Needs inflating - Photo: Peter Orosz

I am pretty good about regularly pumping up my tires ever since I discovered I can use the air pump for free at the Costco Tire Center.  Every time I get gas at my local, overcrowded Costco I then drive over and pump up the tires.

A few months ago I noticed one of the tires on my beloved Prius was a bit lower than the others. I just assumed it was random since it wasn’t very low.  After awhile though I noticed it was the same tire, my front left tire.  A few months ago when I got an oil change the tires were rotated and I was hoping that maybe now that it was in the rear it would not go as flat but it did not make a difference.

Toyota Prius

I continued running like this because the tire never seemed to get very low between fill ups. Also I had no idea where to go to get my tire patched and I was too lazy to figure out.

This pattern of inflating and deflating every two weeks fell apart when Ji Seon began filling up the car.  She did not know I inflated the tires and the tire became flatter and flatter.  Still I did not address the problem because I noticed my fuel mileage was still the same.  My laziness knows no bounds.

cluttered desktopOne day I showed my now quite flat tire to my car friend expert.  The expression on his face said “You know nothing about cars.  How can you do this to your car?”  (I am sure I have the same expression when some people show me their computers.)  But he was very polite and explained why I had to buy new tires since the side walls had been almost completely worn off.

I wasn’t sure where to go for replacement tires.  My friend suggested Costco lukewarmly.  Though one blog post recommended them the comments on that post weren’t that reassuring nor were the complaints about Costco Tire Center on this site and other sites.

I called Yarnell’s, my auto mechanics, and the receptionist suggested America’s Tire Co.  When I asked about Costco she said “Oh, they’re good too.”

When I asked what’s the difference the receptionist said “Oh they’re the same.”

P185/65R15 Michelin Energy Saver A/S TiresI then called the mechanics my friend uses, Japanese Beetle.  The mechanic, who was very friendly, told me he sends all of his customers including himself to Costco Tire Center.  He said that some of his customers also use America’s Tire Co and Wheel Works.

After talking with everyone I decided to take a chance with Costco Tire Center so I went over yesterday afternoon and asked for a quote.  The serviceman strongly suggested the Michelin Energy Savers and quoted $600 to replace all four plus $70 off with the Costco coupon.  This was a lot more expensive than I expected.  I ended up asking to just replace the rear two tires and the quote was $300.  The wait he said though would be 2.5 hours and suggested I come back in the morning.

Update 10-28-2009: The price seems to have come down.  At the tires are $121.99 and at they are $145.99.

Michelin Energy SaverThat night I checked out different sites to see if I should get the Michelin Energy Savers like this forum.  There seemed to be no consensus about which tire to use for replacement.  In the end I decided might as well pay the extra, you usually get what you pay for.

I arrived at Costco Tire Center this morning at 9:30 AM but already I was too late, the expected wait was 2.5 hours again.  In the end I waited over three hours but fortunately I had my laptop with me.  Most of the time I waited inside Costco sitting on a lovely couch they are trying to sell.

Now I finally have a healthy tire as shown below.  Notice the green cap because the tire is filled with nitrogen.

Michelin Energy Saver for Prius

Lesson learned.  Fix the flat for $20 instead of waiting to replace it for $300!

Update 10-28-2009: My mileage seems to have improved by about 7 mpg but part of that may have been because the tire was kind of flat before. 🙂

6 Responses to “Michelin Energy Saver Tires for my Prius from Costco”

eyeman wrote a comment on July 25, 2009

I’ve had good experience with Costco tires. Once, I had a flat, took it in and they replaced it for a nominal feed. The one in Everett here in MA is probably much less crowded than in CA. Everytime we go to Costco in LA, Sarah and I always comment that it’s a weekday and is much more crowded than it is during the weekend in the Boston locations. The thing that bothers me most is there aren’t enough samples to go around, :-). And the tire center is always empty.

Question, how could you have fixed the tire earlier if the side walls were worn out? Was it localized to a particular spot?

seonghuhn wrote a comment on July 25, 2009

When I first noticed it flat I should have fixed it right away. The side walls didn’t wear out until later after driving it for a long time flat.

Costco here is crazy crowded and especially the Costco within a mile from my home. I talked to one Costco employee and they said they never shop there, they go to the Santa Clara one.

jiseon wrote a comment on July 25, 2009

no wonder there’s always folks sitting around on the couches. i always wondered why they just didn’t go home. it’s not like costco is such a nice place to hang out.

Jim wrote a comment on October 30, 2009

I looked on Ebay last night. Michelins were 90$ there. Maybe by time they are put on rims the price per tire woul;d be more?

seonghuhn wrote a comment on October 30, 2009

Seems like a good price. But you’re right, I’m not sure how much more it would cost to have them put on your tire nor how the warranty is handled in that situation.

Brookdale Al wrote a comment on November 14, 2009

Just bought some Energy savers at Costco…out the door $525.55. Almost went crazy trying to decide what to buy. Usually just go to Les Schwab for my other cars but they didn’t seem to know anything about tires for gas saving. “Doesn’t really make a difference”, they told me. GOT 45,200 out of the OEM Goodyears. Will see about the EnergySavers……….

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