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November 10, 2009


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You could rotate your tires yourself.

I would look at this the same way as a rebate. Is the price worth buying the item without the rebate? Pay for rotation at the oil change. It's about the same number of miles and usually under 20 bucks. Driving that distance simply to rotate tires isn't free. That's about like driving extra distance to save $2 in gas.

You get what you pay for..

I don't understand why this would keep you from buying tires at Costco. If Costco is the cheapest place to buy these tires why not buy them there and have someone else rotate them (which most likely isn't even needed every 7500 miles).
Have you considered rotating your own tires?

Discount Tires matches any competitors price and offerfree lifetime tire rotation and balance. Not only do they take appointments, they encourage it. They have been great to me over the years. I am on my 3rd set of tires with them. I would go no where else.

We get coupons on the backs of our Krogers receipts for $16.99 oil changes with free tire rotations at NTB. Since we need an oil change every 7500 miles anyway, this works well for us.

Discount Tires also offers free tire rotations and free patch services for anybody, not just customers. While I was in college and very broke, they were my saviors several times with some tire punctures. They get all my tire business now!

I was surprised by the "come back after 25 miles" thing at my Costco as well. I did, however, see first hand part of the reason they have it. While I was waiting on my tires a woman came in complaining that she took her car to get her brakes done and the mechanics could not get the tire off because the mounting stem was broken and now just spun. They mechanic explained how there was no way they could have done it because they only tighten to X instead of cranking on lug nuts. After a LONG discussion, she left and they mechanic looked at me and said "I can't tell you how many people try to blame us when other shops break things"

Next time, go to get your tires rotated when you have shopping to do. Shopping takes a while and while you're doing that they could be doing your tires.

Waiting always sucks. I go to Discount Tire. I like them and the service is great. But I too have to always wait. I drive a truck. So,the last few times that I have needed any work done on my car, I have thrown my bicycle in the back. Then I just leave the truck with them and I hop on my bike and go, riding ...have a drink somewhere ...whatever. Bottom line ..I think no matter where you go your going to find that you'll have to wait. It's just part of the world we live in.

I second Joe on the Discount Tire recommendation. I've purchased all of my tires there and you get free rotation and balancing for the life of the tire.

CORRECTION: I cannot verify that Discount Tire offers free tire rotations to everybody...they may have taken pity on me in college. I do know that they do simple tire patches for free for absolutely everyone since that's why they were recommended to me to start with...

WRT not needing to rotate tires every 7500 miles:

The rotation interval is going to depend on the model of car. The older Ford trucks with twin I-beam suspension needed frequent rotations because of the suspension geometry in the front. Some AWD cars need frequent rotation due to problems caused by tires being different diameters (Subaru is one of those). Also, many small "sporty" FWD cars need frequent rotation because the rear tires have a lot of camber to them to make them handle better. On the other hand, if you have a plain old RWD car with a solid rear axle, you only need to rotate them often enough to keep the tread wear between the front and back tires roughly even.

My advice: If you do any of your own work, just rotate the tires yourself. If you're not sure about the torque on the lug-nuts, buy a cheap torque wrench and go to 100ft-lbs. A cheap torque wrench won't be that accurate, but it's more about torque consistency between the lug nuts.

I second the "do it yourself" could have it done at home in the time it takes to drive to Costco.

I can't blame them for not making appointments. You are probably one of the very few who dutifully keeps an appointment, but most people are lousy at it. Their workday would be a disaster, with major holes in their schedule because people don't show for their appointments.

Second Discount Tire. My contract (I'm in California) offers free tire rotation. Never had bad service, always on time and the prices are better then Costco.

You should always check your lug nuts after about 20 miles or so after your tires have been off your car for any reason. Especially after you take it some place that's pumping through as many people in as short a time as possible.

I'll add another kudo for Discount Tires, I get all my tires there. The price difference, if any, between DT and Costco is not worth the hassle. At DT I can make an appointment for a flat, new tires, rotation, etc.

And the absolutely best thing about DT is that their extended warranty is valid for the entire life of the tire!! That means if there is usable tread on the tire they will replace it or fix it for no cost. All other places will pro-rate the benefit after some fixed tread wear (usually 7/32).

Wow. Good to hear about Discount Tire. We have several around our home and I think I'll check them out (my wife's car needs new tires soon.)

