Tire Shopping

My truck has been running pretty smoothly, not counting my Brake Job Or Brake Scam. Whenever hiccups occur, I quickly remind myself, “No monthly car payments.” Can’t argue with that. I noticed my tires were pretty bald. My old frugal self would have ridden the tires down to its steel belted radials. Safety comes first, so I went tire shopping.

What Size?

I admit I’m not very handy and not much into cars. But I do know the basics about tire sizes. Just like shopping for shoes, you need to know your tire size. The tricky part is tires have three critical measurements instead of one. Get familiar with width, aspect ratio, and diameter.

Tire Markings

For more details, learn more about your at Tire Defects.

Used Or Costco

I could have saved some money if I bought used tires, but I decided to pay a premium for added safety. Who knows where the used tires have been? There are no warranties. With all the freeways in Southern California, I don’t want to end up Inspire Roadkill. I ran my tire size through Costco and sadly they weren’t available. I learned my size is rare. Lucky me.

Best Of The Rest

I then turned to everyone’s best friend, Google. I punched in my size at

Tire Rack
America’s Tire
Just Tires
Discount Tire Centers
American Tire Depot

The prices and manufacturers were comparable across the board. I finally decided with American Tire Depot as they also threw in a $50 gift card.

Final Thoughts

You should check Costco first. As for American Tire Depot, I was pleased with their expertise and service. Be mindful of mounting, balancing, and disposal fees that will add to your initial estimate. I also recommend aligning your tires. This will extend the life of your tires and make for a smoother ride. It was pretty interesting watching the Hawkeye alignment process. Laser targets were strapped to the tires. My truck was raised up and leveled with a computerized alignment analyzer. It would generate measurements that the technician used to get the tires in line rather than have you drive off with your tires pointing outward. Which reminds me, you should also rotate your tires, around the same time as your oil changes, if they are all the same size. My shop does courtesy tire rotations with their oil changes. Be careful because some sedans have different sized tires for the front and rear wheels meaning you can’t rotate them.

Stay Inspired!

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19 Responses

  1. Money Beagle says:

    I’ve always used Discount Tire and have had pretty good luck. Still, I know enough people that swear by Costco that I’ll most likely give them a look next time we need tires.

    • Buck Inspire says:

      Most of these places were identical with little variances along the way. If Costco had my size, I probably would have gone there. They can mount and dispose your old tires for you while you shop.

  2. MoneyCone says:

    I might buy a used car, but won’t compromise on tires! One thing I did learn is never to buy tires from a dealership.

  3. I’ll check costco next time. I would stay far away from used tires too. Safety first!

  4. I’ve purchased a set of tires from Costco. Impressed with the service and the price, but the nitrogen filling caught me off-guard. Apparently you can still inflate with regular air, but it dilutes the nitrogen rich mixture they fill the tire with. I don’t see that much of an advantage with nitrogen.

  5. krantcents says:

    I just had my tires rotated and rebalanced at Costco last week. Every month I have them check the inflation. I generally get at least 60,000 plus miles from a set of tires.

    • Buck Inspire says:

      Looks like you’re getting the full use of your tires, good job! Rotation, rebalancing, and checking inflation, is there a charge or is it covered by the tire purchase?

  6. Sam’s Club has the lowest prices on tires in our area as far as I know. (Haven’t checked Costco because we don’t have one near us.) They will rotate and balance any tires you bought there every 3 months (approx.) for free. And, as you say, you can shop while they do it. You don’t have to be a member to buy tires there or get them serviced there. When you walk in the store just tell them you are going to the tire center.

    • Buck Inspire says:

      I wonder if there are studies on which is the better deal, Sam’s Club or Costco. I don’t have a Sam’s Club around me. Good to know about their deals and thanks for sharing!

  7. Little House says:

    I also had to purchase new tires this month. My husband takes care of all the major car repairs (because that’s what husbands are for!) and was able to get a really great deal using a local tire place. Three years ago we used a franchised vendor and paid $200 more than we paid this year using a local business. But I agree that safety comes first and paying a little more for good tires is worth it.

  8. Some of these places were matching with little variances all along the way. If Costco had my size, I almost certainly would have gone there. They can go up and arrange your old tires for you whilst you shop.

  9. budget hotels in barcelona says:

    Good points. Tires play an important role in your vehicle.

  1. July 29, 2011

    […] Tire Shopping @ Buck […]

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