Best cheap tires for a truck that gets used very rarely?

I am not a big fan of cheap tires but wanted to see what advice could be given as to tires for a truck that gets driven MAYBE 1500 miles per year. It is a 2000 Chevy S10 2WD with the 4.3L if that matters. I want a good and SAFE tire but realize it will expire due to age and not tread wear.

The rear tires are relatively new and have excellent tread and no evidence to dry rot. The front tires have OK tread but show signs of dry rot and are past the 6 year old age so I feel they need to be changed. I have two spares which are the age of the truck. One is a compact and the other a full size. I recently went over both of these and both are so dry rotted that I don’t even know if you could trust them as a spare.

I was thinking of buying at least 3 tires, maybe 4, for this truck. I called a couple used tire places and they said that tires for these small trucks leave as soon as they arrive because so many people have little Rangers, S-10s, Sonomas, etc. They suggested I buy whatever was cheapest at Wal-Mart. My personal experience with Wal-Mart tires has not been good and know others with similar experiences. I bought a used car with Douglas on it and they were the worst tires I have ever owned. They were downright dangerous and I experienced a structural failure of the tire at highway speeds. The remaining 3 were all showing signs of distress so I changed them all.

My options are as follows.

  1. Leave the rear tires as they are and replace the two fronts and the spare. I really want a spare I can count on but this would be the one where I might consider buying a cheaper grade of tire. I don’t think the fronts would make a good spare considering their age and dry rot. The truck is not my daily driver so I always check the pressure before driving. The fronts are always the ones I add air too and the rears rarely need air. I just don’t think keeping one of the fronts around as a spare makes sense.

  2. Replace ALL 4 tires and use one of the rears as a spare. I really think this would be a waste since I would have to pay two mounting charges to do this and the rears have a lot of life remaining in them. They are probably 85% tread or better. I figure I should put as much wear on these as possible before I have to replace them with decent tread and dry rot. They are already a few years old.

I would ditch the compact spare no matter what once I do something as I would guess no one would sell a new one to fit my rim and no one wants those things anyway.

Of course I don’t want to spend a ton on something that is just going to sit around and rot before it wears out but want it to be safe as well so will forgo saving any money if that is what is suggested. I would also like to get AT style tires which I know are a tad more.

See what’s available at a local auto recycler.

That was the first thing I did. They basically said that my size tire or any commonly put on small trucks like my S-10 or Rangers are gone pretty much as soon as they arrive because they are so popular.

Maybe a Fleet Farm, Farm and Fleet, or the like is worth a look. I’d also see what CR and tirerack have to say about tire characteristics and prices.

I called a tire store and he suggested a model of Hankook AT tires for about $100. This isn’t a huge hurry as I don’t count on this truck as a daily driver but won’t be using it much or at all until new tires are installed based on their condition.

Same thing happened to me with my previous F-150. About three years after I bought it (2005 I think), the tires it came with after I bought were shot. I bought a set of BF Goodrich A/T KO’s as they have a good combination of on-road/off-road and snow capabilities and Costco was running a $70 off sale when you bought a set of four. The problem was that I maybe put 1000-1500 miles a year on the truck, and when I traded it in a month or two ago, the tires probably had 70% of the tread left. I’m facing the the same problem with my 2014 F-150, it came from Vermont, and has close to new winter tires on it. I live in central VA, and those are not ideal for year round use. So come spring, I’m probably going to have to get another set of tires. I’m leaning towards the BFGs again as they did very well for what I needed the truck to do. But again, this truck is probably going to see less than 1500 miles a year, but I don’t think it’s wise to go cheap on tires or brakes no matter what it is you’re driving.

Yeah, I agree. I am thinking about just getting 4 new ones at this point and keeping the rears as spares. I realize dthat I have a couple rims with no tires on them as well so would just put the new ones on those and keep the rears as they are for spares.

I agree that cheap tires are a no-go. I don’t see how it was legal that they sold those Douglas I had on that one car. Again, these were the worst times I have ever seen by a long shot. Then there are the name brand tires at Wal-Mart that are Wal-Mart only models. I figure they may be better but I would rather just get a decent tire if I am already spending that much.

I had some guy off the street tell me he wanted the tires off my truck if I replaced them. I was like OK but really I think these things need to be in a recycling facility, not on some other person’s car being a hazard to others. People like this who just want the cheapest option drive me nuts. It is like you can tell them it is a terrible option but to them it is still great because it has the lowest price. I deal with this mentality in my business all the time.

What about purchasing three tires of the same brand and model of the rears?

