Is it Cheaper to Buy Tires Online or in Person?

  • By: Sean Cooper

Until you find yourself in a situation where you need to buy a tire or tires for your vehicle, you probably have no idea how much they cost. The chances are you’ll be shocked at how much they do cost, and then you’ll probably start looking around to find ways of saving money on those tires. There are several ways to save money on tires, but shopping around for the cheapest tire deals is the most obvious way. That obviously raises one big question; is it cheaper to buy tires online or in person at a local shop? Let’s take a look.

Yokohama tires

Shoppers can find cheap tires online because there’s much more competition than in their local area. Making time or space to take delivery isn’t a concern as they will ship directly to your local installer, but you can always ask your installer if they can match the online price before you buy online.

Will buying tires online save you money?

Shopping for tires online will save you money, even if you don’t buy from one of the online retailers in the end. Competition is fierce, especially in tough economic times when people are looking for any way they can save a few dollars, so you’ll always find the lowest prices and the best tire deals online. As I just said, it’s always worth asking your local tire installer if they can supply the tires you need and match the online price.

Which are the best online tire websites?

There’s no shortage of online tire retailers to choose from, but here’s a list of some of the best you’ll want to check out.

  1. Priority Tire
  2. Discount Tire
  3. National Tire & Battery
  4. Tire Rack
  5. Costco
  6. TireBuyer
  7. Walmart
  8. Tire America
  9. BJ’s Tire Center
  10. Goodyear

How do I buy tires online and install them?

If you haven’t bought tires online before, you probably have a few questions, and one of them is sure to be how do you fit them to your wheels? If you envisage Fed Ex or UPS turning up outside your house with a bunch of heavy tires left for you to haul to your local shop, then you can stop worrying right now. The online tire retailers will ship the tires directly to your chosen approved installer, so your contribution to the fitting process is driving your vehicle to the shop to have them fitted on time.

Could the shop refuse to fit tires bought online?

If you’re new to online tire shopping, you may have concerns about how your local installer will react to you asking them to fit tires you bought online from another retailer. After all, a big part of their business will often be selling tires and fitting them.

Let’s face it; your local bar wouldn’t be pleased if you walked in with your own beer and asked them if you could pay them to supply a glass and provide you with somewhere to sit, would they?

Thankfully, it’s not the same as asking an installer to fit tires you bought elsewhere. Auto shops are used to the way online tire shopping works. They’ll be more than pleased to get your business to fit them, especially if you allowed them the opportunity to match the price before you bought online.

597x191 Winter Tires

Seven steps to buying tires online

  1. Investigate – You first need to decide if you need a tire or more than one tire. If you’ve had a blowout, you’ll obviously need to replace that tire, but make sure you check the others before replacing a single tire. One or more of the other tires could be worn or damaged, and it would make sense to replace them simultaneously. Some automakers, such as Subaru, always suggest you change all four tires because their AWD system requires uniform diameter and tread pattern across all four tires to deliver optimum performance.
  2. Tire size – Working out what tires you need can be daunting if you don’t know what you’re doing, but online tire retailers make things easy. All the major sites have drop-down menus that help you determine what size tire you have on your vehicle. You’ll need to know your vehicle’s make, model, year, and trim level, but if you haven’t had your vehicle from new, this way of doing things isn’t always foolproof. If you bought your vehicle used, a previous owner could have had different wheels fitted to the original specification, so it’s a good idea to learn where the size is displayed on your tire.
  3. Choose your tire type – Not all tires are created equal, which you’ll soon see when you start shopping online for new tires. If you’re happy with how your vehicle drives, rebuying the exact tire is the easy option. However, you might want a more durable tire or something with better performance, so read reviews and guides before deciding which tires to buy. The biggest temptation is often to opt for the cheapest tires, but that’s not a great idea, and I’ll discuss that a little later.
  4. Find the best price – If you know what size, brand, and specification you want, it’s then time to begin shopping around to find the best price. Be careful, though, because there’s more to consider than just the headline price. Remember to consider shipping costs and any restrictions there might be on where and who they will ship to.
  5. Choose an installer – Most online tire retailers will ship to any installer you nominate, so read reviews, listen to personal recommendations, and find out the price they charge for fitting. Some retailers will only ship to installers they have a relationship with, which means there will be a list for you to select from when you order the tires. On the other hand, you might prefer to use a mobile installer such as RepairSmith.
  6. Arrange fitting – The last thing you need to do is make an appointment with your chosen installer for when the tires are delivered. If you use a mobile installer, that’s the one occasion you might want to have the tires delivered to your home. On the other hand, the mobile tire fitter may be able to accept delivery and bring them to you if you don’t have somewhere to store them.
Pirelli Scorpion

How To Choose The Right Tires For Your Car

‍When it comes to the safety and performance of our cars, we tend to focus mostly on engine power, acceleration, top speed, and handling. However, another component of car performance is just as important in terms of safety: tire choice. A high-quality set of tires can make a world of difference when it comes to your car’s safety and performance on the road. Here are some essential tips regarding tire selection for your car. It can help you choose the right set for your vehicle.

What are the different types of tires?

The first thing you need to get to grips with when choosing the right tire is to understand the different tires out there. Many factors determine the tire type you choose, such as your driving habits, car type, and road conditions. There are three major types of tires: All-season, summer, and winter tires.

