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  #1  
Old 12-26-2011, 09:33 PM
Jinx Jinx is offline
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Tires From Walmart?

Would you buy tires from WalMart and trust their installers? Suppose you know the particular tire they are selling is rated very good by NHTSA's UTQG data... would you still trust Walmart? Any evidence WalMart is getting second hand or "irregular" tires that perhaps failed the manufacturer's QA inspection?

Please share your knowledge of their tires & experiences with their tire shop.
- Jinx
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  #2  
Old 12-26-2011, 10:18 PM
jz78817 jz78817 is offline
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assuming it's a recognizable brand and model of tire, and not some knockoff Chinese thing, I wouldn't worry about it. Tires have to be DOT coded for traceability, so Wally World (and the tire supplier) would be setting themselves up for a world of legal hurt if they sold substandard parts.
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  #3  
Old 12-27-2011, 12:18 AM
Critical Mass Critical Mass is offline
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Installing tires isn't rocket science. I spent a summer working as an assistant in a car repair shop when I was in high school. I had tire installations down pat after doing about 4 sets.
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  #4  
Old 12-27-2011, 02:34 AM
Rachellelogram Rachellelogram is offline
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I've had a tire installed at Walmart, although I actually purchased it from Tire Barn because it wasn't a common model and Walmart didn't carry it (it was a 15+ year old Celica). No problems, the tire lasted until the brakes went out & the car was junked 3 years later. So I can't speak to their materials, but the installation was fine. They actually refused to let me drive the car home until I purchased additional lug nuts, because it was missing a couple. Safety-conscious, good service, and it was cheap.

Last edited by Rachellelogram; 12-27-2011 at 02:35 AM..
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  #5  
Old 12-27-2011, 03:25 AM
Senegoid Senegoid is online now
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I wouldn't know what to think about the expertise of their installers. I WOULD pay some attention to the brand and where it was made.

As a knee-jerk principle, I don't like the idea of buying Chinese for a few reasons, but not so much that I usually would fuss over it. But for tires, yes. Last time I bought tires (not at Wal-Mart), I insisted on American-made.

Turns out, that's getting hard to find. First, I have an older car with 13" tires. That alone is getting hard to find. Then I had to go to several shops to find one that carried an American brand (of which there are apparently but a few left). And even then, the guy had to drive across town to his warehouse to get them, which he did while I waited.

With all the bad PR about the quality problems of Chinese products, I would be (and in fact was) concerned about safety, for products where it seems like it might really matter. Tires for my car seems to qualify, I think.
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  #6  
Old 12-27-2011, 05:54 AM
handsomeharry handsomeharry is offline
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I've been alternating between using WM or Pep Boys (whichever is closer) for tires for the last 20 years. Never a problem. As for installation skills, I don't think that a tire installer from Company X would be any more highly skilled than a WM tire installer.
The tires from WM are usually a name I recognize, and, as pointed out above, WM surely isn't going to do anything substandard with something that has such a potential for a lawsuit as vehicle tires.

hh

Last edited by handsomeharry; 12-27-2011 at 05:57 AM..
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  #7  
Old 12-27-2011, 06:09 AM
chiroptera chiroptera is online now
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I thought most tires were made in China? The indie tire store I go to (for oil changes as well) has one brand they tout as American made, I think all the others they sell are imported. I can't recall the brand.

I wouldn't go to WalMart for automotive work of any kind, although I grocery shop there sometimes. Mainly because I try to spend my money at locally-owned businesses whenever feasible and the indie place I go to is very reasonable. Mounting tires is pretty basic, I don't see why installer Joe Smith at WalMart is going to be less skilled than installer Joe Brown at Sears.
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  #8  
Old 12-27-2011, 12:07 PM
Dallas Jones Dallas Jones is offline
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Walmart sells the same brand name tires you buy at any other tire store. Goodyear, Michelin, General, BFGoodrich, Kelly, Dunlop, Bridgstone, Pirelli, etc. they get a better price than smaller outlets because they can negotiate a better price at the manufacturer due to volume sales.

Why would they sell inferior tires and put their tire sales at risk when they can just sell the same tires available everywhere, for less than their competitors?

It's called business.
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  #9  
Old 12-27-2011, 01:06 PM
gotpasswords gotpasswords is offline
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For all I know, they may be losing a buck or two per tire, and tire installation is just a loss-leader to get you into the store. Might as well do some shopping, rather than just sit on your butt for an hour, right?

I have bought tires from them in the past, and it all went well. They didn't take an excess amount of time, they didn't damage the vehicle, the tire itself was fine, and the wheel didn't fall off on the way home. They didn't even charge extra to use oxygen-enriched air to inflate the tire.
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  #10  
Old 12-27-2011, 01:09 PM
FoundWaldo FoundWaldo is offline
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Installing tires isn't rocket science, but there are certainly things that can go wrong if the installer is hurrying, unskilled or simply doesn't care (which seems likely to be more common at a low-cost/low-pay outlet, but I have no actual evidence of such). I've seen wheels badly scratched (maybe not something you care about, depending on the current condition of your wheels), and I've seen some really bad balancing jobs, for example.