I have a great solution for you...America's Tire Company! I used to buy all my tires at Costco and I subsequently found out that the last set of tires I purchased there were the wrong size for my car, they made turning the wheel nearly impossible. So, we went to America's Tire Company. My husband had a flat in his ubber expensive fancy low profile tires and they fixed it free of charge. We have since gone back and received outstanding service every time for a fraction of the price of other providers (even for the hubs fancy tires).

Re-torquing lug nuts is not so much a check on workmanship as a basic safety process to ensure that everything seated correctly the first time around. If there was a slight burr on the threads, or perhaps something that didn't allow the wheel to bottom out properly, you could torque the wheel to spec but still have an unsafe condition. It's likely the first 30-50 miles of driving would jostle the anomaly loose, but allow the problem to be caught before you lose a wheel. Every time I've had tires / wheels removed, the shop has asked me to return for this reason. I just check them myself at home with a torque wrench instead.

My father had his tires rotated (at a dealership) and about a week later, the wheel came off the truck! Luckily, he was going about 10 mph and nobody was behind him, because he came to a screeching halt!! They had tightened the lug nuts too tight. Appearently, this is more common than I knew about, once I started talking to others about it. I always ask for my tires to be tightened by hand instead of with the torque wrench.

While I certainly agree that not being able to make an appointment is annoying. I'm confused why you're complaining about the hour plus wait when you did go. You tried to skirt the system (go in the out door) and somebody playing fairly beat you there. Ohhhh... I feel so sorry for you.

Steve --

That's "skirting the system"?

Perhaps not the best way to phrase it... but you get the point. It reminds of me of someone on the highway switching lanes left and right as traffic speeds up and slows down and then yelling as they are passed by someone simply staying in their lane. Or similar behavior waiting in line at the supermarket.

Like I said I agree the whole process is annoying and would probably get me to purchase tires someplace else (depending on the price difference) too. I just found it amusing someone "playing by the rules," so to speak, beat you to the punch.

Steve --

While he technically played by the rules, he was behind me to start, saw I was delayed, sped up to pass me (barely), then almost ran to beat me to the counter. If I had been in his place, I would have let him go ahead (after all, he would have been there before me.)

Anyway, some good has come from it -- I found out about Discount Tire! ;-)

Rotating tires yourself is not a good idea... they REALLY should be balanced ANY TIME they are rotated... or you will surely have problems. I've never bought tires at Costco, but have bought them at Sam's Club, and they offer the same deal as Costco as far as free rotating AND balancing for as long as you own the car the tires were installed on. I've had good luck over the years buying tires at Sam's Club, and they even replaced one tire at no cost when it failed after almost 9,000 miles due to a bad belt in the tire. Most places won't do that without prorating the old tire. Some of the tire dealers where I live (thanks to Sam's and Costco I'm sure) now also offer the free lifetime rotating and balancing, and the prices are not that far off from the discount warehouses either, but very few places I've ever found (other than car dealer mechanic shops) will set appointments for tire rotation... that's like oil changes... first come first serve.

I also would suggest Discount Tire, though I thought the rotation was only if you bought the tires there.
Midas has coupons with a $19.95 oil change and tire rotation, so I've been doing those.
(we used to buy tires at Sam's Club, but their service and selection started to stink, so we went elsewhere.)

Thanks for the Discount Tire recommendation! I JUST finished shopping around for tires and Costco was one of my options. Unfortunately (or is it fortunately now?), their price was higher than a smaller shop down the street so I went somewhere else. Good to keep in mind.

IMO, Costco does a great job - good quality work and cheap prices. However FMF makes a good point on timing. Plan on an hour at least. Luckily I work near our Costco and my co-workers just pick me up after I drop off the car at lunch. We then come back later. They get their tires there too so it's a common thing.

One important thing to note about Costco is that their employees are always well trained and very professional. They seem to actually want to do a good job. My experience at discount tire has been the opposite since it seems those guys could care a less.

Another satisfied Discount Tire customer. They'll price match, but in my experience their prices were the same, if not better.

I buy my tires at Costco strictly for price.
I rotate my own tires or get it done when I have the car serviced. Coming back to check the lug nuts has got to be a ploy to get you in the store. If lug nuts are torque properly there is no need to check them. I have bought 4 sets of tires from Costco and have never had an issue with lug nuts (check them myself). The tire rotation is a cortesy service, also I think to bring you into the store.