All-season tires are designed to provide a balance of performance in most weather and road conditions. They are a good choice for many drivers but don’t excel in any particular season.

Summer tires are optimized for warm weather and high speeds. They’re designed to provide maximum grip, but they’re not as durable or capable in cold or wet weather as other types of tires.

Winter tires are manufactured for cold, Arctic-like conditions, like heavy snow and icy roadways. They’re designed to provide maximum grip in wet and icy conditions but aren’t as efficient for warm months. What I have say is they are really, really good these days. If I tell you the very best winter tires can squeal on ice because they are so efficient when braking hard you probably wouldn’t believe me, but it’s true!

How to choose the right tire based on your driving habits

When choosing the right tire for your car, the first thing you will want to do is determine how you drive. Think carefully about driving conditions you experience most of the time and how you drive. If you have a truck, do you do a lot of towing? If you have a car, do you do a lot of driving at relatively high speeds or are you stuck in urban traffic most of the time?

For example, if you drive on primarily dry roads and highways, you will want to choose an all-season tire with a good balance of grip and durability. However, if you frequently drive in wet or snowy conditions, you will probably want to use a specialized tire.

Something else important to consider when choosing the right tire is your car type. Not all tires are compatible with all vehicles. Certain tires are recommended for certain car types. For example, larger vehicles may require a heavier-duty tire. Once again, this is where you need to do a bit of research, especially if you are not the original owner of your car, truck, van, or SUV. 

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Tire Brands You Can Trust

When you get around to buying a new tire or tires, you’ll want to make sure you purchase from a reliable brand. Some tire brands are better than others. Here are some top tire brands that you can trust:

Bridgestone – Bridgestone is a Japanese brand in business for over 80 years. It is best known for its tires designed for driving in wet and snowy conditions.

Continental – Continental is a German brand specializing in tires for driving in all types of road conditions, including dry, wet, and snowy environments.

Cooper Tire and Rubber Company – Cooper is an American brand specializing in high-quality tires for driving in all types of road conditions. It is one of the largest tire producers in the world.

Michelin – Michelin is a French tire brand known for its high-quality tires specifically designed for wet and snowy conditions.

Pirelli – Pirelli is an Italian tire brand that specializes in a wide range of tires and has a rich history of performance and safety in motorsports.

Yokohama – Yokohama is a Japanese tire brand known for producing tires designed for all types of road conditions and driving applications. It’s abrand often favored by street racers, but don’t let that put you off.

Goodyear – Goodyear is one of the biggest global tire brands, making almost every kind of tire you can think of for almost any application.

Nexen Tire – Nexen will be a relatively new name to many drivers. They’re a South Korean brand that makes a wide range of styles to suit all possible terrains and weather conditions. The quality is generally good, but not the very best, but they do make good, competitively priced tires that are worth considering if you’re on a tight budget. 

What to look for when buying new tires

When buying new tires, there are certain factors you will want to keep in mind, such as tread depth and traction.

Tread Depth – The most important factor when it comes to tire performance is the tread depth, which indicates the amount of material on the tire that contacts the road. You will want to make sure your tires have a sufficient tread depth, usually at least 6/32 of an inch. Otherwise, you run the risk of hydroplaning when you are driving in wet conditions.

For optimal safety and performance, your tires should be replaced when the tread depth reaches 6/32 of an inch, but that isn’t actually a law. There are states where the law requires that tires be replaced once they reach 2/32 of an inch.

Traction – Another important factor when it comes to tire performance is traction. Traction describes the tire’s ability to maintain a grip on the road, especially on wet or slippery conditions. Generally, a tire’s traction is measured in terms of the maximum traction, called the “peak traction.” You should ensure that the tires you purchase have sufficient traction for the driving conditions you will be in most often.

When to change your tires?

When it comes to tire maintenance, you should be familiar with the signs of tire wear. Specifically, you should be aware of the normal tire wear rate to know when it is time to change your tires. – A normal tire wear rate is when your tires lose 2/32 of an inch of tread depth per 10,000 miles of driving. As soon as your tires lose the recommended amount of tread depth, you should consider replacing them. A worn tire is extremely dangerous. Therefore, it is best to change your tires as soon as they lose the proper amount of tread depth. This is especially important in a wet climate, where worn tires are even more dangerous.

Recon Grappler

Final thoughts

Online retailers have revolutionized how we buy tires these days. What hasn’t changed, however, is the bad attitude a lot of people have where tires are concerned. Too many drivers take it as an affront to them when an auto shop or any other expert tells them their tires are shot.

Tires are something a lot of people really don’t like spending money on and they will put themselves, their passengers, and other people at risk by continuing to drive on tires that are excessively worn, damaged, or just terrible quality. When I was still working in the retail auto business we used to call cheap tires “ditch-finders” because they are likely to see you end up in a ditch.

By all means, shop around as much as you can to get the best deal. But make sure the tires you buy are the right ones for your vehicle, the driving you do, and they’re good quality. A good retailer can save you money, but buying good-quality tires can save your life.

In my experience, Priority Tire is easily one of the best online tire retailers in America by some way. Check them out here, but only when you’ve worked out what tires you need.

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