- Car Care & Maintenance
How to Get the Best Deal on Tires for your Car.
I got four brand new tires put on my car and was out the door for $199.00 including tax. Here's how I did it.
Driving around in a car that has worn tires isn't fun. The thought of an impending flat tire can really limit the amount of driving that you do. Suddenly an errand is just a bit more complicated than you want it to be. If you're like me, then you likely want to get a good deal on tires. I have 13 inch tires on my car and because it's an odd size, I never seem to get the advertised 13 inch special. My goal was to get tires put on for about $200. Less would be great especially for used tires. However, most of the new tire places were well over that price on their quotes. I learned many things in the tire searching process. One of the most interesting was that I could negotiate a price. By the end of my search, several of the tire stores were willing to negotiate a price for my new tires.
Read on to find out how to get a set of tires on your car for the best possible price.
It’s a good idea to start by getting a quote from your favorite tire store so that you’ll have a figure to work with. I went to Tires Plus where I was given a quote of over $350 without tax. It felt a bit expensive. The tires themselves were only $45 each. It was the other stuff that added more than a third of the price. This included mounting, balancing, front-end alignment and lifetime rotation. Four years earlier, I had gotten four tires with a rotation out the door at Tires Plus for just under $250.
Tires Plus does offer a credit card. And if you pay it off in six months, there isn’t any interest. Consider applying for a credit card with your local tires store. Look for discounts at the store. If you sign up for the Tires Plus newsletter on their website, they’ll give you 10 percent off your purchase.
If you can’t buy new tires, consider your other options. I wanted new tires, but the fact of the matter was that I couldn't afford them at that price at this time. It was time to check out used tires. The thing about used tires is that you're never quite sure where they come from. Did the guy just pull them off the last car that came through? What were to reasons that someone decided to get a different tire? Along with these kinds of questions comes the fact that you never know what side of the car the tire came off of. When Radial tires are rotated, it's always done front to back. It used to be done this way, because if the belt on the radial goes against the way it's been rolling, it would weaken the belt causing it to break over time. This is no longer the case in newer tires and only applies to older tires (as pointed out by one of my readers). So, it doesn't matter what direction the tire spins on your car. If you can find a good used tire in your price range and your cash flow is tight, then used tires might be your only option.
The Tampa Bay area has many used auto parts places. Usually, most areas have at least one and you can find them in your phone book under "pick and pull," "used auto parts" or something to that effect. The good part about getting tires from a used auto parts place is that when the car was brought in to be scrapped for parts, it wasn't likely the tires that caused it to be scrapped. The tires could be perfectly good and something else stopped working on the vehicle and that’s why the car is at the junk yard. When you look at a tire off of the rim, whose to say if it’s any good. Will it hold air? Is there a puncture in the tire or something else that you just can’t see. The good thing about a pick and pull lot is that often times you can purchase the tires still on the rim, which means that the tire is still holding air. My husband and I spent an afternoon going to various used parts places without any luck. Again, it boiled down to the fact that my tire size was odd. There was a good selection of 14 inch tires and up, but the 13 inch tires available were only singular or more often was the case that they didn’t have any at all. If I was going to get used tires, it didn't look like it was going to be at a used car parts place.
Check your local used tire shops and look online at sites like Craigslist and other Tampa Bay Classifieds sites. My next step was to seek out all of the used tire shops in the area. I did this by searching online directories and by searching Craigslist.org. Craigslist had a couple of local tire shops that advertised used tires put on for $20 to $30. One of the shops was local and when I called, he said that he had two used tires available in my size. My husband and I went down to the shop and looked at the tires. The tread was good. There weren’t any plugs inside of the tire or there wasn’t any apparent dry rot. And the rim of the tires looked good. It’s almost impossible to tell though. With the cost of installation and everything else, it would have cost $54 to get the two tires.
