With so many tire brands to choose from, choosing which one to go with can be challenging. Luckily, tires at Walmart provide great value. The giant super-store has 11,500 stores in 27 countries and over 2,500 auto care centers, making it a convenient go-to place to buy affordable tires. With that said, you may be wondering if their tires are any good.
Are Walmart tires good quality? Walmart offers a wide selection of name-brands from high-end Michelin rubber to budget-friendly Goodyear tires that can satisfy both picky consumers and bargain hunters. They provide good quality tires with affordable installation packages.
Deciding if Walmart tires are up to par should not make you feel intimidated or disgruntled. Let this article guide you with must-know details about tire selection, tire codes, and other service stations to rightfully decide on buying tires from this supercenter.
How to Choose Good Quality Tires
With replacement tires, you want to get the exact tires your vehicle originally had. However, original equipment tires can be expensive. Knowing what makes a sound replacement tire is the first step to deciding whether you should buy from Walmart or not.
Tread-life warranty is one thing you should look into as this varies according to the type of vehicle you ride. Vehicles that boast of exceptional handling and unleash those extra horses usually have shorter tire longevity than passenger cars. Likewise, comfort is an aspect to consider. For instance, switching from using large-diameter, high-performance tires to grand touring tires may soften your ride a bit and make you happier. Performance is another vital factor. Summer or three-season tires provide more grip during wet or dry conditions, but at the expense of comfort and traction in the snow.
You may also look into load capacity, speed ratings, fuel efficiency, and reviews. Once you have these main items down, then it will be the best time to cross-check your preferences with your budget and decide if there are any features that you may need to compromise. You also want to confirm that you don’t get surprised by hidden charges. Take note of offers for routine tire inflation, multipoint and alignment checks, flat tire repairs, balancing and rotation, disposal fees for old tires, and warranty.
Walmart Tires Review
While some people think Walmart tires are good for nothing, this shopping giant does offer other top-quality options. These tire brands, which Walmart has in its selection, meet the stringent qualifications of auto magazines and Consumer Reports.
Good Quality Walmart Tires
Michelin, Bridgestone, Continental, and Pirelli brands form its high-end tire selection. With unquestionable quality, these tires are worth their hefty price tag. Dunlop and Goodyear are also dependable brands. They offer a more extensive range of tires and are not as pricey as the first four. Hankook, Yokohama, Linglong, and Sumimoto tires are Asian-manufactured tires and just as equally good as those mentioned above. All ten name-brands have the highest brand value for the current year, as reported by Brand Finance Group.
Other noteworthy brands at Walmart that are not part of the list are Cooper, BF Goodrich, and Uniroyal. Uniroyal AT 225/70 R14 tires has especially received high praise from consumers.
Walmart Tire Prices
This megastore’s tire prices vary according to size, purpose, make, and performance ratings. Passenger vehicle tires range from $38 to $135 while light truck and SUV ones sell between $38 and $247. Pickup truck tires cost from $55 to $310, and SUV and light truck trailer tires range between $62 and $344. Walmart Goodyear tires value at $54 to $187. Tire prices vary if based on quality and performance. Cheap tire brands less than $50 per tire usually get low customer ratings while mid-priced to high-end tires get the best customer reviews.
Walmart Auto Center
Walmart tire centers have certified auto care technicians who perform minor oil, lube, and battery services. They also offer two kinds of tire installation packages at $15 per tire – basic and value. The basic package includes tire mounting, valve stems, lifetime balancing, tire rotation every 7,500 miles, and lug re-torque. The only difference the value package has is the inclusion of Road Hazard Protection. This warranty covers unforeseen road hazards and flat tire repairs. Tire replacement and other repair eligibility are dependent on the extent of the damage.
- Slow installation – A significant customer complaint is that Walmart tire installation can drag on for eternity. While this is not acceptable for many people, it is okay if you go to their auto center knowing what to expect. The key here is that you have to be prepared to wait.
- Strict Warranty – Another is that Walmart can be quite strict in honoring warranty and inspecting what caused the tire damage. But what consumers sometimes fail to understand is that these budget-friendly tires give Walmart a narrow profit margin. Not to mention that a claim on a tread-life warranty is not as easy as returning worn-out tires and expecting new ones. The retailer looks into maintenance requirements like performing regular rotations and alignment checks and keeping a record of each maintenance session. So before you avail of their Road Hazard Warranty and throw down $10 per tire, be sure and ask for details on when a tire is or is not covered.
