Author Topic: Advice on buying car tires  (Read 13691 times)

Crash87

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Advice on buying car tires
« on: October 30, 2013, 05:50:21 PM »
Anybody have any advice or tips on buying tires? Not sure if this would influence anyone's input, but my car is rear wheel drive.

gimp

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Re: Advice on buying car tires
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2013, 06:01:15 PM »
I overspend. I buy year-round tires (I don't drive where it's very icy, though) for multiple cross-country trips a year. I'd rather overspend a couple hundred than not. Your mileage may vary (pun!)

Why don't you tell us how, where, and how much you drive?

GuitarStv

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Re: Advice on buying car tires
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2013, 09:39:57 AM »
We live where it snows and is icy for several months a year, and often take car trips around the holidays to places where it snows more.

I buy modestly priced all-seasons for most of the year, and modestly priced winter tires for winter use.  Even a terrible snow tire will significantly outperform a super expensive all-season on ice and in snow.  If you get the snow tires on a cheap set of steel rims you can change them yourself each year in about 20 minutes.

My theory is, I don't drive like I'm in a high performance car (leave lots of space, don't go past the speed limit, reduce speed when conditions dictate it) . . . why would I need high performance tires?

Spork

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Re: Advice on buying car tires
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2013, 09:48:30 AM »
What you buy is going to depend on the weather where you live, but...   I tend to research and buy through tirerack.com.  They've got good reviews and comparisons of various brands.  I'm a brand bigot (Michelin) but there are other brands that are good (and low end Michelins that are not-so-good).

Optimize for what you need (snow, rain, etc) in the reviews.   And even if you buy locally... tirerack will give you a good idea of what they should cost and what you might want.

Self-employed-swami

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Re: Advice on buying car tires
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2013, 09:49:30 AM »
I have two sets, summer and winter, but I live in the land of the ice and snow.

cynthia1848

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Re: Advice on buying car tires
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2013, 10:05:10 AM »
Tire Rack is a great resource.  We get tires there and have them shipped to us; my sibling installs them.

jba302

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Re: Advice on buying car tires
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2013, 10:13:23 AM »
Don't buy "fuel saver" tires. Reduced friction = longer braking distance.

We have all-seasons on our AWD car, and all-season + a set of blizzaks for our FWD car.

Trirod

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Re: Advice on buying car tires
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2013, 10:35:36 AM »
I second the Tire Rack suggestion.  Even if you don't end up buying from them, they have a lot of good information on the website and a lot of customer reviews, so you at least know what you want when you go to your local tire dealer.  I used to use them all the time and have a local place put them on for me, but these days it seems my local tire chain is competitive with Tire Rack prices (after taking account of installation costs) so I just go there.

Call around once you know what tire you want.  The price differential among different tire places can be surprising.

Everybody has their own preferences on tires, and a lot of it depends on the performance vs. longevity tradeoff, since those two features are pretty much mutually exclusive.  I've had good luck with Kumho and General tires recently - good performace at reasonable prices - but there are lots of good ones out there.

Spork

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Re: Advice on buying car tires
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2013, 11:14:17 AM »
Don't buy "fuel saver" tires. Reduced friction = longer braking distance.


It has been years since my days in physics.   But I'd hazard a guess that isn't true.  I think we're talking a difference of rolling friction (driving) vs static friction (braking).  Yes, the wheels are still rolling when you brake, but I think we're measuring resistance to static slippage at any given instance.

Anyone with more sciencey background have supporting/counter arguments here?

Edit to add:  I think "rolling friction" is a general way of saying how much energy loss due to deformation of the tire.   ...but I could be wrong.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2013, 11:17:14 AM by Spork »

okashira

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Re: Advice on buying car tires
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2013, 11:40:42 AM »
I design rubber products for a living, and fuel saver and reduced friction don't go hand in hand

Fuel saver tires rubber are stiffer and have rubber with better resilience so less of the tire deformation is converted to heat.

