With the weather starting to change, most people start thinking about how driving conditions will change and what they’ll need to be prepared for the new season.
A big part of being prepared for a new season is making sure you have the right type of tires.
Vehicles can be expensive – fuel, insurance, parking, and maintenance costs all add up fast.
Related: Things I Refuse to Pay For
There is also the cost of tires – and they’re not cheap.
Buying Tires on a Budget
For those who aren’t willing to pay full retail price from a local tire shop for their tires (I’m definitely one of those people) – there are a few options.
In the past I have bought a set of quality used tires from private sellers who use online classifieds like Craigslist or Kijiji.
Using a search tool you can easily find the right size of tires for your vehicle.
If the tires aren’t already mounted on rims, you’ll have to pay to have them mounted yourself. I usually get this done at Costco which charges $60 for a set of 4 tires. This is a great deal compared to a regular tire shop here that charges around $120.
I keep my winter and summer tires on separate rims to save the costs of having them switched over every spring/fall.
For those of you who are looking to buy brand new tires or not interested in buying from a private seller, there is a great option available – Tire Rack.
Tire Rack – Big Savings on Tires
Tire Rack is an online tire distributor that ships tires across North America. They tend to have cheaper prices than most regular tire shops and have great selection.
I was a bit hesitant about buying tires online, but the set I purchased from Tire Rack have lasted years. The site contains tire reviews and ratings which is important when selecting a quality set of winter tires.
To save even more money I had them shipped to a U.S. shipping outlet and picked them up myself, saving me from the hefty costs of having them shipped across the border.
I bought a set of winter tires from Tire Rack and saved big. The tires cost $454 including all taxes and shipping (to a U.S. shipping outlet). The same tires from a local dealer in town would cost me $642. That’s a savings of almost 30%.
Tire Rack also ships to Canada but the shipping costs are higher so you’d want to determine if it’s worth it to have them shipped to your home or a U.S. shipping outlet. Having items shipped to a shipping outlet works well for anyone who lives close to the border or is already planning a trip south.
Other Tips to Save on Tires
- Manufacturer rebates. Throughout the course of the year tire makers sometimes offer rebates for customers who purchase a set of 4 tires. The rebates are usually around $70 per set and are a great way to save money
- Buying a size down. Our vehicle has 18” rims from the factory but I noticed that similar models use 17” rims (and tires). Since smaller is cheaper (for tires), I purchased the smaller set for our vehicle and have had no issues. Of course, you’d want to call your vehicle manufacturer to make sure it’s safe to do so. In our case I called a local Toyota dealer and they said it would be no problem.
- Buying at the right time. Tires don’t usually go on sale but when they do it tends to be in the off-season. Winter tires can be cleared out starting in March as people start to look at spring/summer tires, so buying in the off-season sometimes means you can find a deal
Conclusion: I buy my tires online from Tire Rack and save big compared to a local tire shop. Buying online and taking advantage of rebates/sales are other ways people can save on tires.
How do you save on tires?