Too good to be true? Tire Rack Mobile Installation comes to you

J.G.
By J.G. Pasterjak
Apr 12, 2022 | Tire Rack, Mobile Installation | Posted in News and Notes | Never miss an article

Photography by Chris Tropea

Sitting, waiting, pondering the futile misery of another day circling the sun in a cold, uncaring universe.

With all apologies to the many wonderful wheel and tire service centers that no doubt dot the countryside of this great nation, even the best free coffee can’t make waiting for tires to be mounted any easier. Sure, you may start out hopeful, but within 20 minutes you’re praying for a meteor or a tidal wave to end the boredom.

Well, Tire Rack has heard your prayers. It has unleashed a devastating meteorite of convenience and customer service to annihilate the drudgery normally associated with having your tires mounted. Yep, that’s right, they’ll come to you.

Leveraging a network of heavily vetted partners as well as its own installers, the Tire Rack Mobile Installation program is exactly what it sounds like. A van carrying your new tires, service equipment and a technician shows up to wherever your car is located. The tech then removes your wheels, professionally mounts and balances your new rubber, and reinstalls the wheels while hand-torquing the lugs. You never even have to put on pants (although the tech would surely appreciate it).


And the service is not just for new tires purchased through Tire Rack. Got a set of winter or summer tires in the garage that need to go on? Bought a set of tires from someone else? Getting your car ready for a track weekend and need to fit some 200tw rubber? No sweat. Tire Rack Mobile Installation is a full-service tire shop on wheels, ready to take care of your tire service needs.

While the program is still expanding, based on its current service map, about 80% of the country’s population falls within a mobile installation service area.

Pete Medina, the tech who fitted a set of Continental TerrainContact H/T tires on our daily driven Honda Ridgeline, has also been heavily involved in the rollout of the program, training crews up and down the East Coast. “I’m usually working with the techs, getting them up to speed on our standards,” Medina tells us. “It’s been exciting seeing this program take off in so many parts of the country. It’s been very well received everywhere I’ve been.”

Medina says the customers have overwhelmingly positive reactions to the service. “Customers are always happy to see us instead of grumpy they have to be at a tire store. It’s always better to be somewhere you’re happy.”

We agree, Pete.

Medina emerged from his well-equipped van dual-wielding floor jacks and had our Ridgeline chocked and in the air in no time. Service is performed in the van with a set of top-of-the-line Hunter mounting and balancing machines, and our Ridgeline was back on the ground with its new rubber inside of 90 minutes. And that time included lots of interruptions from our photo and video crew.

Still, aside from not constantly pointing a camera at the tech and telling them to internalize their motivation for removing that lug nut, Medina suggested a few best practices to make your Mobile Install go smoothly: “Obviously, we need room for the service vehicle, ideally close to the car, but we’re willing to walk a bit, too.

We need 6 feet around the service vehicle and 6 feet around the car being serviced,” he continues, “and the car needs to be on paved ground, level enough to safely lift the car.”

If your driveway has a couple degrees of slope, you’re probably fine. If you live on the side of a hill, maybe schedule the meet for somewhere else. Aside from that, you should be in good shape, as the service van is fully self-sufficient and needs no outboard power or air supply.

Prices vary geographically, but our informal survey shows that they line up quite well with the brick-and-mortar stores. You can check prices and coverage at tirerack.com/mobileinstall.

Overall, we’re struggling to find any cons to offset the pros of this service. Between the convenience, reasonable price and backing from one of the most trusted brands in the world of wheels and tires, there’s a lot to like here.

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Comments
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Captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
Captdownshift (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/12/22 9:52 a.m.

From a business standpoint (note, not a customer standpoint) I have two concerns, the first being, where is the customer getting their alignment done. The second being that a large amount of Tire Rack's business is wholesale, and now you're in direct competition with your wholesale customers, and regardless of whether you're providing the same service as them better and or at a more attractive price point then they are, it complicates things. 

 

As a consumer, would I utilize the service, absolutely. But do I think that it potentially muddies the water for them, again, absolutely. 

JShaawbaru
JShaawbaru New Reader
4/12/22 11:01 a.m.

I just ordered a set of tires from Tire Rack yesterday, and saw the mobile installation as an option, but it was significantly more expensive than having them installed at one of the usual tire places I use. For some people it might be worth the convenience, but it wasn't for me.

tb
tb GRM+ Memberand Dork
4/12/22 12:06 p.m.

I have used this service several times in the past couple of years and continue to reccomend it to just about everybody due to the convenience factor. My time is worth more than the small cost increase and my local provider has always treated my property with great care and respect.

 

It truly is a no lose proposition. Typically I am around to hand out a cold drink and chat while I tinker with something else car related and they do the heavy lifting. If I am busy elsewhere a two minute conversation handles the details and they get the job done seamlessly and professionally so that I can attend to more pressing matters. I will never waste my time in some big chain tire shop with an overbooked schedule again.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
4/12/22 12:24 p.m.

Just for kicks, I just compared tire mounting prices for my old Atlanta ZIP code. I could pay more to have a brick-and-mortar shop mount the tires vs. Tire Rack Mobile Install. 

SV reX
SV reX MegaDork
4/12/22 12:43 p.m.
Captdownshift (Forum Supporter) said:

From a business standpoint (note, not a customer standpoint) I have two concerns, the first being, where is the customer getting their alignment done. The second being that a large amount of Tire Rack's business is wholesale, and now you're in direct competition with your wholesale customers, and regardless of whether you're providing the same service as them better and or at a more attractive price point then they are, it complicates things. 