Also, whenever you buy tires, it's a good idea to check the date code. I know nothing about Wal-Mart's supply chain, but it's not inconceivable that one way to get lower prices is to accept older stock than other stores would.
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  #11  
Old 12-27-2011, 03:20 PM
raindog raindog is offline
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I've done it twice.

They don't keep that many in stock, so they had to order them and I had to schedule the installation. (no walk-in)

But it was smooth.
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  #12  
Old 12-27-2011, 03:48 PM
Dolomite Dolomite is offline
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I wouldn't trust the installers. Also, more and more cars are sensitive to the balance of the tires. I order my tires from Tire Rack and have them installed at a local GM dealership that has a road-force balancer. It doesn't cost any more than a place with a spin balancer. That way I get to pick the tire I want, not just choosing from brands a tire shop or Wal-Mart carries.

Chinese tires aren't that big of a deal, I stick with Kumho tires and some of them are manufactured in China. I haven't seen any difference in quality between their Korean manufactured tires and the Chinese ones.
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  #13  
Old 12-27-2011, 04:25 PM
Lacunae Matata Lacunae Matata is offline
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I know lots of people who use them for tires (mostly small taxi owner-operators,) and the only problem I've heard of is the one person got a tire that was dry-rotted at the time of installation. Presumably, the tire hadn't been stored properly. Never heard of problems with the mounting itself.
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  #14  
Old 12-28-2011, 10:28 AM
Terraplane Terraplane is offline
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I've bought tires from Walmart a number of times. Never had a problem.
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  #15  
Old 12-28-2011, 12:03 PM
Philster Philster is offline
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Walmart, Sam's Club and others often get models of tires only available at their stores, which you should keep in mind.

For example, there might be a Goodyear Affinity Road Track Plus (made that up) that Walmart carries and it's an exclusive version of the Affinity run of tires. If you need to replace one or two, you have to go back to Walmart, Sam's Club, etc.

I am pretty sure even Sears does this, too.
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  #16  
Old 12-28-2011, 12:19 PM
FoundWaldo FoundWaldo is offline
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Which of course also means that it's POSSIBLE they get a lower quality product, even though it's a name brand. Similar to how a lot of the stuff in Home Depot isn't as good of quality as you could get elsewhere from the bigger brands. When the primary objective is lower prices, quality is one of the first thing that gets compromised.
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  #17  
Old 12-28-2011, 01:15 PM
Rachellelogram Rachellelogram is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FoundWaldo View Post
Which of course also means that it's POSSIBLE they get a lower quality product, even though it's a name brand. Similar to how a lot of the stuff in Home Depot isn't as good of quality as you could get elsewhere from the bigger brands. When the primary objective is lower prices, quality is one of the first thing that gets compromised.
Why does it matter if it's possible, if it isn't actually happening that way? Some people in this thread seem absolutely desperate to show that Walmart carries a categorically-inferior tire, despite having no evidence whatsoever to support their suspicions, and contrary to the multiple testimonies provided in this thread.

Walmart may be mercenary, but they're not freaking stupid. Perpetrating a conspiracy to sell/install shoddy tires would get them sued in a heartbeat. And the ill will/loss of future sales it would generate, plus the massive attorney/settlement fees, would likely be much more expensive and damaging to the company than using the same goddamn tires as every other company. There is no incentive to skimp on this. Now, it's true that Walmart skimps on other products (clothing/shoe quality). But we're not talking about cheap shoes or cheap clothes. A car tire malfunctioning is not in the same league as a poorly-sewed button falling off your thin polo shirt. If a tire falls off, people can die. They're not comparable.

I can't believe you're making me stand up for Walmart.
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  #18  
Old 12-28-2011, 01:51 PM
FoundWaldo FoundWaldo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rachelellogram View Post
Why does it matter if it's possible, if it isn't actually happening that way? Some people in this thread seem absolutely desperate to show that Walmart carries a categorically-inferior tire, despite having no evidence whatsoever to support their suspicions, and contrary to the multiple testimonies provided in this thread.
I have no idea if Wal-Mart has poorer quality tires or not. But neither do you. Ten people in a thread saying they've had no problems does not mean that the tires are top quality, nor does one person saying the quality is bad mean it really is.

