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Tire Rack experience

I decided to try Tire Rack as it was mentioned on Car Talk. Well . . . I ordered the tires and paid over $100 to have them shipped to my recommended installer. They arrived and I took the 3500 truck in to have them installed. The installation price on the website from Tire Rack was about $40 cheaper than what my recommended installer quoted. Mind you, they have my tires, I’ve paid for the tires and shipping. Not much to do but pay the extra $40. The recommended installer said they don’t match Tire Rack quoted installation prices. I complained to Tire Rack and they investigated. Out comes yet a third installation price, $94. I am due a refund of $13 on the $40 overcharge.

Lessons learned - there is an internet seller that has free two day shipping. Price them first.
Go to your recommended installer FIRST before you buy the tires and get their installation price before you buy.
Price buying the tires from your local retailer. Remember with Tire Rack you play for shipping and in my case a premium for a “difficult installation” as 3500 model trucks are dualys. You may find the extra charges make it cheaper just to buy locally.
Don’t count on Tire Rack to honor their internet installation prices. You have no recourse.
My Tire Rack order was BF18254.

You just confirmed that research is the best approach rather then sitting at home doing point and click.


A friend had a duelly and wondered why the rotation cost >$100. I looked under rear and noticed his inside rims were painted steel and outside rims were chrome. So, they had to dismount 4 wheels? Is 6 chrome rims an option on some trucks or is it always 4/6 mix? Yes I know rear wheels are mounted inside/outside so maybe I could not see the chrome surface? I know the inside facing wheel was not chrome.

The biggest savings people get with TireRack is no sales tax. This can account for a lot of money. But places like NH were there is no sales tax…I’ve been able to beat TireRack prices every time I checked. I stopped checking a couple of years ago because I was just wasting my time.

I’ve used and recommended Tire Rack for winter tires, mounted, balanced and delivered to my house. Very convenient, and avoids all third party installer issues.

I’m surprised they didn’t refund the $40. I imagine installing tires on a dually is a big deal.

I’ve bought from Tire Rack on two occasions. Both times everything went well. I have an independent tire shop literally across the street from my place of employment, and they are on Tire Rack’s recommended installer list, so it’s very convenient for me. They charge the price that Tire Rack has listed for mounted/balancing.

With that said, I tend to use Costco more often as they are usually a bit cheaper than Tire Track for the tires I generally buy, and they only charge something like $15 per tire for mounting and balancing, , and they often have $70 off a set promotion going on on top of their low tire and low installation charges. The only downside is that it’s a first come, first serve proposition, and I’ve never waited less than 2.5 hours to have a set of tires put on.


Since I buy rather special tires not normally stocked locally, Tire Rack has been my go-to tire store for a long time. Be sure and tell your tire installer you got the tires from Tire Rack and the price they quote online just so everyone is in agreement.

That said, replacement tires for my truck were purchased locally both times since they are a rather normal tire and the same as original equipment. The price I got locally with sales tax was similar to the delivered price from Tire Rack.

I’ve never had a problem with Tire Rack, but it’s useful to know how often others have.

You’re correct that local prices can be competitive. For the tires I’ve bought over the past decade, some were bought locally and some were bought from Tire Rack.

Keep in mind that some of what you pay Tire Rack goes toward testing tires and maintaining lots of good information on their web site. I use that information a lot, so I don’t mind helping to pay for that.

Remember that Tire Rack can be very useful if you need to shave a new tire to match your current tires on an AWD car.

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It seems to me that Tire Rack should have ponied up the 40 bucks.

Some years ago I used to buy some tires from Tire Rack but the shipping costs kept going up and up and local prices became a bit more even.
Eventually it negated any sales tax savings (10% in OK) so I gave up on TR.

I’ve done business with Tire Rack in the past, and had good experiences. They have a great website.

In recent years, though, I’ve bought sets of tires from other online retailers. Tire Rack’s prices are usually comparable… but the shipping is what makes me look elsewhere. Why should I pay $100 extra for shipping when Discount Tire, etc., has the same price but with free shipping?

Another lesson learned that I’ll share. Recently I needed a set of tires and got an online store’s credit card in order to get a substantial rebate on the tires. We got all the way to the end of the order process, when it turned out they would not let me ship the tires to any other address (like the installer) other than my home, when using their store credit card. So that retailer lost my business, unfortunately. Buyer beware.

The fact that you get 4 alloy wheels and 2 steel wheels on a dually means even the manufacturer knows there is no performance advantage to alloys unless you have a race car. Maybe not even then, have you ever seen alloys on a 200+mph Nascar car?

I think NASCAR still requires steel wheels. Possibly the last holdout from the days when stock cars were actually stock.

I have tried buying from tirerack before. Every time I have checked the local prices by calling around or checking the online prices, I either find a better deal locally or the tirerack savings (~$20 for a pair of tires) has not been worth the hassle. I pretty much buy anything else online, so not averse to online shopping but it has to make sense.

FYI, Costco takes appointments now.


@vicjsm - So did you still end up saving money overall? Or would a local shop have been cheaper?

By the time all the charges were rolled in it would have been cheaper to buy the tires locally.

Aside from a plumber and electrician I trust, I count a good tire shop as my most valuable vendor/service provider. I use Doug Blake at Medfield Tire and Battery in Millis MA. He matches Tire Rack’s prices and with shipping taken into account, my costs are lower than the estimates on Tire Rack for install.

I’ve used Tire Rack for my last 4 sets of tires. The price is about the same as the local stores, which are all chains. I get a much better selection and can use my regular mechanic. I have continuity with the garage I use, and I don’t mind giving them the business.

Any time I’ve looked at it, it just didn’t seem worth the bother. Plus if you have a problem with a tire that’s an additional hassle as well as not getting free rotations and balancing from a dealer.

At least in Minnesota and I bet in other states, just because you aren’t charged sales tax, doesn’t mean you don’t owe it. There is a form to fill out to declare out of state purchases and to pay the sales tax.

I looked at Michelin tires for my car, tire rack beat my local shop I use religiously, Gotten many perks from them over the years, like the time after an oil change sounded like all the valves were crashing on startup, the oil filter had been superceeded and I had taken a video of the noise, they got the old part # filter, did an oil change for free with the old filter part #, and problem continued. Ended up being a bad belt tensioner which they diagnosed and fixed, was worth it to me to spend an extra $40 for $820 tires from the guys that treat me well.