 

As a consumer, would I utilize the service, absolutely. But do I think that it potentially muddies the water for them, again, absolutely. 

I'm assuming that their "heavily vetted partners" are in fact their wholesale customers. The only thing this should do is increase sales for both Tire Rack and their wholesale customers. 
 

Good job, TR!

maschinenbau
maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
4/12/22 1:12 p.m.

Damn, I almost did this for the cheapo tires I just bought on a Tire Rack as chassis rollers for a project. TR wanted $25/tire to come to my house (in downtown Atlanta) and mount/balance/dispose old tires. I thought no way, never heard of this, probably some strings attached, I better just take these to the Sketchy Used Tire Shack And Cell Phone Repair Emporium where I can surely get a deal. After lots of haggling, arguing in multiple languages, and a few nasty scratches on one rim, I paid $45 for the pair and picked up a nail in their trash-littered gravel lot. I should have just let Tire Rack go the extra mile for me. Next time...

Captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
Captdownshift (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/12/22 1:44 p.m.

Herest the real question, will they be offering mobile install at the paddock of the challenge? Then I could drive down from Maryland on my aftermarket wheels, have fresh 200tw rubber thrown into my stock wheels to run for the weekend and then swap the wheels back over after concourse for the drive back north. 

infernosg
infernosg Reader
4/12/22 2:25 p.m.

I utilized this for the first time getting some RS4s installed for the RX7 late last year. IIRC, the install price was within $20 of the cheapest local brick and mortar option. Considering the local option would've required me to either drive the car to them and trust it to their care or lug a set of four wheels+tires to them I gladly paid TR the extra $20. I had all four wheels off the car ready for the tech before he arrived, for which he was very appreciative. We even had a nice little chat for the 30 minutes he was working. This is definitely a service I'll be using in the future.

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy MegaDork
4/12/22 2:39 p.m.

Next they'll have a service that changes your tires as you travel. 
 

 

SV reX
SV reX MegaDork
4/12/22 2:43 p.m.

In reply to Datsun310Guy :

That's insane

jkstill
jkstill New Reader
4/12/22 2:50 p.m.

I have had two sets of tires mounted by a mobile installer, and it has been a great experience.

No hauling tires and wheels and waiting, or two trips if I don't have time to wait.

Having two more sets of tires installed this week.

This time I had the tires delivered to the installer, and he can just bring the tires with him.

Here's a shout out to a great local installer in Hillsboro Oregon:

https://tirestoyoumobile.com/

 

RadBarchetta
RadBarchetta New Reader
4/12/22 4:05 p.m.

In reply to Captdownshift (Forum Supporter) :

You don't need an alignment if you're only changing tires and/or wheels.

hunter47
hunter47 Reader
4/12/22 5:04 p.m.

In reply to RadBarchetta :

I've always been recommended to get an alignment once/year or when switching tires, whichever comes first. 

But I've never had my alignment done at a tire shop. Always went to a performance (speed shop, if you will) shop.

JMcD
JMcD New Reader
4/12/22 8:06 p.m.

JG - how are the contis on the Ridgeline? Any towing miles with them yet?

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
4/12/22 8:21 p.m.

Sort of related, when I did the airbag recall on the M3, the dealer offered to do it at my house. Sure, I said. It almost felt too easy to have a tech drive up, swap airbags in the driveway, and then head to his next appointment. 

grover
grover GRM+ Memberand Dork
4/12/22 9:38 p.m.

I had this done I think 6 years ago back and it was awesome. At the time there was a guy in palm beach county who did this full time. 

Loweguy5
Loweguy5 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
4/12/22 10:39 p.m.

Up here, TR owns ASAP tire.  When I ordered my wife's new Wrangler last year I intentionally went with an Altitude model to get the 18" black alloy wheels but couldn't get white-lettered all-terrain tires with that package.

I saved enough ordering it that way that I grabbed a wonderful set of Cooper ATs that are slightly bigger and work perfectly for our needs. 

ASAP tire came out and installed them.  Attempt number 1 left us with a pretty severe shake at 70mph.  I called and complained, they sent another tech and this time he got it on the money.

However, I was just on the TR website looking at tires for my BMW and on site installation is no longer an option.  The warehouse is maybe 45 min from me and I'm surprised by this development.

ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter)
ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
4/13/22 10:24 a.m.

My local sketchy tire/taco/vape palace now charges me $120 to mount and balance a set of race tires onto wheels that I bring in, they don't even have to jack up the car.  This seems like an amazing option for new tires.

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
4/13/22 10:41 a.m.

I'd definitely take advantage of this service. Most tire shops treat you like you are a moron, and look like you just E36 M3 in their coffee if you bring your own tires (That part is somewhat understandable. I don't like it when someone buys their furnace on the internet and wants me to install it).

bmw88rider
bmw88rider GRM+ Memberand UberDork
4/13/22 11:01 a.m.

I've had my local guys here in Austin do 2 sets of tires for me. Both times they where right on time, spot on with the balance, and just a couple of really good guys. 

I think they are subcontractors for TR as well. Yeah it's a little more than discount tire but to me totally worth it. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
4/13/22 11:32 p.m.

In reply to JMcD :

Let me get some feedback for you. 

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