I am in the process of buying new tires for my Buick LaCross 05.

A independent tire man told me that the tires that Sam’s carries are made especially for Sam’s and Wal-Mart and are not the quality that he would carry.

Is this true?


While they are not “made specially” for those retailers, the economy emphasis of those places makes it likely that they carry only the cheaper tire models from a few tire manufacturers, rather than the “upscale” models from those same tire manufacturers. If you have a membership to Costco, I can tell you that they carry only the higher-rated, high quality tire models from Michelin, Bridgestone, and B.F. Goodrich.

Costco gives you an incredible value for the price, and they also give a lifetime Road Hazard Warranty at no extra cost. Most retailer have Road Hazard Warranties available only at extra cost. Additionally, Costco gives free lifetime rotations and tire repairs at no extra cost.

Consumer Reports noted that one tire is made especially for all warehouse clubs (not just Sam’s), the Michelin X Radial, a couple of years ago during a tire review. It comes with an 80K mile warranty, so its quality and warranty is on a par with other Michelin products. All others are the same as what an independent dealer can purchase, to the best of my knowledge.

For me, the issue with Sam’s is relatively few locations and wait time. It is horrendous in the Kansas City area. I have purchased tires from Sam’s and Costco, and prefer Costco service. That is a personal preference based on observations and waiting time. I also purchase tires at Walmart and have had good success with their tire service and relatively short wait times.

SOME tires that Sam’s club carries are made specifically for them. And it’s nothing more then the same tire your independent tire man carries with a different label on it. The quality is EXACTLY the same.

Sam’s club or WallMart can get you pretty much any tire made by any manufacturer sold in the US. Your independent tire salesman is giving you a line of bull because he can’t touch those prices.

The major companies would not risk their reputations by providing Sams/Costco with inferior tires. The tires I worry about are the no-name ones carried by some car parts chains.

Traditionally, many of the “no-name” tires are actually made by Cooper Tire, of the good old USA. Cooper tires are…not the best…but are usually a decent value as a result of their relatively low price.

However, nowadays, some no-name tires are being made in China. Since I value my life, I would avoid any tire made in China (the land of antifreeze-contaminated toothpaste, lead-laden children’s toys, and…my favorite…the child’s CSI Junior Investigator Kit, whose contrast powder for taking fingerprints was largely composed of powdered ASBESTOS) and I would strongly suggest that people verify the country of origin of tires before buying them. When you consider the types of problems found in these and other products, I would never trust my life to tires that were made in China.


If anyone doubts the bizarre story of the asbestos-contaminated toy from China, take a look at:

It has become very obvious that the mania to become affluent has led to the use of almost any low-priced ingredient in Chinese-made products. Another one that is revolting is the Chinese-made soy sauce that contained liquified human hair as a substitute for some other ingredient. Below is a copy of some text from a NY Times article that was published in the aftermath of the death of hundreds of cats and dogs in the US, as a result of the use of Melamine (a plastic) as an ingredient in wheat gluten that was packaged in China. This article mentions the soy sauce, as well as some other disgusting and dangerous ingredient substitutions used in China. As you can see, it only gets worse with the safety of Chinese-made products:

“In recent years, for instance, China?s food safety scandals have involved everything from fake baby milk formulas and soy sauce made from human hair to instances where cuttlefish were soaked in calligraphy ink to improve their color and eels were fed contraceptive pills to make them grow long and slim.”

Good points. My favorite Chinese toy was one I came across in a toy store - a plastic maze you tilted to move the BLOB OF MERCURY though! Man, what is it with these guys and toxic waste?

Traditionally, many of the “no-name” tires are actually made by Cooper Tire, of the good old USA. Cooper tires are…not the best…but are usually a decent value as a result of their relatively low price.

I LOVE Cooper truck tires…EXCELLENT tires…long lasting…great for the road conditions I drive in…and about 30% cheaper then Michelin…and last as long.

Well, hopefully Cooper has cleaned up its act, and has really ceased their practice of “awling” defective tires in order to puncture blisters that formed during the manufacturing process. Several years ago, a group of Cooper employees described to CBS reporters about how they were directed to use ice picks on these defective tires so that they could be sold. Of course, the tires were still defective, but they did not appear to be so. Below is a link to the Complaint related to one of the suits against Cooper for tread separation problems and the resulting accidents and loss of life.

IIRC, Cooper did not admit to the practice, but they promised NOT to engage in “awling” tires in the future. The Cooper Tire company settled out of court with the families of the people killed by separated treads on Cooper tires.

Yes, it’s true. For example, walmart says to Goodyear that they want a “goodyear” tire which they can sell for X dollars then goodyear produces the tire in the manner of cheapness neccessary to deliver a tire within such pricing specs. You’ll notice that you can not go to a Goodyear store and get the same tire, nor get warranty adjustment on it either. Thers’s a good reason for that.

My 95 Stratus with 160K on it, recently needed new tires, and do to its age I didn’t want to spend a lot of $$$. So the tires I bought was a set of BF Goodrich Touring Premiers sold exclusively through Costco. These tires have been excellent, they are very quit on a car thats not noted for being quit, and also give the car a very a compliant ride. The tire is not very wide however, but there has been no issues with handling, or traction. IMHO a very good inexpensive tire, and with all the service Cosco provides, you cant beat them.

if you have the CX, then here is a list of tires that are rated really well:

Considering how infrequently you usually replace a tire on a passenger car I usually opt for the best quality I can afford. I have experience with Bridgestone, Dunlop, Yokohama, Pirelli, Michelin, Toyo, Firestone, and a couple of other brands over the years and hands down Michelin always impresses me. Their whole product line is impressive quite honestly. The worst brand I’ve dealt with is Firestone-absolutely horrible quality and construction. I don’t go to Wal-Marts, but if they have some Michelins for sale I’d opt for those.