Spork

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Re: Advice on buying car tires
« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2013, 11:48:23 AM »
That's what I thought (though I am not sure I was using the right terms there...)   The last set of tires I bought had the highest test rating for road grip and were LRR tires. 

okashira

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Re: Advice on buying car tires
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2013, 12:03:03 PM »
Is it just me or is the advice going downhill in thsi forum.

I mean "I overspend on tires," huh?

Here is my answer:

-Don't drive a car with expensive tires. I usually get mine for $400 for the whole set OEM quality (in my case, Continental Conti-Pro Contacts). Lose your custom wheels that require more expansive tires then stock. Change your car to a more economical car with cheaper tires.
-Always ensure tires are inflated to the factory recommended tire pressure. Check monthly.
-Make sure your alignment is good. Have it checked after a curb check, nasty pothole, or 50,000 miles.
-Learn to drive efficiently. OEM quality tires can last 60,000 miles. Hipermiling lends to longer lasting tires too. My tires still have LOTS of tread left at 40,000 miles even with the fast turns I take some times to avoid braking.
-**forgot the most important one** DRIVE LESS. Move closer to work, bike. I'd rather have a set of tires go bad from old age then wear. That means you are doing something right.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2013, 12:07:46 PM by okashira »

okashira

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Re: Advice on buying car tires
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2013, 12:06:37 PM »
That's what I thought (though I am not sure I was using the right terms there...)   The last set of tires I bought had the highest test rating for road grip and were LRR tires.

What I did not mention, is there are always trade offs. If you need to gain resilience, you may lose tear strength, or modulus, or, perhaps friction, or resistance to the elements (UV, ozone, chemicals). For example, perhaps you accept the loss of tear strength, and beef up the design of the tire to compensate so your friction stays about the same. Rubber is kind of a black magic, no pun intended.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2013, 12:10:52 PM by okashira »

jba302

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Re: Advice on buying car tires
« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2013, 12:07:29 PM »
I design rubber products for a living, and fuel saver and reduced friction don't go hand in hand

Fuel saver tires rubber are stiffer and have rubber with better resilience so less of the tire deformation is converted to heat.

Well no shit. I stand corrected.

Nothlit

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Re: Advice on buying car tires
« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2013, 12:12:27 PM »
I'm currently shopping for tires, and I find the whole process to be a huge pain. My desire is to order them online from a site like TireRack, DTD, etc. and have them installed by whatever local shop is affiliated with wherever I buy them from. The problem is that every retailer seems to arrive at pricing from a completely different direction. Some offer "free shipping" but of course they just roll that in to the price of the tire. Others make you pay for shipping, so the tires are cheaper. Some have rebates, others have "buy 3 get 1 free" deals, and still others offer an up-front discount (but they don't factor the discount into the list price on the web site). And, of course, no two retailers sell all the same brands or models within a brand. So it's impossible to just put the web sites side by side to do a price comparison. In the end, I had to break down and make a spreadsheet just to figure out which tires I should buy. *sigh*

Regardless of where I end up buying from, I have found that TireRack tends to have the best (most comprehensive and useful) reviews and ratings of the tires they sell, which allows you to rank them on factors like traction under adverse conditions, tread life, etc. Living in an apartment, I have nowhere to store winter tires during the summer (and vice versa) so I try to find an all-season tire that's rated near the top for ice and snow traction.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2013, 12:14:26 PM by Nothlit »

GuitarStv

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Re: Advice on buying car tires
« Reply #15 on: October 31, 2013, 12:21:10 PM »
Living in an apartment, I have nowhere to store winter tires during the summer (and vice versa) so I try to find an all-season tire that's rated near the top for ice and snow traction.

Easy fix . . . take your coffee table in your living room . . . break off all the legs . . . stack the tires you're not using in two piles, two high where your coffee table used to be.  Put the top of the coffee table on the stacked tires.

You're welcome.

