So anytime I have to get a new tire or tires, I never know if I’m really getting the best price. For instance, I know where to compare hotels and travel deals but not tires. I’m due for a new set and feel I ought to try and do it differently this time.
The old fashioned way to figure this out is to open up the yellow pages or the Sunday paper (looking for specials) and call around. I still prefer this method because you can sometimes get better prices form the counter clerk than you do online. Get the total cost for all four tires, including mounting, balancing, and all other incidental charges, like the disposal charge for the old tires (the “out the door” cost). Then when you show up and they try to jack up the price, you hold them to their quote.
Every tire company has a website (michelin.com, goodyear.com, firestone.com, etc.). Some of them will let you put in your zip code and give you prices. I also check these websites for printable coupons.
By the way, those travel sites, like Orbitz and Travelocity, can sometimes be beat by going directly to the airline and hotel websites, so it pays to do some research on them too and not rely on a single website.
I’d say that Tire Rack has the most established presence online, so you should definitely look at their prices. They also have helpful reviews and survey results.
Thank you for the info all! Never really thought about going directly to source when it comes to travel, I’ll try it next time. In the mean time, I’ll let you know what I find. I used tirerack a bunch of years ago, the shipping of the tires killed me on price.
Costco and Sam’s
You can go to tire rack as a comparison, but outside of Costco, just go to a local dealer and get a quote that includes mounting, balancing, and disposal of the old tires. Really prices can be anywhere from $70 at the farm store to $400 at a dealer. Much depends on the type and brand of tire, not price-which most places are getting fairly competitive. So its like health care-you get what you pay for.
From what I understand, the manufactures make their tires specifically for the Costco, Sam’s and Walmart in bulk. Apparently the quality is not the same even though they wear the same model names.
The tire chains in your area probably have web sites and will price tires for you if you know what size you need. You can look at Sears for tire prices too. I find a tire I like and check my favorite tire dealer’s web site until they have a 4 for 3 sale.
From what I understand, the manufactures make their tires specifically for the Costco, Sam's and Walmart in bulk. Apparently the quality is not the same even though they wear the same model names.
Certain tires from certain brands may be made specifically for the discount houses…But the quality is NOT diminished. This was a rumor started by the other tire companies.
Thank you for the clarification! I did however find a site in the NY metro area. Has anyone here used it? chubbytires
Look up prices at Mrtire.com. I buy my tires at one of their stores in MD and I’m very happy with their work. Ther is an outlet in Union, NJ if that’s not too far for you. Still, they have on line pricing.
While not as convenient, it’s still worth calling around. Also, tire companies sometimes offer rebates when you buy 2 or more tires—I got a $70 gift card when I bought a set of Michelins last Nov.
You also have to take service into consideration–if you save $20 by buying tires online, then have to replace one under warranty, how much of a pain will it be if you bought them online?
Just an FYI: You have to be careful when comparing tire prices.
Tire Rack, for example, doesn’t quote the shipping costs until you get towards the end of the ordering process. Plus, there is the mounting process, cost of new valves (or renewal of the TPMS), and the tire disposal fees - all of which COULD be in the quoted price from a local source.
Make sure you are comparing apples to apples.
And lastly, one of the problems of buying tires over the internet is that IF you have a problem, the guy who mounted the tires doesn’t have any vested interest in your satisfaction. Tires can be damaged in the mounting process and it is easy to blame the manufacturer for those.
But if you buy at a local source, that retailer has an vested interest in your satisfaction and can bend a lot of rules in your favor.
I found tire rack can save you money if you live in a state that has a sales tax. But here in NH…no sales tax…there really isn’t much of a savings.
FWIW, Mr Tire quotes the full price including disposal fees if any.
Yeah, forgot about the whole TPMS issue. And sales tax is becoming a moot point with states now going after internet sales for the tax. It’s been a bone of contention in Minnesota and that just because an internet company doesn’t charge sales tax, doesn’t mean you don’t owe it. The law is that you need to report the purchases and pay the tax. Not that many people do it but that’s the law anyway in the great state of Minnesota.
And sales tax is becoming a moot point with states now going after internet sales for the tax.
It’s still a factor to consider for the places like NH where we don’t have a sales tax. So the savings of sales tax isn’t there. When you factor that in - the savings from buying at TireRack just isn’t there.
Ok so I used chubbytires earlier this week. This morning I had the tires installed at a local shop they found for me. The price included the tire price and install fee. According to the shop, if I have an issue with the tires, they will handle it. Apparently the tires come from a local distributor. Thank you all for the help!