Tips on Saving Money When Buying Tires- and Making Your Vehicle’s Tires Last Longer

by RC on January 11, 2009

I had one of those shopping experiences that I really don’t look forward to last weekend.

I had to buy new tires for my wife’s SUV. Tires for a car or truck are not cheap, so I wanted to find the best deal I could. The back tires were fairly old, and the front ones were getting worn, so it was really time to replace all 4. Often in the past, I have replaced only two at a time, so this time it was going to cost more than normal.

Since I knew this was going to cost a good bit of money, I wanted to try and find the best deal I could by shopping around and comparing prices. With tire prices varying so greatly, depending on the brand, model, and size, initially it looked like I could spend from $90 to $150 per tire. Ouch!

You definitely need to comparison shop to find the best deal when replacing tires:

Know your size, and shop online and call around

Knowing your car or truck’s tire size will help here. You can usually find it on the sidewall, but it is probably a good idea to check the sticker on the inside of the door (usually driver’s side) to make sure you or someone else has not put slightly different sized tires on than what was recommended by the manufacturer.
At some places, you will be able to check availability and pricing online, and you can call others to save yourself a trip and allowing you to do some quick cost comparisons.

Check out Warehouse clubs

Warehouse clubs such as Sam’s Club or Costco are good places to start for finding good prices on tires. I don’t have a Costco near me, so I was not able to take advantage of their good tire prices,  but I do have a Sam’s Club.  I checked the tire stock at my local Sam’s club online, to look at the prices, and it looked like the cheapest there was going to be about $80/tire, but I would have to order them and wait for them to be delivered to my local store.

Check chain tire shops, like Goodyear or Firestone, and smaller, local shops as well

Don’t just assume that the large warehouse clubs will have the best deal, because you never know if a chain tire shop or a local independent shop may have a special running, or have a sale or other discount on the tires you are looking for. Places like Goodyear often have sales and rebates, so you may end up getting a pretty good deal here as well.

Where did I find the best price for tires?

Even though they did not show up online, I decided to swing by my local Walmart to see what they had available. To my pleasant surprise, they had some Goodyear tires for about $65 per tire, or about $25 to $30 cheaper than I had found anywhere else. Since I got there right before they opened, I only had to wait about 1 hour to get them installed, and I was ready to go.

Tires can wear out very quickly if you do not maintain them and take care of them. You want to take the steps necessary so you are not replacing 50,000 mile tires ever 20,000 miles.

Properly maintaining your tires and making them last as long as possible

  • Rotate your tires regularly- the standard here is every 6 months or 5 to 6,000 miles, whichever comes first
  • Make sure your tires are balanced
  • Keep your tires properly inflated
  • Get your front end aligned- If your car’s front end is not aligned properly, it can cause uneven wear on the tires, causing their lifespan to be greatly reduced.
Image by S. Witherden

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

The Happy Rock January 11, 2009 at 10:17 am

Turns out my Costco experience was a bit of a bust. I went with with a much cheaper and better tire experience. They are lasting much longer and were cheaper.

Warehouses have only limited types of tires, while Tire Rack has tons of tires and a great user rating system.


RC January 11, 2009 at 11:00 am

Happy Rock- Thanks for the tip! I will definitely check them out next time I need new tires- especially if i have time to plan ahead and order them.


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