You can buy car tires at a wide range of vendors, from big-box stores to web-based businesses. And while the tires themselves might be the same, a new survey from Consumer Reports shows that the buying experience varies from tire retailer to tire retailer. That's why you should think as much about where you're buying your tires as you do which tires to buy. 

Four retailers lead the 33 chains included in the survey for overall satisfaction: Costco,, Les Schwab Tire Centers, and Discount Tire. As a broad category, independent retailers are on par with these particular chain retailers.

Although Costco wins favor for its prices, the ratings it received for selection, waiting area, and time for installation are middling. Leading online retailer is one of the few retailers to get top marks for both selection and checkout ease. This is, however, a common trait among the three online-only retailers in our ratings, including and


The majority of other retailers have scores that cluster together, earning favorable overall marks for satisfaction. However, differences can be seen among the various retail experiences, especially among sales staff helpfulness, quality of installation, quality of the waiting area, and free perks offered.

Most survey respondents said their tires were installed in a timely fashion, with 95 percent saying the work was completed within the original retailer’s estimated time. Most shoppers had a highly favorable installation experience, both in terms of quality (83 percent giving high ratings) and time (71 percent giving high ratings), including online shoppers whose tires were installed elsewhere. In general, tire websites were judged to be easy to use and offer quality support provided via notifications, shipment tracking, and live chat.

Sears, NTB, Pep Boys, Tire Kingdom, and Mavis Discount Tire are among the lowest-rated tire retailers. In particular, these retailers all get dinged for the lack of free perks they offer and the amount of time it takes them to install tires.

These are among the insights from a survey of 48,525 Consumer Reports subscribers, who reported on 50,125 tire buying and/or installation experiences from walk-in chains, online retailers, independent tire retailers, and car dealerships. In order to qualify for this survey, subscribers must have purchased two or more new tires for a vehicle in 2016.  

The retailers are presented below in rank order, starting with the top-rated retailer.

See the complete tire retailer ratings.

Tire Retailer Satisfaction

Tire Retailer

Median Cost Per Tire




Les Schwab Tire Centers


Discount Tire


Independent retailers


Fountain Tire


Tire Barn



Belle Tire Distributors




Kal Tire


Kauffman Tire


Dunn Tire


Sullivan Tire


Sam's Club


Just Tires

Car Dealerships


Big O Tires


Tire Discounters


Goodyear Auto Service


Firestone Complete Auto Care


Tire Warehouse


Tires Plus


Town Fair Tire Centers


Monro Muffler Brake

American Tire Depot

Mr. Tire









Pep Boys


Tire Kingdom


Mavis Discount Tire


  1. The Reader Score reflects overall satisfaction with the tire purchase and installation experience. A score of 100 would mean all respondents are completely satisfied; 80, that respondents are very satisfied on average; and 60 that respondents are somewhat satisfied. 
  2. Cost per tire shown controls for car type and includes installation fees, and it is based on only drivers that purchased and installed four tires at the same location. Dashes indicate that the sample size was too small to calculate an accurate value.

See the complete tire retailer satisfaction scores, including ratings across nine purchase/installation factors.