Here's a suggestion: Don't rotate your tires. Your tires will not last any longer by rotating them. In fact they you will probably get fewer miles. Why is this? Because the fronts always wear out much faster than the rears. So leave the rears alone and they will go many more miles than if you rotate them to the front. When needed, just replace the fronts with two new tires that match the rears. This applies to cars with a fixed rear axle. It also applies to cars that have independent rear suspension. With independent suspension, each tire at each corner takes a set as they wear. If you keep moving them around you just cause uneven and thus, faster wear. Jaguar specifically instructs owners to not rotate tires. Rotating tires makes all four wear out at about the same time, but you're not really getting more mileage out of them. And, your vehicle will not ride or handle as well. Now doesn't that make life easier? One less "gotta do".

Bill. disagree. Rotating is free... not too psyched about buying two new tires. And not a good idea driving on two sets of bald tires. Your reasoning does not make a whole lot of sense...


It's unsafe to drive in a FWD vehicle with bad front wheels. You will lose some control and wet weather traction. Believe me, you are far better off rotating your tires.

hahaha you don't know how to check if a nut is tight on a stud? your car has a tire iron in it. take a second to realize that they have impact wrenches and you should probably never be trusted to assemble a desk. or furniture in general.

just read some other comments above mine.

you and i are going to be the only ones still alive after the apocalypse when we're all back to simply surviving.

a little knowledge is more dangerous than none..
and a little applied logic goes a long way.

Bills absolutely right. the difference between what he's saying and y'all are contesting is Safety/Performance to Economy/the strange human desire for symmetry.

The checking after 50 miles is really only needed if you have alloy rims. The steel studs and the alloy rims can expand at different rates as the wheel heats up from driving. This can in rare cases cause the lug nuts to work loose. The requirement to return is to cover their behinds in case that were to happen. If you have steel rims (I know, not cool but quite functional) it is not nearly as necessary. Still probably a good idea, just to be safe.

The 25 - 50 mile thing is a general rule for tire tightening, not just a Costco thing. It has to do with heat expansion and retraction of the metal, nothing to do with how tight it is initially tightened to.

First, at the Costco I go to if you need to go to the customer service counter, the cafe or the tire department you don't need to go in the In door. I often go in the Out door and have never even been asked to go around. Second, all the people who rave about Discount Tire there probably is an equal number around who have not had a good experience there. I was sold 4 tires there and after they got my car up and removed the tires from the wheels they told me they found out they only had a couple of the tires they sold me in stock. I could have them re-install my old tires (another hour) or they had another set that was "just as good". I couldn't wait any longer so I bought the set. They turned out to be bad tires - noisy and no good on wet pavement. I got caught in the old bait and switch con. I have never gone back there.

Costco financial analysts have mined some data and found that the average Costco shopping trip nets $x for Costco in contribution margin. They have thus figured out that:

a) They don't mind losing a little bit of money on tires if they get you into the store for a couple of hours
b) In order to have you in the store for a couple of hours, it is to their advantage to make you wait (thus the "no appointment" thing), and
c) If you've made one trip to Costco, why not try to influence you to make another one? (thus the "come back after 25 miles to make sure they were put on securely" baloney line)

I am about to make my first tire purchase from Costco and I saw this post. But I have to say, the idea of having to wait for free rotation doesn't bother me or discourage me from buying there.
One thing that really appeals to me about Costco (aside from having the best price I can find so far) is that they only do tires. So unlike my experiences with Mr. Tire and other so called discount tire places, I'm not going to pick up my car and get an estimate for $500 worth of repairs that I need when I didn't need them going in.

Plus I just called for a quote and was told that if I wait a week to come in, the tires I want will be on sale for $100 off of 4 of them. And free road hazard and rotation is included? I'm sold. I can schedule my visits during non-peak times. In fact he also told me to come on Sunday when there is a football game and I'm almost guaranteed to get right in!!

Bill .. Is absolutely RIGHT. Rotating tires simply causes ALL your tires to wear out at the same rate. So when your tires are worn enough to replace, traction and safety are down all over. Any decent mech will tell you rear tires are very important to stopping in a straight line, so the ass end won't swing out of control. When your fronts are worn to the point that you are uncomfortable, replace the fronts only. The rears will last way longer. You get quite a few MORE miles this way, per tire dollar.

I have bought Michelins for many years at Costco and never found a better price. I have also had 3 tires replaced via the warranty over the years due to sidewall damage with no questions asked. Why check the lugnuts after installation?-20+ years ago, I purchased a new set of tire from NTW prior to going on vacation. About 200 miles south of DC on 95 the lug nuts on two tires sheared off the bolts due the nuts being tightened too much-luckily there was no accident.

