Buying new tires is a fact of life when you own a car. Tires need to be replaced several times over the life of most vehicles. But where do you find the best tires?
There are number of places where you can purchase new tires pretty easily. Convenience can cost a pretty penny, though, and you’ll want to make sure the tires are of good quality. There’s no way I would skimp on quality when it comes to tires.
So, where should you go for the best prices, sweetest deals and best track record?
Consumer Reports polled over 50,000 subscribers who purchased tires and came up with a list of 33 retailers who had the best and worst tire change services. After looking at that, we’ve created a list that only includes the best when it comes to replacing your tires at an affordable cost.
The Best Places To Buy Tires
Costco, Big O Tires, Les Schwab Tire Centers, and Discount Tire come in first place as the best places to buy and have tires installed.
Here are the highlights about each company:
1. Discount Tire
Discount Tire gets high marks from users for its fair prices and easy payment plans. It has free Wi-Fi while you wait, too. Customer service, however, was ranked lower.
Still, according to reviewers on ConsumerAffairs.com, many have experienced the best bang for their buck with Discount Tires. That’s not to say that their tires are not expensive, though. The average cost for a brand new set of four tires comes in at $500+.
Within the past 18 months, Discount Tire has initiated a payment plan for those who need a little extra time to pay for their brand new wheels.
Affordability is the most common concern for Costco shoppers. The average price per tire comes in at around $160, bringing Costco’s total in at $600+ for a new set of tires, according to Consumer Reports.
For the average shopper, this is a bit steep. But in return, you get the convenience of dropping your car off while you shop for bulk grocery items.
3. Big O Tires
Big O Tires is the second largest tire retailer in the country. It’s helped millions of Americans since 1962 and has some of the most affordable options for tires.
The average cost is $168 per tire. Most tire sets purchased with Big O Tires have allowed users to get up to 60,000 miles of wear and tear.
Similar to Discount Tire, Big O Tires offers a payment plan for buyers who need more time to pay for tires. According to WalletHub, it’s not a terrible deal, especially if your credit score is lower than the average American’s. You need only a fair credit score in order to qualify.
But don’t let that excite you too much. Late fees are set at $38 a pop and the average interest rate is 16%. Ouch.
4. Les Schwab Tire Centers
Les Schwab is a fan favorite because of its customer service. The average cost per tire ($187), though, is not so consumer-friendly unless you have a thick wallet. A set of four tires at that steep price will total $748.
While expensive prices don’t leave a lot of people singing praises for Les Schwab, its excellent customer service and attention to detail do.
The Best Tire Deals
There’s nothing sweeter than a smokin’ deal. When it comes to tires, there’s never really anyone excited to pay over $500 for a new set of tires. Most of the time people seek out deals.
Many larger franchise tire centers and retailers offer monthly deals. These deals typically involve purchasing three tires and getting the fourth free. Look for %-off discounts around various holidays, too.
The best time generally to purchase new tires is between April and October, especially during the summer months. The year-end holidays are another time to look for specials.
Here are some retailers and franchises who have the best deals running throughout the year.
No longer do you have to go into a Discount Tire store. All you need to do is hop on the internet, go to DiscountTire.com, order your tires and have them shipped to you directly. You can also opt to pick up your slick new wheels from their distribution center.
Either way you have them delivered, you can then bring them to a mechanic of your choosing for mounting. This is usually cheaper than having them installed by the tire dealer because the dealer typically charges more for labor.
Like Discount Tire, this online retailer has a search tool that lets you set specific parameters around the kind of tires you’re looking for, including an average price based on your make and model.
Where Tire Buyer differs is that besides delivering a full set of results that you can choose from, it also offers a limited set of recommended tires. It says it chooses these recommendations based on 120 different characteristics, including best sellers in your area, customer reviews, performance characteristics, mileage warranty information and value.
The recommendations are helpful if you don’t know a lot about tires and don’t want to research all the search results. If you do want to do your own research, the full list is always available, too.
Another benefit of TireBuyer.com is that there’s always some kind of discount or rebate in place. That means you don’t have to worry about timing the tire market right as you would with some other stores.
7. Amazon Tires
Amazon Prime customers, in particular, can score some fantastic deals. The lowest price for a tire is $26 — talk about a deal!
The biggest downside to purchasing tires through Amazon is the amount of searching you’ll have to do. The parameters to help you narrow down results are nowhere nearly as detailed as they are on other tire retailer websites. Regardless of this, Amazon offers big money-saving opportunities.
Tire Rack operates much like TireBuyer.com. The difference here is that the rebate deals are offered directly by tire manufacturers such as Goodyear and Michelin, as well as some smaller shop franchises like Firestone. These rebates require you to mail in your information instead of filling it out online.
Mailing in your rebate means it may take longer for your “money saved” to truly feel like it’s been saved. This doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it, however.
Tire Rack also has some deals where you can get a Visa gift card with your purchase.
Tire Installation Costs to Keep In Mind
Tires are only part of the cost when you take steps to replace your current tires. It’s important to keep in mind, too, that mechanics will charge to align the tires, dispose of the original tires, and put your car back together if the seats were taken down.
Whether you pay a mechanic or have a shop install the tires for you, it’s best to remember that you’ll be spending more on the entire process than just buying the tires.
The Best Ways to Save When Buying Tires
The price of tires and installation has changed over recent years as tires have become more complicated. Tires now expire in six years. While it’s not illegal to keep older tires, many shops will refuse to repair them if they’re damaged.
There’s no way around it: Good tires are expensive. Discovering new ways to save on big-ticket items like new tires is valuable for those on a tight budget or anyone who just doesn’t want to spend a lot on tires.
Some of the best ways to save money on your new set of tires is to time your tire purchases between April and October, look for retailers offering installation deals, speak to your mechanic when that doesn’t work, and do your research before impulse buying a new set of kicks.