- Not as good quality – The third is that the tires are not up to snuff compared to the quality tires sold at local shops. This statement may not be correct, but when shopping for tires at Walmart, make sure to get tires with recent date codes off the rack. Avoid stressing about their tires having unique part numbers as Walmart is a large retailer and does have contracts with major tire manufacturers for retailer-specific models. Additionally, do your research on the features of the tires you intend to buy beforehand so that you don’t rely entirely on the Walmart employee’s expertise. The customer feedback below best explains this:
Larger retailers like Walmart, Sam’s Club, Sears, and others, have contracts with large tire manufacturers for retailer-specific models. The Goodyear Viva is sold exclusively at Walmart (based on the Goodyear Regatta), the Goodyear Assurance Touring is sold exclusively at Sam’s Club (based upon the Goodyear Assurance), and the Michelin WeatherWise II is sold only at Sears (based on the Michelin Harmony). If the claim is valid, and that’s usually that mass-market retailers get “seconds,” then where do the “firsts” go – in the garbage?
Walmart tires not meeting expectations is partly our fault as consumers. Because we are always hell-bent for cheaper alternatives, we sometimes forget that we are buying a replacement and not OE tires for our vehicles. OE tires are purpose-built to optimize vehicle performance like how tires that highlight straight-line acceleration would work best with sports cars. If a car rides on replacement tires, then optimum performance, including mileage, fuel efficiency, and wear and tear, is not guaranteed to be the same. The basis for choosing tires must not be limited to magazine reviews, price, and tread pattern alone – we should be looking into whether the features of that tire comes closest to manufacturer specifications.
Walmart Tires vs Costco Tires vs Competition
You may wonder, are Walmart tires different than Costco? Knowing who else is out there will help you assess whether it’s best to purchase your tires from Walmart or elsewhere. The information below is not exhaustive, but these key players would give you a good idea of what is currently standard in the tire service industry.
- BJ’s Tire Center offers its Incredible Value package that provides lifetime tire maintenance, including tire rotation, wheel rebalancing, flat repairs, inflation checks, and full road hazard warranty. Their $20-per-tire installation rate also includes click-to-book installation appointments. Like most tire service stations, BJ’s does not do wheel alignment.
- Canadian Tire has a nationwide warranty with the consumer’s service history available across its 490 service centers. It also offers computer-based verification of your wheels, visual inspection of tire tread, TPMS, lug re-torque, battery, and air-conditioning health checks, and engine tune-up inspection with a written Vehicle Inspection Report.
- Costco, another strong membership club in Canada, provides its members with an installation package that includes mounting, inflation pressure checks, valve stems, tire balancing and rotation, and flat repairs. Tires (generally cheaper than Walmart tires) are Nitrogen-inflated, which retains pressure better over time than compressed air. The installation package costs $18.99 per tire.
- Discount Tire (a.k.a. America’s Tire in some states) exclusively deals with tires and wheels, making its staff installation experts. Its on-site inventory of tires ensures immediate tire installation away. Great discounts for lesser-known brands and informative in-store displays are also available for customers. However, their service stations do not check tire alignment, which could cause tires to wear out quickly and void any tread-life warranty you may have.
- Firestone Complete Auto Care is a tire chain owned by Bridgestone that offers a full line of maintenance services apart from tire sales and installation. Its tire prices are comparable to other retailers and include tires from Falken and Toyo – like Toyo Tires Open Country M/T Mud Terrain Radial Tire-37X12.50R22LT 127Q (view on Amazon). Tire mounting is free of charge, but you will have to pay for tire installation, balancing, environmental and recycling fees, and tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS).
- Goodyear Auto Service stands out with its free alignment check, which is not offered by the rest of the competition, even Walmart. Other services include free tire consultation and pressure check, tire installation that costs roughly around $22 per tire, TPMS, tire rotation, and professional mounting and balancing. The installation rate per tire varies according to the specific make and model of your vehicle. Additionally, consumers must purchase tires from Goodyear.
- Sam’s Club is probably Walmart’s toughest direct competition in America. Sam’s Club members can buy a tire installation package for $9.50-20 per tire, which already includes mounting, lifetime balancing, new valve stems, tire rotation, flat tire resistance, waster tire disposal, and road hazard protection. The shop’s attractive pricing and 24/7 emergency roadside assistance (available for three years after the date of purchase) are primary reasons for its top ranking among consumers.
- TireRack.com makes the process of online tire purchases smoother. Its Tire Decision Guide feature narrows down tire choices specific to your vehicle’s year, make, and model. This online retailer has staff that checks every order for anomalies and provides thorough information and objective advice for your tire of choice. It also helps you find a local installer where the tires ship to and whom you pay directly for installation costs.