Well, Costco is right about re-checking the tightness of the lug nuts. I went to a Walmart Super Center in B'ham, AL and bought a set of tires for my BMW. Before I got home I could tell something was wrong, I checked the tires and found one wheel had the lug nuts so loose I could turn them with my fingers. And BTW, I don't pay anyone for a membership card to buy in their store. So I don't do Costco or Sam's. They are laughing all the way to the bank with your money.

I hope Steve goes to another tire dealer, that makes one less customer to wait behind. Been using Costco for 13 years on a first come first serve basis and it totally works for me. Their prices, hazard coverage, etc are most competitive.

You cannot walk thru a work area as a customer, any adult knows this and should know better than to complain. Front door only. Personally, I am happy to return to double check the lugs. Nothing like being extra safe- another area I would not complain about.

Costco tire center is a disgrace to the good Costco name. My local Costco messed up my tire centers and then just glued them in place. Luckily I caught them and they sent me a check for replacements at my dealership. Now I am sitting in a different Costco. I've come back a few times and given up since there's always a 2+ hours wait just to look at my leaky tire, which they don't stock. So it looks like I may have to do this one more time if it needs a new tire.

obviously you know nothing about costco's policys or standards.If you are inconvenienced by haveing to take care of your vehicle by rotating your tires. take a bus. The disclaimer they have you sign about retorquing your wheels is to ensure that you do not have any issues with the lug nuts being that the compounds in alluminum are softer than those of steel and most cars coming with alloy wheels there is a posiability or your wheels wiggling themselves loose due to the alluminum not anything costco would be doing wrong. Youe wheels will be properly torqued with a calibrated tool when you leave costco not just hammered on by an impact wrench as most other shops tighten your wheels with that will eventually stretch your wheel studs. you obviously sit at a desk and have never gotten your hands dirty to know this. costco stands behind their products and you will get the best value for your dollar on the initial price as well as if you use your costco amex you will get 1% back from them and if you are an executive member you will get back 2% from that. soo lets see you get money back free rotation, lifetime balancing, free rd hazzard warranty (everyone else charges for this), and you are blasting costco because you have to wait for a rotation as you would anywhere else but you cant wait for an appoinment. you are obviously too important to deal with mere mortals at such a horiable establishment that well maybe you should go else where as you are the type of customer that most people dont want to deal with anyway.go pay more for less elsewhere.

j.t. --

1. Nice to hear from a Costco employee.

2. I actually like Costco. If you read everything I write about them (instead of just one post), you'd see that.

3. Yes, my time is worth something. Being able to make an appointment is worth something. Wasting even an extra hour every six months for three years while I own tires is six hours wasted. At $10 per hour, that adds an extra $60 to the cost of Costco's tires. My time is worth much more than $10 per hour.

4. I may not know anything (like you say), but at least I can spell. ;-)

Why you should by tires at Costco...

My local Costco does better work and uses better quality materials than than any of the other local tire shops that I have used. Rechecking the lug nuts after a few miles should ALWAYS be done, no matter who rotates your tires. They can sometimes loosen up, no matter what tools are used, or how carefully the work is done. It's also a good idea to recheck the torque on them... the majority of shops will put the lugnuts on with much more torque than necessary, which risks stripping threads, snapping bolts, and warping the brakes, not to mention it makes changing a flat a royal pain.

Also, if you have a good car in proper alignment and quality tires and you don't drive like a maniac, you should NOT have to rebalance your tires every time you rotate them. I just rotate mine at home because the wait at Costco is almost always too long. Of course, if you suspect uneven wear, there's no harm in getting them balanced each rotation.

If you absolutely must get your rotations done in half an hour or with an appointment, the Costco program may not be for you, since there will almost always be a significant wait.

You are all morons. Don't buy tires anywhere that can't do your alignment. Rotating your own tires is for buba's that don't have anything better to do on Sundays. The suggestion of never rotating your tires and keep buying new front ones because the rear will never wear out is a real knee slapper! They will get choppy and loud from always spinning in the same direction. Tires do need to be rebalanced ussually every other rotation they will be slightly off because as your tread wears down the weight of the tire changes. Finally... There is no need to retorque wheels if it is done right the first time. Wheels falling off is caused by one thing only...human error.returning to have wheels retorqued is recomended for brand new wheels only. What ever people.

TO begin with the people who think that Discount Tires is so great do not live east of Ohio. Their is no Discount Tires in Pa. or in the eastern part of the U.S.A.

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