If you’re a car owner, you know that every few years, the tire replacement process is necessary. As tires don’t last forever, as they wear down or get old, you need to purchase new ones. For some, the process is relatively simple, while it can get a bit more complicated for others.
There are tons of stores where you can get a new set of tires, regardless if it’s a smaller local shop or a big retailer. Despite the choice options, people are still struggling to decide where to purchase them. Since I don’t know every store in the country, I’ll focus on the bigger ones. Today’s lineup will include Tire Rack and Discount Tire. Both are among the most popular choices in the US, and I’ll be comparing their services.
What is Tire Rack?
With the pandemic, online shopping became quite popular, something that Tire Rack was way ahead of. The company has been selling online tires for quite a long time, and there is hardly anyone that hasn’t heard of it.
Based on the name, you may have guessed that this is a tire-only company, which is partly true. Tire Rack’s main occupation is selling tires, but on top of that, you will also find rims, as well as car parts. Don’t expect to find too much, but some people will find that as a positive thing.
When it comes to finding a new set of rubber, Tire Rack is relatively easy to use. If you know the tires’ size on your car, you can go with that option, or you can search by car type. Both should offer pretty much similar results.
In terms of results, with 26 available brands on the site, you will have plenty of options to choose from. Tire Rack will offer you anything from cheap to premium tires. Once the purchasing process is completed, you have several options for installing the tires.
The first one and, in most cases, the recommended is to go with one of Tire Rack’s services. As an online-only service, the company doesn’t have physical tire replacement services. Instead, it relies on recommended ones that adhere to the company’s rules and guides. That results in a piece of mind, knowing that the tires are correctly fitted. With over 9000 services across the country, Tire Rack ensures that you can find one very close to your home. For this approach, Tire Rack will deliver the tires free of charge to the service, and all you’ll need to do is choose a time and date and drive to the service.
Another option is if you already have a service in mind. With this approach, you can have the tires delivered to your home, and you’ll need to take them to the shop.
Finally, the last option is to install the tires yourself. Some people have a very well-equipped garage and have the tools necessary for tire installation. You can ask to have the tires delivered to your home and rely on Tire Rack’s guide on how to install tires.
What is Discount Tire?
Something that many people seem to confuse is what Discount Tire is about. A common misconception is that it’s an aggregator for discounted tires, but it’s a tire retailer in reality. The company is in business since 1960, which started off as a one-man shop and slowly grew into the company we know today.
Finding a tire is a straightforward process, where you can search by your car’s details, tire sizes or browse through the brands. On top of tires, you can also search for rims and additional car accessories.
Discount Tire enables you to search for tires online, but the company still works with physical locations. When it comes to locations, the company isn’t as available as some of the other tire retailers. It is available in 35 states across the US and has over 1000 store locations.
Tire delivery and installation can be achieved in several ways, depending on your preferences. For the most part, people go with the option to pay for the tires and have them installed at one of Discount Tire’s locations. It is ideal because you won’t need to carry the tires with you or wait for them to arrive at your house. You will need to schedule a date and time, and you’ll be good to go.
You can also have the tires fitted at a dealer of your choice, as long as you have one. As long as the shop is certified, Discount Tire will deliver them to ensure that the installation is done correctly. There is also an option to have the tires delivered to your house, at which point they can be installed at any service, or you can take the DIY road.
When it comes to tire brand options, Discount Tire is considered one of the best. With over 60 tire brands, you will have tons of options to choose from, depending on the class, price, and features.
What are the Pros of Tire Rack?
Tire Rack is a retailer that has many positive sides to it, which is why it’s such a popular option. The main selling point is the available options, something that many people like. Covering brands from the cheap all the way to the premium segment, there’s a model for everyone’s budget.
Next is the search and help options, something that will be of great help for people that aren’t well versed. Searching by tire size or vehicle type eases the process, leading to a sure way of getting the tire right. As an alternative, you can also ask for help. Tire Rack’s support team consists of experts that will help you find the right set of tires.
Tire Rack also has a separate section for discounted tires. These come in the form of deals, where you can get a certain amount deduces from the total price.
Finally, there are the service locations. Even though Tire Rack doesn’t have physical services, it lists over 9000 recommended ones. These are locations that the company recommends as excellent places to have your new tires installed. You can ask to have the tires delivered there, and you will rid yourself of any inconvenience. With this many locations, it is improbable that you will find yourself in a situation where the service will be far.
- 26 available tire brands
- Easy to use
- Separate section for discounts
- Over 9000 recommended tire services
What are the Pros of Discount Tire?
Considering the name, I’ll start with the discounts. Discount Tire has a separate section for discounts meaning that it may cost less. As you’d expect, the retailer has some rules regarding it, so you’ll need to check each deal individually. In addition to that, you can combine the deals with Discount Tire’s membership card and get a bigger discount.
