Sam’s Club, the membership warehouse owned by WalMart, is as easy to find and popular as Costco, its giant neighbor in most towns. But is it a better deal? When it comes to Sam’s Club Auto, the warehouse offers substantial value at a low cost–and gives you the opportunity to shop while you wait!
Today, we’re explaining what to expect when you buy Sam’s Club tires, how to find the best deals and get the most of your new membership, and how Sam’s stacks up to its competitors.
Who is Sam?
While Walmart has been around since the 1960s, Sam’s Club, a division of Walmart and a “membership warehouse club solution for everyday living,” opened in the 1980s in Oklahoma. Since then, the company has opened warehouses across all fifty states, including Puerto Rico.
At a whopping average 136,000 square feet per warehouse, the company has come a long way from the small mom and pop shop Sam Walton opened decades ago! The company still has a laser focus on value, however, and uses a unique membership solution to make its products available at warehouse prices.
It’s a Whole New World
What delights Sam’s Club members to no end is the variety of items they can purchase. There are reliable offerings, such as fresh produce and high-quality meat, but Sam’s Club also offers deals on things like microwaves, storage cabinets, and–tires.
That’s right, Sam’s Club Auto offers tires as well as installation for its members. Plus, you can take advantage of the warehouses’ auto buying program as well as its inventory of automotive accessories at great prices, including everything from floor mats to batteries.
One Stop (Tire) Shop
Unlike dedicated tire centers like Discount Tire, the real fun in Sam’s Club is that it allows you to shop while you wait. No more wasting a Saturday morning on a tire change, thanks to your newfound ability to get two errands taken care of in one visit!
Get Your Tires!
No matter the age, make, or model of your vehicle, if you drive a car, you’re going to need to get your tires changed. That’s why Sam’s Club Auto offers tires and installation services. Since it’s already poised to serve customer’s everyday needs, it’s in a great position to focus on their automotive needs as well.
Sam’s Club auto offerings include a website with a robust range of tire inventory. You can find new tires from brands like Firelli, Michelin, Goodyear, and BFGoodrich. You can order your tires in store or online (and then have them delivered to the store for installation).
What to Expect
The website is easy to use and friendly; Sam’s Club offers a wide range of special offers and discounts. The company also offers a price-match guarantee. If you find a better offer on the same product, Sam’s Club will match the price!
The inventory isn’t, perhaps, as wide as some online tire retailers, but with over twelve major brands (and eight hard-to-find options just added!), we’re confident you’ll find something that meets your vehicle’s needs and your budget.
For most vehicles, Sam’s Club Auto charges $15 per tire for installation. Installation covers the following:
- New valve stem
- Lifetime tire rebalancing and rotating for free
- Lifetime flat tire repair (especially helpful, since there are over half a million Sam’s Club Auto locations across the United States)
- Tire mounting by certified Michelin techs using state-of-the-art equipment
- Tire pressure monitoring system reset
- 24-hour emergency roadside tire service (this will be a godsend and more than pay for itself if you have a flat tire on the road!)
- Road hazard protection warranty
As you can see, Sam’s Club offers just about everything you could want with your new tires!
How it All Works
Here’s how getting new tires at Sam’s Club works: first, use the online tire finder on the company’s website to order your tires. You’ll receive notification within 3-5 of your tire’s arrival. Then, call your local warehouse to set up an installation appointment, or simply walk in for the next available installation slot.
Tires are installed quickly and expertly and voila! You’ve got new tires!
In addition to car, truck, and van tires, Sam’s Club also provides tires for ATVs, motorhomes, and other large vehicles (you will pay more for installation for some of these, however). Plus, the warehouse works to provide you with expert advice to help make sure you’re getting the tires you need.
More Than Simply Tires
Tires, as we mentioned earlier, aren’t the only automotive services Sam’s Club offers. The member’s club also offers a car-buying service it calls TrueCar. Since the service is designed to add value to your membership, rather than drive profits, members can benefit extensively.
The warehouse has partnered with tens of thousands of dealers across the country, providing discounts on manufacturer’s suggested retail prices and on used cars. It’s not the only member’s warehouse that offers a similar service (Costco also has one, though not as large), but it has been highly effective for its members.
Pros and Cons
There are enough options out there to make it difficult (or even overwhelming) to decide where you’ll get your new tires installed. Here are some pros for choosing Sam’s Club Auto, and some cons:
- Value-driven pricing (you won’t find much better prices elsewhere, especially thanks to the company’s price-matching policy)
- If you’re already shopping at Sam’s Club, the ability to get your tires at the same place makes your life that much easier!
- $15 installation per tire is a good value, especially considering extra perks like lifetime rotation
- You can make an appointment for tire installation, so no waiting all day on your day off!
- You must be a member (which means you’ll pay extra)
- No extra services offered or work done on your vehicle
- No fancy waiting area
Is it Worth Joining?
Speaking of becoming a Sam’s Club member…that might not, in fact, be a con! Let’s take a tour through membership options to decide whether it’s something that might benefit you.
The warehouse offers two levels of membership, a $45 membership and a $100 plus membership (both charged annually). Here’s what you can expect with a $45 annual membership:
- Ability to shop throughout Sam’s Club, including in the Sam’s Club auto section
- Member-exclusive prices on automotive gasoline
- Free battery testing and windshield wiper installation
The plus membership, however, comes with a host of additional benefits:
- Ability to earn cash back on purchases (up to $500 per year)
- Free prescriptions (select available) and discounts on eyewear
- Free shipping
Your perks for either membership don’t end there. Whether you’ll be buying new tires or taking advantage of the warehouse’s automotive offerings or not, the company also offers discounted legal services, check printing, and free health screenings. You can even get discounted immunizations and take advantage of early shopping hours!
Over and over again, Sam’s Club members rave about how much they love their local Sam’s. This alone speaks volumes about the selection and great prices the warehouse offers!
How it Compares
Over and over again, Sam’s Club comes out winning against competitors like Sears, Discount Tire Center, and National Tire and Battery. The reason? Price. You get terrific prices, decent selection, and excellent help.
Who shouldn’t shop at Sam’s Club for tire installation? If you’re looking for white glove treatment or have a luxury car off the lot that you want specially fitted, you’re probably better off at a high-end dealership.
Sam’s Club doesn’t have a slick waiting room with beverages chilled and waiting for you or hot coffee on demand. Similarly, if you suspect you might need additional work done on your vehicle, such as new brakes, you should find an auto mechanic you trust.
Finally, if you’re looking specifically for a tire-replacement program, you won’t find that at Sam’s Club. Instead, you’ll need to look towards Discount Tire Center. Even so, you’ll need to do the math carefully, as prices are so low at Sam’s that it might be worth it just to buy a new tire instead of purchasing a warranty certificate!
Is It Worth It?
The bottom line for most auto owners is whether or not the Sam’s Club membership is worth the price to justify buying it and using it for new tires. For most people who already have memberships, it’s a no-brainer, and it usually works out to a good deal even if you don’t yet have a membership.
The bottom line for us? Sam’s Club Auto is where to go for new tire installation if you want commonly found tires at great prices.