry? It could certainly be one if the big names keep moving in a positive direction. With more and more people interested in supporting local commerce, though, don’t rule anything out.
Buying Tires Online to Install In-Person
When people buy their tires online, they have a lot of questions, especially if they are unfamiliar with the process.
The good news is that the answer to one common question Where do I get tires installed if I bought them online? is fairly simple.
If you buy tires online, many tire shops will offer a flat fee for a service that involves removing the current tires, mounting the online-purchased set, and disposing of the old ones. The typical fee for such a service is roughly $20 per tire.
Ask if the service includes a new valve stem and the disposal of the current tires. You don’t want to be stuck driving around with those in the trunk!
Just be sure to read the fine print closely before signing off on any work. You never know what surcharges, taxes, and fees are being tacked on. Asking two or three garages before selecting one can help avoid you overpaying for tire changes.
In fact, with this service, many people are finding success buying tires on websites like Amazon!
Costco shoppers, on the other hand, have found out that these garages usually only install tires purchased through them.
For this reason, some people go with a friend or family member who knows cars inside and out. Somebody with a knack with a wrench, and the proper tools, could change the tires for free if they really like you. At minimum, there will be a steep discount.
Walmart shoppers have reported finding success in asking for tires purchased online to be installed, but this may vary store to store or if the company changes it policies. National retailers often do.
Best Companies for Buying Tires Online
If the plan of buying tires online and having them installed at a brick-and-mortar location is starting to sound good to you, you should learn which companies have a decent reputation as online tire vendors.
One of the biggest names in the game these days is Tire Rack. The company is based out of Indiana. They are a mail-order tire company. They got their start by listing ads in magazines written for car aficionados.
Eventually people began shopping for tires online, and this firm was one of the first to make the jump. The company got a lot of praise for having a variety of tires that arrived quickly.
Discount Tire Direct is another popular choice, but it’s not as famous as other brands. Like its competitor, the company was a mail order company that went virtual when the Internet became a popular place to buy tires online.
Have you heard of NTB? It stands for National Tires and Battery. It is a Frankenstein based on several mergers in the 1990s and 2000s. At one point, it was even part of Sears! Now, however, they sell tires online. Shipping to service centers is available in some localities.
A lot of customers like shopping with Discount Tire Direct because the inventory is expansive. You’re likely to find the well-known tire models as well as a few that aren’t so common (generic).
Another perk to shopping with this company is that they do have some in-person locations, meaning if you’re worried about buying online, you have a partner who may be able to walk you through the process from start to end.
Of course, Goodyear is a company people will recognize. The idea, in theory, sounds great. You shop for Goodyear tires on their own webpage. When you find the tires you need for your situation, you click to have them sent to you or to an authorized installation location.
Online reviews of the service are mixed, though. Goodyear is rumored to sell excellent tires, but the process of getting them sent to an address or coordinating the installation at some third-party retailer has been hit or miss according to some.
When the logistics don’t land, it’s frustrating for car owners.
In many parts of the United States, the only place that installs tires in the 25-mile area is Walmart. Who hasn’t spied random tires on grocery store shelves in a Walmart? When passing buy with the shopping cart, it’s almost comical. Buying online is different!
Walmart will ship tires you purchase online straight to your door (without cost, usually – based on company policy). You can also choose to have them shipped to a nearby Walmart location. If they have a garage (many do), you might get the tires installed on the spot.
Walmart is a fan favorite because fair prices are generally on the menu and the national name means that customer service is mildly predictable in nature.
Amazon was mentioned earlier, and here it is again! The name that’s taking the world by storm, Amazon is becoming a major player in the online tire arena. Amazon Prime members enjoy free shipping, making buying tires online easier (and more affordable) than in the past.
All of the main players are on Amazon, so there’s no problem finding a name-brand high-quality product. However, Amazon is quick to show users something that might seem like a better deal. Remember, with tires, you get what you pay for. We don’t recommend off brand.
Another place people buy tires online is in virtual marketplaces like Craigslist or Facebook. You can definitely scope out what’s for sale without issue, but the average car owner should be cautioned that buying tires in a private sale is not for the faint of heart.
You have to really know a thing or two about buying tires if you’re going this route. For amateurs and newbies, the tire services offered by registered businesses are going to work out better.
Why Do People Buy Tires Online?
Buying tires online, at first glance, seems like a hassle. You have to learn how to read tire sizes, refer to the owner’s manual, compare prices, and coordinate shipping and installation. For some, it’s simply not worth it.
For others, the same attributes warrant a green light: the lower price, the abilities to shop big catalogues, the respectable customer service, and to-their-door shipping spell out a major victory.
Of course, there’s the other option: arranging for tire installation at the location of your choosing online. With new companies, asking the garage to come to you is an option that can’t be ignored. You could always just take your car to the shop, the old-fashioned way.
At the end of the day, what’s most important is that you change your tires regularly, not how you choose to do it.