We agreed to the price and had them installed. However, In the middle of installation, one of the tires proved to be "no good." Whatever the reason was, it didn't really matter and we weren’t told. This goes to prove my point of it’s just hard to tell if a tire is good or bad when it’s not on a rim. Both my husband and I had looked at the tire and thought that it was good. We aren't professionals, but even the professionals thought that the tire was good as they were the ones putting it on the car.
My next train of thought was back to my original thought. You really never know where used tires come from and it's really hard to know if they're good or not. Maybe buying used tires from someone who has your size tire and you know the story is okay, but purchasing tires used from other sources wasn't going to make my husband or me very happy.
So, it was time to start researching new tires. I pulled up all of the local tire places online and any other store that sold tires, including: Walmart.com, Sears.com, TiresPlus.com, Kauffmantires.com, Firestone.com, TireKingdom.com, Goodyear.com, Amazon.com and Pepboys.com, and searched my tire size. Interestingly enough, Firestone and Tires Plus had the exact tires at the exact same price. You likely will have at least these stores in your area or even a couple more tire stores that cater specifically to your area. Sears.com had some of the best prices on any of the websites. The one problem I have with Sears is I didn't see anything on their website gave a lifetime rotation with tire installation. This is offered at most of the other local tire stores.
Most of the websites had a LOW PRICE guarantee or something similarly named. This is the guarantee that most tire shops offer saying you'll get the best deal on tires with them or else they'll do something for you. Remember, it's not always named the LOW PRICE guarantee. If it's not in a visible spot, then go to the bottom of the page and see if you can find the guarantee. I never did find Pepboys guarantee as the .pdf file wasn't letting me open it.
My favourite guarantee was from Tire Plus. The guarantee said that they'd give me 200 percent of the difference if I found a better tire price. The Winterforce tire was on sale at Sears for $58 and it was priced $72 at Tire Plus. This was a $14 dollar difference, which meant that I'd save $28 on each tire with the Tire Plus guarantee, which would end up costing me $44 a tire. That's not a bad deal for a $70 tire. However, since I live in Florida, a winter tire wouldn't really work for me.
Use this example to see if you can find a good price that can be used to really save some money on your tires. Open up several websites of local tire shops and start comparing tire prices. The brand names vary a whole lot as to who carries what. Sears appears to carry the largest variety. See if you can find a guarantee on your tires that will help save you money.
Also, check the Specials and Online Promotions; it can be called anything on the website so be sure to look all over the website if it isn't in an easy to find spot. On the Tire Kingdom website, I found a special on 13 inch tires for $99 for four tires. I called about it and, as usual, it wasn’t available in my 13 inch tire size. The person on the other end of the phone said that they could give me four tires for $199. At that point, I believe I was a bit loopy from tire shopping, because I didn't quite hear what he had to say and instead hung up the phone. It took me an entire day for that conversation to come back to me.
The next morning, I called Kauffman Tires who had a $40 Starfire tire from Asia in stock. The online quote said that the tire would be over $240 without many of the extra fees included. I called Kauffman Tires and told them that I had a quote from Tire Kingdom who could put on 4 tires for $199. He said that the best he could do on that tire was $225 out the door including tax. I’d just bargained for this tire unknowingly. I was shocked. I would have hopped in the car and gone down to Kauffman tire and gotten 4 tires installed that day, but they were so busy, and couldn't get to me that day.
So, I called Tire Kingdom and asked him about the $199 special I'd been quoted the day before. After explaining that I had called about the web special of $99 and being told that it could be done for $199, the guy on the other side of the telephone said that if I was quoted $199 for four tires then he'd give them to me at that price.
Whether or not it was a good deal depended on a couple of things. The tires we were talking about were priced at $45.99 each. So, the tires were only $180 or so of the actual $199 price. After asking many, many questions, I came to the conclusion that he meant $199 out the door including everything. Sure enough, I went down to the Tire Kingdom and sure enough, he put on four brand new tires including tax and everything for $199 out the door.
To think that the previous week we were considering spending $160 on used tires and had almost spent $54 on two front tires. Now, we have four new tires all the way around.
Don't forget about websites like Amazon.com or even Ebay.