Whatever you decide, the tires with the best traction go on the rear.
Understeer is a lot safer than oversteer that may result in a spin.

just looked up on for starters, they list a reasonable ones for $60 plus rebate:

I purchased my truck tires there, was quite happy with price/selection/service

another one where I bought before is

once again, it is well under $100 for decent tires, not the most discounted WalMart type

I like the look of those Hankooks but was wondering about the iPike series. It is a little more but this truck is mainly being used for camping and transporting kayaks as of now. I was actually thinking about selling it as it was used so rarely but my GF and I have been getting out a lot lately and feel keeping a truck like this is a worthwhile cost. It is otherwise in good mechanical condition and I try to keep up with the maintenance. It got its yearly oil change just the other day while I was out checking over the tires and such. The oil didn’t look bad but was certainly ready to be changed if you ask me. I know the eye can’t see everything contaminating the oil.

The tire I was wondering about is here:*pike-rw11/tirecode/1012550

I suspect the tire store was quoting me this Hankook as he gave me a price of like $104 which seems pretty good. Hankook has been suggested by the one tire store I called as well as those here. I definitely don’t want some cheapo discounted Wal-Mart type make from recycled tennis shoes or whatever…

I’d suggest just talking to a real tire dealer that sells all brands to see what they suggest. Our local Goodyear dealer does that. Like I said before, I needed tires that would maybe last for a year or so before I retired and replaced the car. The Goodyear dealer got some no name tires that were among the best I ever had. Quiet, good snow traction, etc. I don’t remember what I paid for them but they were cheap, like around $50 each. I assume they were Chinese or Korean but was never able to figure out who made them. I just did what the dealer came up with. They deal with tires every day and I just deal with them every few years.

The tire dealer suggested Hankooks as did those here. I don’t remember the series he suggested but think an AT is probably best. I will call back and want to get the ball rolling shortly.

Yes, I have heard the same about no name tires. Although they are usually trash I have heard that a few good ones come in from time to time.

Coincidentally those are the exact tires (model, not size) that came on my F-150. They are winter/snow tires. Probably won’t hold up that gracefully when it gets warm outside.

I see. It probably wouldn’t matter with how few miles I put on this truck but again this is something worth considering. Could a softer rubber compound actually work in my favor in extending the dry rot life of such tires?

Don’t know much about dry rot but I’d think keeping the tires out of the sun (i. e. in a garage, or with something opaque covering the sun-facing tires when parked for a long while) would be the biggest help you could give them.

I used to own a set of these on my Altima, and having these car was unstoppable in snow. :slight_smile: I took it to ski resorts, one time I had to go over unplowed snow road, where snow was rubbing the car’s belly (does not take more than 5-6 inches or so on this car) and still I was able not only to go over that part of the road, but actually make a u-turn there when other cars had it blocked.

Now, with how much I liked their snow performance, I did not like handling over the “regular” road. These tires made the car to become very “touchy” to the steering inputs, not to the point where it is dangerous, but it was annoying. Car was hard to keep around straight line with no constant additional inputs. Alignment is out of question: i had “lifetime” deal on the car and was checking it twice a year, besides other tires did not exhibit this behavior. I was switching between iPike and all-season ones as was needed for long runs to mountains and such.

Suggest to price the Michelin Defender LT before deciding. Surf over to the Michelin website, they sometimes are offering significant discounts if you buy 4 all at once. I installed Defender LT’s on my truck this past summer, and by all appearances that’s a really good, sturdy tire. It wasn’t overly expensive, I think around $110 per tire after the discount (not including mounting and balancing). By comparison I installed Hankook Optima’s on Corolla, and between the two, the Hankook tire (while priced friendly) isn’t nearly as sturdy, at least by appearance. The Hankook handles well and the ride is nice on the Corolla though. Still I wouldn’t use Hankook for my truck tire if Michelins were available, no matter how many miles per year I used it.

Depending on where you live, your biggest problem might be time. In hot parts of the US - like parts of CA, AZ, NV, TX, and FL - tires over 6 years need to be replaced. In places like MN, MT, ID, ND, or WI, it’s 10 years. States in between are …… ah …… in between. Plan accordingly.

You can never argue with a Michelin and that price isn’t bad. I will look into this and see because spending a few bucks more for something like that is well-worth it. I am looking at the $100 range anyway. Those iPikes sounds like they are good for what they are for but I would want to be able to take a 100 mile highway trip if needed and that doesn’t sound like a good idea with these.

The truck currently has two different ages of Dayton Timberline AT tires. It wouldn’t even be a question if they still made these as I have been happy with them. I have been told that the Bridgestone AT K/O is the closest thing made these days and have them on my other larger truck. Again, I have been happy with them so might consider those as well. I just looked and it looks like they don’t have them in that small of a size so that is out.

I just looked and there are currently no sales on the Michelin. We are looking more in the $175 per tire range. Anyway, I have no plans for using this truck in the near future. I just changed the oil so it can just sit there for now with good clean oil and old tires.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again . . .

Michelin Defenders are lousy as truck tires, they don’t last very long, so you might as well buy a cheaper brand