Winter is not here yet, however, in some areas of the country there is a bit of a chill in the air. Maybe your vehicle will need new tires but you would rather not think about the expense. This is understandable! However, by planning now, you can actually save about half the cost of purchasing a new set of tires.
Whet is a good tire buying strategy? First, look at your vehicle’s tires and write down the tire size (for example: 265 55 16). Next, keep your eyes open for a good tire sale. Even if you do not need the tires immediately, it can pay to purchase the tires on sale and have the store manager date and write on the receipt “will install tires upon customer’s request up to one year from the date of sale.” This will give you plenty of leeway to have the tires installed when you desire. Remember to keep the signed receipt with your other important papers to avoid “where the heck did I put that tire receipt” down the road!
You can have the new tires installed before the next vehicle inspection or when the snow starts to fly, etc. The idea is to get a great tire price but the peace of mind of choosing when you want the tires installed.
There are numerous online tire outlets. If you decide to buy tires online, remember that you will need to pay to have the tires mounted, balanced and rotated in the future. Expect to add $15-$20 per tire for mounting and balancing. Additionally, tire rotation can add $10-$15 per rotation. It can be useful to go online to see what tires cost and then shop locally for a tire that you like. In many instances with a good local sale you will be able to beat the online tire prices!
If you purchase tires locally, mounting and balancing (future tire rotation should be ‘free’) should cost $10-$12 per tire (less than if you purchased the tires somewhere else and only have the mounting and balancing done at a local tire store).
If you are patient and shop smart, you can buy a set of tires for the average vehicle and spend $200 – $325 out the door (including the mounting, balancing and future rotations). This may well be about half of what you would otherwise spend.
I do not recommend tire repair or protection insurance unless you drive over debris on a regular basis. Flat tires do not seem too common today.
Below are a few tire outlets that will help you to start comparing tire prices. However, local sales will likely beat even these online tire outlets.
And remember, do not be afraid to dicker for the price that you would like to spend for tires. You will be surprised that a tire store will take less money! For example, the sale price for tires out the door is $320. In this tough economy, they will likely accept $285.
Kyle Busch is the author of “Drive the Best for the Price: How to Buy a Used Automobile, Sport-Utility Vehicle, or Minivan and Save Money.” He welcomes your comments or car questions at his auto web site: www.cartown1.com. Follow Kyle on Facebook and Twitter.