Spork

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Re: Advice on buying car tires
« Reply #16 on: October 31, 2013, 12:33:59 PM »

-Don't drive a car with expensive tires. I usually get mine for $400 for the whole set OEM quality (in my case, Continental Conti-Pro Contacts). Lose your custom wheels that require more expansive tires then stock. Change your car to a more economical car with cheaper tires.


My experience with OEM tires has been not too great. 

On my Mustang (yes, not economical, I know) they tend to put REALLY STICKY tires on there that do great in a test drive and don't last at all.

As a contrast, on my Matrix they went REALLY CHEAP and the tires would not hold the road at all on wet pavement.  I would be driving at cruise speed on a wet highway (not accelerating) and have the tires start spinning.   And yes, there was plenty of tread still on there.

GuitarStv

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Re: Advice on buying car tires
« Reply #17 on: October 31, 2013, 01:53:32 PM »
Maybe reduce speed when the conditions warrant it then?  :P

Not popular with the Mustang crowd, but food for thought.

Spork

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Re: Advice on buying car tires
« Reply #18 on: October 31, 2013, 02:03:55 PM »
Maybe reduce speed when the conditions warrant it then?  :P

Not popular with the Mustang crowd, but food for thought.

I wasn't sure if the speed was aimed at the Mustang or the Matrix...  On the Matrix, there was no speed that those tires felt safe on wet roads.  It was plain scary, but absolutely fine on dry pavement.   Better-than-OEM tires made the problem disappear.  I probably went overboard on the tires and will back off to a middle ground the next time replacement comes around.  The scary handling made me over react on the purchase a bit.

The Mustang is old and on the sale block ... but we're WELL PAST the OEM tires on that one.

Mr.Macinstache

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Re: Advice on buying car tires
« Reply #19 on: October 31, 2013, 02:27:02 PM »
Michelin, IMO are WAY overpriced, as are BF Goodrich (made by Michelin). Yes they are good tires, but there's no good reason to spend more. Same with Goodyear.

Your best value will be a Cooper, General or Hankook tire. These are great tires for a great price. Cooper has an $80 Rebate until Tuesday.
My factory set of Firestones were very nice, wore good until 55k miles.

Avoid Wal-Mart and Sams for tires.

Crash87

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Re: Advice on buying car tires
« Reply #20 on: October 31, 2013, 03:42:00 PM »
Why don't you tell us how, where, and how much you drive?

I drive a 2007 cts in Saint Louis and put roughly 12,000 miles on it a year. We only get snow once or twice a year normally. The last time I bought tires I spent about $500.


I hate knowing so little about stuff I need to buy so I'm definitely going to check out TireRack.

Gin

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Re: Advice on buying car tires
« Reply #21 on: October 31, 2013, 04:14:28 PM »
I checked out tirerack for recommendatuons then price checked.  I needed 2 tires and it was cheapest at Sam's.  Discount Tires said they will offer the lowest price online but I didn't feel like dealing with all that amd went to Sam's.

madage

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Re: Advice on buying car tires
« Reply #22 on: November 01, 2013, 12:59:12 PM »
Michelin, IMO are WAY overpriced, as are BF Goodrich (made by Michelin). Yes they are good tires, but there's no good reason to spend more.

I used to think the same until I bought a set of Michelin Primacy MXV4 tires for a car that (sadly) is no longer with us. The improvement in ride quality was astounding, and they actually didn't cost that much more than the other options available at the local discount tire place.

It's possible to get a pretty good price (with rebate) on Michelin tires at Costco.

I've also had pretty good luck with Kelly tires (made by Goodyear) on my Corolla.

TygerTung

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Re: Advice on buying car tires
« Reply #23 on: November 01, 2013, 03:58:34 PM »
Yokohama A-drive are good. Cheap, grippy and last for ages, what else could you want?

chasesfish

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Re: Advice on buying car tires
« Reply #24 on: November 01, 2013, 04:10:16 PM »
How long are you going to keep the car?

I'm a fan of mythodically keeping my receipts so when the tires wear faster than the warranty (like mine always do), I can get a credit against the next set.

