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Wal-Mart Tire & Lube Express Center Review
A consumer's experience of having tires bought online mounted and balanced at a local Walmart Tire & Lube Center.

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New Falken Ziex ZE512 Tires
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Old Tires @ 21,000 Miles
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Grand Prix - 101,682 Miles

After receiving my new Falken Ziex ZE-512 225/60R16 98H tires from Discount Tire Direct, I shopped around for the least expensive place to have them mounted and balanced.

I checked prices at all the local tire shops such as Tires Plus, Firestone, Sears, Costco, Discount Tire, and Tire Kingdom.

It seemed like most places charged anywhere from $15-$20+ to mount and balance each tire. With a few charging extra for the new valve stems and/or tire disposal.

Even though the majority of the online reviews for Wal-Mart Tire & Lube Express centers were negative, I decided to give them a chance to save a few dollars mounting my Falken tires.

I made it a point to arrive during the mid morning on a weekday when the center was most likely to not be busy.

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Tires Mounted At Walmart
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Directional Tread
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$54.56 Total Cost
After about 30 seconds, one of the employees came out to get my information and check the computer to ensure that my "carry in" tires were compatible with my vehicle.

He came back outside with a service order estimate displayed on a PDA device of just $54.56 to mount and balance the new Falken tires including the fees of $2 per new valve stem and $1.50 to dispose of each old tire.

That equals a cost of just $13.64 per tire, which was at least a few dollars cheaper than I could find at other tire shops in the area.

The price breakdown was $5 to mount, $5 for a one time balance, $2 for a rubber valve stem, $1.50 for disposal and tax. Costco may have been cheaper a few years ago when they mounted and balanced outside tires for members at a cost of just $10.

Now Costco Tire Centers won't touch tires that weren't purchased at Costco due to liability reasons.



 

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Valve Stem, Mount, Balance
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In 10:44 AM - Out 11 AM!
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100 Ft Lb Torque, 32 PSI
I signed the estimate and another employee began immediately removing the wheels, taking the old tires off them, and mounting the new tires.

The first employee that had greeted me started running the wheels in the balancing machine and tacking on the weights.

A third employee carefully placed the wheels back on the car and tightened the lug nuts in the correct star pattern with a 100 FT LB torque stick on an air wrench.

The fourth employee appeared to be the manager and closely supervised the mounting and balancing procedures.

Once all the wheels with new Falken tires were secured to the car, one of the guys went back and double checked the lug nuts with a regular torque wrench by hand.

According to their paper work, the work began at 10:44 AM and was completed by 11 AM.

I was thoroughly impressed with how quickly the employees at the Wal-Mart Tire & Lube Center finished mounting and balancing the four tires while obviously taking care to not damage my wheels or the car.

They then asked what tire pressure I preferred and inflated the tires to exactly 32 PSI each.

It took me a few seconds to pay for the work and then I was ready to leave.

Before leaving, I walked around the car, examined the rims and checked the "Rotation" arrows on the directional tires to make sure that were mounted the correct way.

On the drive home, the new tires felt great and I was pleased to have saved a few extra dollars for my new car fund.

For the best possible service from a Wal-Mart Tire & Lube Center (or any auto shop), I'd recommend the following: 1. show up early on a weekday morning if possible, 2. be friendly and respectful, 3. save time and reduce the risk of damage by removing plastic lug nut caps or hub caps yourself, and 4. give a small tip especially if you plan on coming back in the future.
 

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