If one in 100k Wal-Mart tires fail, and one in 500k non-Wal-Mart tires fail (totally made up numbers, obviously), the odds of getting someone in this thread saying "Wal-Mart tires suck" is pretty low, but it doesn't mean it's not an issue. Unless there's actual statistically significant data out there, it's impossible to truly know. But we do know that Wal-Mart positions themselves as a lowest cost supplier and that some of their other products are inferior to similar products sold elsewhere. And we know that Wal-Mart gets unique items even under major name brands. I don't think anyone would argue that Wal-Mart is getting HIGHER quality versions of those products -- why would they, if price is their primary objective? So I don't think it's unreasonable to consider the possibility that, without any data to prove either way, Wal-Mart tires might be lower quality than other tires even though they have the same name brands. It's up to the consumer to decide if the savings is worth it or not.
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  #19  
Old 12-28-2011, 01:51 PM
Omar Little Omar Little is offline
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All of the tires I have bought over the last 15 years have been purchased and installed by Sam's Club, which is owned by Walmart. I normally buy Michelin's and Sam's has always had the best prices. Also, anytime I've ever picked up a nail or a screw or any problem with the tires, I've taken the vehicle back there and they repair the tire at no charge. A few years ago, I owned a high performance sports car that needed speed rated tires. Sam's didn't carry them in stock, but they special ordered them for me and I got a great deal.
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  #20  
Old 12-28-2011, 03:11 PM
jz78817 jz78817 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FoundWaldo View Post
I have no idea if Wal-Mart has poorer quality tires or not. But neither do you. Ten people in a thread saying they've had no problems does not mean that the tires are top quality, nor does one person saying the quality is bad mean it really is.
I also can't prove that Santa Claus doesn't exist.

Quote:
If one in 100k Wal-Mart tires fail, and one in 500k non-Wal-Mart tires fail (totally made up numbers, obviously), the odds of getting someone in this thread saying "Wal-Mart tires suck" is pretty low, but it doesn't mean it's not an issue. Unless there's actual statistically significant data out there, it's impossible to truly know. But we do know that Wal-Mart positions themselves as a lowest cost supplier and that some of their other products are inferior to similar products sold elsewhere. And we know that Wal-Mart gets unique items even under major name brands. I don't think anyone would argue that Wal-Mart is getting HIGHER quality versions of those products -- why would they, if price is their primary objective? So I don't think it's unreasonable to consider the possibility that, without any data to prove either way, Wal-Mart tires might be lower quality than other tires even though they have the same name brands. It's up to the consumer to decide if the savings is worth it or not.
We have a term for that wall of tripe you just posted. FUD. Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. You're relying on the fact that it's difficult to prove a negative and insinuating that since we can't prove they're not doing that, we have to accept that they might be.

it's a poor debating tactic no matter the subject.
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  #21  
Old 12-28-2011, 04:58 PM
Rachellelogram Rachellelogram is offline
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If it's truly impossible to know the failure rate of Walmart tires vs the failure rate of tires sold by other companies (and absent any cites to the contrary, I agree that it is), then saying "they're cheaper, so they're obviously less-safe," is not only fallacious, it's screamingly ignorant. In fact, I'm pretty sure it qualifies as libel.
I'm mostly confused about your association between low cost and lax material/safety regulations. Walmart accomplishes lower pricing by taking advantage of "economy of scale." It's an economic term meaning they can undercut everyone else and make a razor-thin margin on any product, but still come out ahead because they will sell 10,000 times more than any local company could ever hope to.

You have an anti-Walmart agenda, and I'm onto it. There are plenty of REAL reasons to dislike Walmart--their crappy wages, scheduling employees for 35-39 hours a week to avoid giving them full-time benefits, the way they crowd out mom-and-pop stores. Why not pick on Walmart's real problems, instead? By inventing fake ones, you come off as hysterical and eminently ignorable.

Last edited by Rachellelogram; 12-28-2011 at 05:02 PM..
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  #22  
Old 12-30-2011, 10:06 AM
Mama Zappa Mama Zappa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chiroptera View Post
I thought most tires were made in China? The indie tire store I go to (for oil changes as well) has one brand they tout as American made, I think all the others they sell are imported. I can't recall the brand.

I wouldn't go to WalMart for automotive work of any kind, although I grocery shop there sometimes. Mainly because I try to spend my money at locally-owned businesses whenever feasible and the indie place I go to is very reasonable. Mounting tires is pretty basic, I don't see why installer Joe Smith at WalMart is going to be less skilled than installer Joe Brown at Sears.
When we last bought new tires, we got Michelins - I got the impression that those were the only American-made ones available. Even Firestone / Goodyear etc. were made in China. In other words, the only American-made tires were the ones from the French-owned company.

However, doing some googling now suggests this is not necessarily true:
http://www.boilermakers.org/resource...ion_made_tires.

As I recall, the locally-owned shops were *significantly* more expensive than the chain stores, so we went with NTB for our tires. Didn't even consider Wal-Mart (and I'd have avoided it anyway for similar reasons to yours).
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  #23  
Old 12-30-2011, 10:14 AM
Gatopescado Gatopescado is offline
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Leave WalMart to us trailer trash!

Why would you suspect inferior product/service from WalMart?

Sheesh! Get over yourself. If you don't like WalMart, don't go there. Spend more for less somewhere else.
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