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Tire Shopping: Save Money on Your Car's New Kicks


Few parts of your car are as important to safety, comfort, and fuel economy as your tires, which should be replaced approximately every 50,000 miles, 5 years, or when they begin to show excessive wear. But with new tires running between $60-$200 each plus installation, replacing four tires can give your wallet a serious whack. To save yourself some dough on tires, follow these tips.

Replace All Four at Once – It can be tempting to buy tires in pairs (front or rear) to save money, but you’ll pay more in the long run due to uneven tire wear.

Rotate Your Tires – Rotating your tires (swapping front for rear and left for right) every 10,000 miles ensures your tires wear as evenly as possible, extending their life. Rotating should take a tire shop about 10 minutes. If you can handle a jack and a lug wrench, you can also rotate your tires yourself.

Keep Your Car Aligned – Ever notice your car pulling to one side on the highway? You car is out of alignment. Most auto shops can do an alignment for less than $100 in 45 minutes or less, which will dramatically improve your tire’s tread life.

Shop Around – Most people take their cars to the local tire specialty store and plunk down top dollar for whatever the salesman recommends. You can easily find your car’s tire size on the side of your current tires – it should read something like 215/70/15 (tire width/aspect ratio/wheel diameter). Use that number to get competitive prices on different shops, and online.

You can save money buy shopping at TireRack.com, which will ship tires directly to you or a local installer. Even with shipping, such a service can save you bundles. While their installation and service may not be as speedy as other tire stores, wholesale clubs like Costco and BJ’s may also offer tires at bargain rates.

Sell Your Old Kicks – If you haven’t completely exhausted the tread on your old tires, you may be able to sell them on Craigslist (or at least give them away); otherwise, expect to pay between $2 and $5 per tire for an installer to dispose of the old rubber.

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About David Weliver

David Weliver is the founding editor of Money Under 30. He's a cited authority on personal finance and the unique money issues we face during our first two decades as adults. He lives in Maine with his wife and two children.

Comments

  1. “But with new tires running between $60-$200 each plus installation, replacing four tires can give your wallet a serious whack”

    I wish! Here is another factor to take into consideration when doing your car shopping. The recommended tires for Mercedes, BMW, Lexus et cetera are upwards to $450-$600.00 per tire! When I first purchased my car I spent an extra 400 dollars to purchase a tire warranty. As it turns out my first road side flat was paid for in full with that warranty. Without it, I’m not sure if the paramedics would have gotten there in time to get my heart back on track when the guy told me the price per tire!

  2. Good point, Eric…a classic example of just because you have the cash (or can afford the payment) doesn’t mean you can afford the car.

    Everything costs more on luxury cars: insurance, tires, and especially major repairs.

    I figured there were some performance tires out there that got pretty steep, but I had NO idea that recommended tires for those cars got so pricey!