When it’s getting close to time for a new set of tires, many people start getting nervous. They know tires are expensive, but they aren’t sure how much a new set will cost. Add in installation, tire disposal fees, additional services, and maybe even a road hazard warranty, and the price of tires can start to add up.
As you may have guessed, tire costs vary widely depending on brand, style, and tire size (for example, 20-inch tires for a large pickup truck will be much more expensive than 15-inch tires for a small hatchback). Whether your tire purchase is planned or an unforeseen need, tires can be more expensive than a typical everyday expense. Luckily, most people buy new tires every four years or thereabouts – so once you have a new set you won’t have to think about replacing them for a while.
General pricing guidelines for new tires:
While these tire prices may seem high, remember that tires are a highly engineered product, designed to keep you, your vehicle, and your passengers safe on the road. Also remember that as with many products, with tires, you get what you pay for. Paying a bit more can get you a higher-quality tire that may last longer and feel better on the road.
Paying more may also get you a longer tire mileage warranty. On the flip side, if you’re only planning to keep your car for a year or so, you might consider buying a cheaper tire, since you may not be as concerned with long treadlife and a long mileage warranty. (However, keep in mind that when you opt for cheaper tires, you may be sacrificing up some traction, braking power, hydroplaning resistance, etc.)
To help save money, shop for tires online and keep an eye out for sales, rebates, and discount codes. Tire manufacturers frequently offer mail-in rebates and seasonal sales, while some online retailers offer unique promotional codes. If you buy tires online, you may also be able to take advantage of an easy payment plan like PayPal Credit.
Many people want their tires to come with a long mileage warranty – but is it worth paying extra for this? A mileage warranty is essentially a guarantee that you’ll be able to drive a certain number of miles on a tire before it reaches the end of its life. Let’s look at an example. The Michelin Defender T+H tire comes with one of the best mileage warranties in the business – 80,000 miles. If you have Defender T+H tires and they wear out when you’ve driven 70,000 miles, you can submit a warranty claim to Michelin.
If your claim meets their requirements, Michelin will refund a portion of the tire purchase price, pro-rated based on the 10,000 miles of tire use you didn’t receive. (Tire tip – in order to keep your tire warranty in good standing, you’ll need to have the tires rotated every 5,000 to 6,000 miles, check the tire pressure regularly, and keep the vehicle in good alignment.)
Many tires come with shorter mileage warranties, and some tires (high-performance tires, off-road tires, and winter tires) don’t have any mileage warranty at all. A mileage warranty is nice to have for sure, but it’s worth remembering that if your tires don’t last for the full amount of miles, you’ll only recover a pro-rated portion of the tire cost, and you’ll have needed to rotate the tires regularly. If you can’t show proof of rotation, the tire manufacturer could deny your warranty claim. You should also check your tire pressure and have your vehicle aligned regularly – over-/under-inflation and misalignment can void your tire warranty.)
At a minimum, your new tires will need to be mounted (i.e. installed on your vehicle’s wheels/rims) and balanced so that they don’t vibrate when you’re driving. There’s usually a standard fee for this service, which is called mounting and balancing. This fee will vary depending on the tire size, your area and the tire installation shop you choose, but it can range from $15 to $45 per tire. Some tire shops offer Road Force Balancing, which may be slightly more expensive, but many people believe it’s most consistent and accurate form of balancing because it simulates the weight of the vehicle on the tire.
In addition to the mounting and balancing fee, there may be federal or state disposal fees or taxes, and your local shop may charge their own handling fee to dispose of your old tires. State tire disposal fees range from $0.25 per tire in Kansas to $10 per large truck tire in Louisiana – but most states charge just $1-$2 per tire.
Another potential charge when you buy new tires relates to your vehicle’s TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring Sensors). All vehicles built after 2008 are equipped with TPMS, which is designed to alert you if the air pressure in any of your tires is too high or too low. When you get your new tires installed, these sensors will need to be serviced in order to function correctly. Your installer may charge an extra fee to perform this service. In extreme cases, if one or more of your TPMS sensors has a dead battery or has some deterioration or damage, you may need to replace the sensors with new ones. This would result in an additional fee.
Your installer may recommend an alignment when you get new tires. It’s a good idea to consider an alignment because if your vehicle’s wheels are out of alignment, your new tires may wear unevenly. This can cause them to wear out prematurely or perform poorly. Keeping your vehicle in good alignment will help get the most life out of your tires. A wheel alignment generally costs around $100.
Your installer may also offer the ability to fill the tires with nitrogen instead of air (this is completely optional and generally costs $5-$10 extra per tire). Tires filled with nitrogen tend to stay inflated at the proper pressure for longer than regular air, and there should be less moisture inside the tire, which may help preserve the life and prevent corrosion of your TPMS sensors.
Everything you need to know about tire mileage warranties, including how to keep yours in force.
Finally, your installer may recommend an extended road hazard warranty or lifetime rotation and maintenance services. These programs are designed to protect your tires beyond the manufacturer’s warranty, which usually don’t cover the tires for damage due to potholes, curbs, sharp objects, etc.
When you’re shopping around for the best tire price, it’s essential to compare apples-to-apples. Some retailers provide an “all-in price” or “out-the-door cost,” meaning the total dollar amount required for the purchase, including installation. When buying tires, the total price includes product cost, taxes and fees, shipping, and installation.
Some retailers may only show the cost of the product and shipping fees, but not the installation fees. If this isn’t clearly outlined, you may encounter surprise costs throughout your buying experience. You can avoid payment confusion by shopping at TireBuyer. All costs are displayed so you have full visibility into pricing, and our Installer Advantage policy covers you for any price discrepancies during installation (see more details below).
TireBuyer offers everyday competitive pricing on top-brand tires, plus exclusive promotions for our customers. We also offer fast, free shipping to our nationwide network of more than 9000 professional installers, usually within just 1-2 business days. This could cost as much as $160 on other online tire sites! We can do this because we operate over 120 warehouses across the United States. With millions of tires in stock and our own fleet of delivery trucks, we make daily deliveries to the tire installation shops in your area, so our delivery is fast and free – unmatched in the industry.
At TireBuyer, we’ve taken all the worry out of buying tires with our Installer Advantage policy. When you buy tires on TireBuyer and have them delivered to one of our installer partners across the U.S., you get five exclusive benefits:
Visit us at TireBuyer.com and enter your vehicle info. We’ll show you the best tires for your vehicle, along with complete installation costs. You can also call our friendly tire experts at (866) 961-8668 for help selecting tires and a price quote. Let us know if we can help!