Despite the online purchasing option, Discount Tire still has physical locations to have your tires replaced. That leads me to the second advantage, which is the replacement price. Even though it’s not the cheapest one, having a fixed price means that you can plan your budget. You’ll know the exact price you’ll pay for the tires themselves as well as their replacement.
Now we reach the best feature that Discount Tire has to offer, and that’s the available options. With 61 available tire brands, you are looking at the most flexible tire retailer in the country. This is an excellent feature because there are brands from the cheapest segment up to the premium ones.
- 61 available tire brands
- Discounts with membership card
- Fixed tire replacement price
- Over 1000 tire shops
What are the Main Differences Between Tire Rack and Discount Tire?
The main difference between Tire Rack and Discount Tire is how the companies work. Tire Rack has warehouses, but the selling part of the business is online, meaning that you cannot visit a physical location. On the other hand, Discount Tire has physical shops, and you can visit them and purchase the tires on the spot. In a way, they are similar to Costco, and you can check out our Costco vs Tire Rack Review here.
Car owners that aren’t too familiar with the tire world may struggle to choose the right set. Here I think that Tire Rack is a slightly better option. The combination of guide articles and call centers seems to offer more information and help for struggling people. Discount Tire isn’t too bad, but you’ll have to rely mainly on the guide articles or talk to a representative at the location.
Regarding the locations, Tire Rack has none, while Discount Tire has over 1000. The way Tire Rack works is by recommended tire services where you can have the new tires installed. There are over 9000 recommended services, meaning that things are quite flexible in terms of choosing a location. Discount Tire is slightly more limited, especially when it comes to supported states. Even though there are over 1000 locations, the company is available in 35 states, so it’s not like you’ll find it anywhere across the US.
The final difference is the number of available tire brands. Tire Rack certainly isn’t lacking, and with 26 brands, it offers a lot of variety. Discount Tire, on the other hand, has a lot more and sells tires from 61 tire brands.
Tire Rack Available Tire Brands
- Dick Cepek
- General Tire
- Power King
Discount Tire Available Tire Brands
- GBC Motorsports
- GMZ Racing
- GT Radial
- Mickey Thompson
- Mountain Journey
- Pit Bull
- Pro Comp
- Road Hugger
- Rocky Mountain
- Skat Trak Atv
Winner: Tire Rack
In terms of customer service, I’d say that Tire Rack is slightly better, but that doesn’t make Discount Tire bad.
The main reason why I feel that Tire Rack is a better option is that there is a single phone number that you can reach out for help. With Discount Tire, you will need to look for the number of the services closest to you or go there in person.
You have a blog section with both retailers, which consists of plenty of information regarding choosing the right model. Even though Discount Tire has a pretty extensive section about this, Tire Rack has a few guides on changing the tires yourself. Most people probably wouldn’t do that, but knowing that there’s an option and an explanation is a nice touch.
Winner: Discount Tire
It was difficult to determine a winner in the value segment, and Discount Tire took the crown, but only by a margin.
The prices for the tires are more or less the same, to a point where some models have an identical price. As a result, a set of 4 tires will cost you the same, regardless if you’re purchasing them from Tire Rack or Discount Tire. The most significant difference is in terms of the price for tire installation.
Discount Tire has a fixed price because the tires will be replaced at its shops, while with Tire Rack, the price will depend on the individual shop. You may get away slightly cheaper with some shops recommended by Tire Rack, but with Discount Tire, you’ll be 100% positive about the total price.
This brings me on to the discounts, something that Discount Tire seems to do a bit better. There seem to be more available discounts, and when you combine that with the membership card, a set of 4 tires, it may end up cheaper.
Use Tire Rack if:
- You live in a state where Discount Tire isn’t available
- You don’t want to be limited with the tire replacement shop
- You need to rely on support
- You plan to get tires from a brand available at Tire Rack
Use Discount Tire if:
- You are from a state where Discount Tire is available
- You plan to utilize the discounts
- You have a Discount Tire membership card
- You don’t mind going to a physical location for the tires
Tire Rack and Discount Tire are both excellent choices when it comes to tire replacement. Even though they seem totally different, apart from a few minor differences, they are pretty similar. Out of both of them, I would have difficulties choosing one. If you put a gun to my head, I probably would choose Tire Rack.
This is probably because I already use Tire Rack a lot, and maybe I’m a bit used to it. Of course, that doesn’t mean that Discount Tire is a bad option.
In terms of available brands, Discount Tire leads by a mile, with around 2.5 times more tire brands than Tire Rack. This may be an advantage for some people that don’t have a tire preference. For me, Tire Rack offers more than I need because it has tire models from all the brands I usually go for.
Some people are constantly chasing discounts, trying to save a few bucks. In those situations, Discount Tire is slightly better than Tire Rack. If your timing is right, you can replace your tires for cheaper. With the discounts aside, both retailers offer a financing plan, which is nice for people who don’t want to spend several hundred dollars at once.
In general, it all boils down to personal preference. Tire Rack and Discount Tire are great at what they do, and regardless of which one you choose, it’s unlikely that you’ll have a bad time.