Tires are an important part of your car, they touch the ground and affect the ride, gas efficiency and safety. Buying tires can be confusing. If you go to a tire store, the sales associate looks up your model car and gives you very little information about the tires, usually just the mileage expected from the tire. Here is comprehensive guide to help you figure out how to get the best tires with the cheapest deals.
Roadside Hazard Insurance Worthwhile
One of the best things, I learned about tires, is that Roadside Hazard Insurance is worthwhile. There’s an unwritten rule about insurance, if you don’t buy it, you need it immediately. The first time I bought tires and didn’t have insurance, within a few weeks the side of the tire was punctured which could not be fixed and I had to buy another tire. After that I always bought the insurance.
So far, in a period of ten years, I have received three totally new tires from Roadside Hazard Insurance. I usually pay $15 per tire which netted hundreds of dollars in tires.
If you buy your tires online, Tire Rack introduced free Roadside Insurance for two years from the original purchase with full replacement if the tires can not be repaired.
“Essentially, it covers the expensive part of the tire’s life,” said Woody Rogers, product information specialist at Tire Rack.
Buy Four to Save More
One of the problems I’ve experienced when buying used car is that sometimes, I would buy only two tires at a time. Now that my tires are on different cycles for replacement, I don’t want to buy all four at once when they are not needed. Often tire-makers give rebates or prepaid cards when you buy four tires, which could save you more. If you have an all-wheel-drive car, you should buy all four tires at the same time. To find rebates you can check at individual tire-maker websites or look for signs at your tire store
Current Tire Rack promotion special offers for when you buy four tires include:
- Sumitomo, deal is a $50 prepaid card (Tire Rack Exclusive).
- Goodyear/Dunlop, get up to a $60 mail-in-rebate.
- Kumho tire promotion, you can get up to a $120 prepaid card.
- Bridgestone promotion is a $70 prepaid card.
- Hankook buyers can get an $80 rebate.
- Michelin, offers a $70 reward card ends May 10.
- Goodyear/Dunlop, get up to a $60 mail-in-rebate.
Note: Many of these deals offered by the tire manufacturers are available anywhere you buy tires. The only deal above exclusive to Tire Rack is Sumitomo.
I have aftermarket wheels that changed the tire size ever so slightly that major brands don’t have tire promotions for that size tire. Before you buy those nice looking wheels, you may want to check to see if the tire size remains standard. It’s like shoe sizes you don’t find as many shoes in a 4 1/2 wide as you do a 7 1/2.
Buy In-Store or Online?
If you want to see how tires are tested, a new trend has been for online retailers such as Tire Rack to test tires under many conditions. Tires have their own personality and the buyer needs to realize what kind of driving conditions and features he/she wants. Tire Rack rates tires on Ride Comfort, Noise Comfort, Handling and Overall Road Rating.
“For products that we carry at Tire Rack there are no good or bad tires, there are different personalities,” said Rogers, “To get the best value find something that meets your needs and gives you satisfaction for the three to five years you will be driving on the road.”
You can also do research at tire-maker websites that show their own performance ratings and reviews.
Often online, you have a better selection of tires than you do in a store. You may have to wait or pay for shipping and may not have to pay sales tax. Online buying gives you more information about the tires and often shows user reviews.
Woody Rogers advises consumers that although premier tires seem more expensive at first they last longer and are very cost effective.
“There are cheap tires on the market. Cheap tires are different than low cost. Cheap tires can often fail to deliver true value,” said Rogers.
New Tire Tech
If you haven’t bough tires recently there have bee some new developments for wet weather traction, fuel economy and even driving while the tire is flat.
New tire technology gives you peace of mind because they run while they are flat. Bridgestone’s DriveGuard is the first full line of mass-market replacement run-flat tires that keep going after being punctured for up to 50 miles. Cars eligible for DriveGuard must have a working tire pressure monitoring system. If you drive in areas that are far from service stations, these tires could get you to safety. DriveGuard tires are also useful for those who drive late at night or alone in unsafe areas.
New tire technology enables better gas mileage with lower rolling resistance tires are effective at increasing fuel efficiency close to 5%. Current fuel economy tire styles include the Michelin Defender, Bridgestone Ecopia EP422 +, Michelin Energy Save A/S and Goodyear Assurance Fuel Max. These tires may cost more when you buy them but decrease gas mileage and emissions.
Say you usually spend $200 a month on gas, a 5% improvement will save you $10 a month, $120 a year or $600 if you use the tires for five years.
Brand Name Perks
If you don’t belong to the Automobile Club, have OnStar or other roadside assistance service, some tire-makers offer their own road side assistance. For example Michelin offers Flat Tire Assistance 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in the U.S. and Canada for 3 years after you purchase your Michelin replacement tires. If you get a flat tire, call 1-888-553-4327 and a qualified service professional will replace your flat tire with your inflated spare. If an inflated spare is not available, towing will be provided at no cost (up to 150 miles) to the nearest approved Michelin tire retailer of your choice.
Continental Tire offers similar three year roadside assistance coverage as long as the driver registers online within 45 days of purchase. Kuhmo tire offers roadside assistance for up to two years on for the Solus KR21 and the Road Venture AP tires. Towing rate start around $75 these warranties can save in the long haul.
Tire Warranty Ratings
Tires are rated by number of expected miles and if you don’t reach the miles, you usually get some kind of credit.
However, the ratings of mileage may be affected by misalignment, under inflation, infrequent tire rotation and variations in road surfaces around country says Rogers. For example in the Midwest roads are gentle on tires while in Florida the road material wears tires more rapidly.
If you buy purely by price, it may wear out quickly, not have sufficient safe traction, be loud or have harsh ride warns Rogers.
When you choose the right tires for your car, you get the best value by knowing it is safe and efficient under all your driving conditions.