Walmart also has to compete with independent dealers and local mechanics. Independent dealers offer many brands large retailers also have but may not be able to do immediate tire installation as they have to order the exact tire model you need. Ideally, you begin shopping for replacement when you still have 4/32 inches of tread on your tires. This way, you won’t have to rush to get your tires replaced with whatever the shop has on hand.
Breaking the Code
When purchasing right size tires for your vehicle, it is crucial to know what the numbers on the tire sidewall mean. Here is how you can decipher them.
- Tire Type. The first letter indicates the tire type for a P-metric tire: P for passenger vehicles and LT for light trucks. If you see no letters initially, this is indicative of a Euro-metric tire, which has a different load capability than P-metric tires.
- Tire Width. The next three-digit number indicates the width from sidewall to sidewall in millimeters. So with my example, the tire width is 245 millimeters.
- Aspect Ratio. The next two-digit number after the tire width usually appears after a slash and indicates the aspect ratio – the ratio of the tire’s cross-section height to the tire width. With our sample tire, its height is 75% of its width. Take note that the smaller the number, the shorter the sidewall.
- Construction. The next letter indicates the tire construction and typically shows the letter R, which means that the layers run radially across the tire.
- Wheel Diameter. The two-digit number following the letter R is the size of the wheel that the tire is intended to fit, measured from one end to the other. In our example, P245/75R17 112S means a 17-inch wheel diameter.
- Load Index. The next two-digit or three-digit number is placed by tire manufacturers to indicate the maximum load-carrying capacity of a tire when properly inflated. It is an important detail as you should never install a tire with a lower load index number than what your manufacturer recommends.
- Speed Rating. The last letter tells you the maximum speed capability of a tire. For instance, an L-speed rating has a maximum speed capability of up to 75 mph, while our example S-speed rating has up to 112 mph. You should always follow manufacturer recommendations when referencing to speed ratings. You should only upgrade to a higher speed rating if you have modified your vehicle for track use or driving along the Autostrada.
There are more numbers and letters like M+S or M/S that stands for mud and snow. The letters DOT on the sidewall indicates that a tire complies with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards in the U.S. The next 12-digit alphanumeric number after this identifies the factory location and tells the week and year the manufacturer produced a tire. There are also UTQG (Uniform Tire Quality Grading) indicators on a tire, which translates to treadwear, traction (especially in wet conditions), and temperature capabilities. No need to worry about these other numbers unless your tires are subject to a recall.
Walmart Tires: Frequently Asked Questions
- Are Walmart tires cheaper quality? No, a manufacturer risks its reputation if it puts out a low-quality product of a name brand that is known nationally. So unless a manufacturer sells a specific item in large volumes to Walmart, developing a cut-rate version of the same product just for them would not make sense. However, manufacturers have the option to produce a private label product for Walmart so as not to hurt the profit margins of smaller dealers. This may apply to other Walmart products but not to tires.
- Are Walmart Douglas tires any good? Believed to be Goodyear’s line of low-priced tires, Walmart Douglas tires are reliable. Still, it depends on your vehicle use, the weather, and local road conditions. For instance – if you want tires that provide a year-round performance, can handle wet roads and light winter driving, and has good tread life, then Douglas All-Season tires are a perfect choice. But if you specifically need a winter or summer tire with excellent grip and handling, you will need to select a different variant.
But for the sake of argument, watch this video by Clay that shows how durable Douglas tires are.
- When is the best time to buy Walmart tires? It is ideal to purchase tires in either October or April. The reason behind this is that tires go on sale before winter and summer to encourage people to change their tires to correspond to weather conditions.
- Should I stay away from any specific Walmart tire brands? The tire brand should not concern you. You should be considering UTQG labels, your budget, tread patterns, and Walmart’s service center. If all these meet your needs, it wouldn’t matter if you bought a Douglas or Westlake tire.
Conclusion – Are Walmart Tires Good Quality?
The bottom line is the quality of tires depends on whether they’re the right fit for your vehicle and budget. It shouldn’t be a question of where you get it. Walmart offers tons of quality tires, and it is you who makes the selection. Your choice may have a lower speed rating or may last only 45,000 miles instead of 75,000. They may also not have an attractive tread pattern or big-size wheels. But so long as they are not prone to road-noise, don’t scare you when it rains and makes you enjoy driving, then that’s all that matters.