I'm indifferent on brand, I tend to evaluate warranty verses cost and move forward.  Best deals to me are in the 60,000 to 80,000 mile range

I drive 20k+/year and a portion of that is reimbursed by mileage.

Recon

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Re: Advice on buying car tires
« Reply #25 on: November 01, 2013, 07:04:37 PM »
Michelin, IMO are WAY overpriced, as are BF Goodrich (made by Michelin). Yes they are good tires, but there's no good reason to spend more.

I used to think the same until I bought a set of Michelin Primacy MXV4 tires for a car that (sadly) is no longer with us. The improvement in ride quality was astounding, and they actually didn't cost that much more than the other options available at the local discount tire place.

It's possible to get a pretty good price (with rebate) on Michelin tires at Costco.

I've also had pretty good luck with Kelly tires (made by Goodyear) on my Corolla.

Last three cars have all had Michelin Primacy MXV4s, purchased with Costco rebates...great tires in any weather, and Costco tires come with the benefit of free rotation/balancing, which can add up to some decent savings over the life of the tire.

Crash87

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Re: Advice on buying car tires
« Reply #26 on: November 01, 2013, 08:27:11 PM »
How long are you going to keep the car?

Until it dies... Or at least until it can be easily sold for cash on Craigslist.

gebraset

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Re: Advice on buying car tires
« Reply #27 on: November 01, 2013, 08:29:40 PM »
I'm a discount tire fan to be honest. I was able to receive a military discount in conjunction with the rebate for the tires (Had to talk to the regional manager on that one, but it all worked flawlessly in the end). I was in the shop for about 30-40 minutes while I chatted with the staff. Tires were installed after the time lapsed and no damage was done to the vehicle or the rims, and tires were filled to the correct pressure.

All in all, I priced both Discount Tire and Tire Rack when I went to get new wheels a year or so ago. Tire Rack has to ship them to a shop and then make an appointment for you to go there and get it installed. Discount Tire owns their shops and you get an idea of the inventory right online. In the end, if something goes wrong, I'd rather deal with one company delivering my service and tires at a great price, not two separate entities.

Also, I agree with the posts bout getting cheaper tires. I got the second cheapest tire available (I believe) and they are wearing excellently thus far, have great traction, and aren't any worse than my OEM tires in terms of road noise. Supposedly they will last for about 50,000 miles, which equates to about 5 or 6 years of driving for me. By that time, I'll either replace the tires due to them being worn down after that amount of time being used, or get rid of the car. If you drive quite often, I'd spend the extra money and get tires that warrant a certain year/milage claim. Keep your receipts, get your alignments, and you'll be golden.

Crash87

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Re: Advice on buying car tires
« Reply #28 on: November 02, 2013, 08:19:56 AM »
So how much is reasonable for tires to cost? I just got a quote for $410 ($360 for the tire, $100 of fees for installation and old tire disposal, and a $50 mail in rebate). Warranty is for 40,000 miles.

ender

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Re: Advice on buying car tires
« Reply #29 on: November 02, 2013, 08:47:17 AM »
Thanks for posting this. I'm going to be in a similar position pretty soon, my car tires suck at winter driving and are in need of replacement anyways.

chasesfish

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Re: Advice on buying car tires
« Reply #30 on: November 02, 2013, 09:15:00 AM »
So how much is reasonable for tires to cost? I just got a quote for $410 ($360 for the tire, $100 of fees for installation and old tire disposal, and a $50 mail in rebate). Warranty is for 40,000 miles.

Check Costco.com for a baseline price at your tire size of warranty/cost.  Then go try to beat it with using at local tire places.


ketchup

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Re: Advice on buying car tires
« Reply #31 on: November 02, 2013, 09:16:26 AM »
Anywhere but Discount Tire.  They put the wrong size tires on my friend's Kia, so they wore out in less than a year.  He was furious.

Mr.Macinstache

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Re: Advice on buying car tires
« Reply #32 on: November 04, 2013, 12:11:59 PM »
Michelin, IMO are WAY overpriced, as are BF Goodrich (made by Michelin). Yes they are good tires, but there's no good reason to spend more.

I used to think the same until I bought a set of Michelin Primacy MXV4 tires for a car that (sadly) is no longer with us. The improvement in ride quality was astounding, and they actually didn't cost that much more than the other options available at the local discount tire place.

It's possible to get a pretty good price (with rebate) on Michelin tires at Costco.

I've also had pretty good luck with Kelly tires (made by Goodyear) on my Corolla.

Dunlops are made by Goodyear too. I had to replace 3 of the 4 due to the sidewall bulges (free under warranty).

It's possible that the particular Michelins you mentioned are exclusive to Costco as they could have worked out a sales agreement for them. Much like companies make products just for Wal Mart.

madage

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Re: Advice on buying car tires
« Reply #33 on: November 04, 2013, 12:21:37 PM »

It's possible that the particular Michelins you mentioned are exclusive to Costco as they could have worked out a sales agreement for them. Much like companies make products just for Wal Mart.

Nope. Primacy MXV4 tires are available just about everywhere Michelins are sold. I got mine from a Belle Tire in Michigan. The tires Costco sells are not Costco-specific models, which makes price comparisons easier. Costco, however, orders and stocks a very small number of models compared to the typical tire shop.

thurston howell iv

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Re: Advice on buying car tires
« Reply #34 on: November 04, 2013, 01:42:38 PM »
I have many cars (another story...) So, inevitably I've had to buy lots of tires.

My experience:

Discount tire direct for the bigger tires (ie: more expensive tires)   WAY cheaper than tirerack.

Wal-mart for the smaller cars (14" Douglas all season  on my Honda had 40k life and cost me $245 installed- lasted over 60k- Still had good tread but had some dry-rotting- Just replaced 2 weeks ago at Wal-mart- with Goodyear all season 60k life, cost me $265 out the door. (You can't beat that brand for the price anywhere.)

For my SUV, I found someone selling nearly new "take-offs" on craigslist. Tires retailed for some $300 a piece. IIRC, I scored the set for $400.


Mr.Macinstache

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Re: Advice on buying car tires
« Reply #35 on: November 04, 2013, 03:07:39 PM »

It's possible that the particular Michelins you mentioned are exclusive to Costco as they could have worked out a sales agreement for them. Much like companies make products just for Wal Mart.

Nope. Primacy MXV4 tires are available just about everywhere Michelins are sold. I got mine from a Belle Tire in Michigan. The tires Costco sells are not Costco-specific models, which makes price comparisons easier. Costco, however, orders and stocks a very small number of models compared to the typical tire shop.

It maybe the same model, but a different factory run. Like I said, brands do this all the time for big box stores who purchase limited stock in bulk.

Roots&Wings

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Re: Advice on buying car tires
« Reply #36 on: November 21, 2016, 07:23:16 AM »
Just wanted to mention how helpful this thread was! Shopped around and saved over $200 buying from Tire rack, which had some great specials this time of year (Discount Tire was considerably more and not a wide selection for my car).

Paid $315 for set of 4 Bridgestone Ecopias (70k mile warranty, 600AA tread wear), plus $66 for installation.

Tire rack customer service was also very helpful. One place told me that tires aren't safe after 5 years from the date of manufacture, and some places sell tires that are several years old. Industry guideline seems to be 10 years from date of manufacture and approximately 6 years of use (inspecting for wear, give or take).
« Last Edit: November 21, 2016, 08:09:02 AM by step-in-time »

NoStacheOhio

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Re: Advice on buying car tires
« Reply #37 on: November 21, 2016, 07:39:59 AM »
So how much is reasonable for tires to cost? I just got a quote for $410 ($360 for the tire, $100 of fees for installation and old tire disposal, and a $50 mail in rebate). Warranty is for 40,000 miles.

What size tires are we talking? At first glance, for a CTS, that seems like an OK price.