How to Buy Cheap Discount Car Tires Online and Save Money

Buying a set of new tires for a car is not for the faint of heart. Sure, buying a replacement tire now and then isn’t all that bad, especially if your car has really small tires. But when your car needs all four tires replaced at once, well, the expenses sure do add up. I bought my Mini Cooper S used last year, and even when I bought it I knew that the tires weren’t going to last all that long for two reasons:

  1. The treads on the front set are different than the rear set, meaning it doesn’t track all that well
  2. They are run-flat tires, which I absolutely hate because, well, I actually like driving and would rather get a flat than drive on them anymore

While the tread is actually getting really worn down and would need replacing soon anyway, those are the two main reasons I bought four new tires last week. Because I am new to my neighborhood, I got a few recommendations of some tire places and went to visit them and get estimates. For my size tires, I was looking at somewhere in the neighborhood of $680-$750, including mounting, balancing, and disposal of old tires. Yikes! (This is one of those times when owning a car pretty much sucks) That’s a lot of dough for new tires, so I decided to turn my attention to online tire shops to see what they had to offer, thinking I could just order tires and have them put on by a local guy here. I am so thankful I took the time to do so before agreeing to the guy down the street!

I headed over to what is probably the most well-known of online tire stores, Tire Rack. A friend of mine swears by them but I had never bought from them before. So I put in my car’s year, make, model, and tire size, and the website provided me with a list of what tires would fit on my car. I selected a few of them that I was interested in, compared their stats and reviews, and then finally decided on a set of Yokohamas. Priced at $103 each, my total came to $412 for all four tires, which was several hundred dollars less than the tire shops in my neighborhood for the same tires! Adding in shipping (but no tax), my total came to $465 — not too shabby. But then came the really cool part…

They asked me if I wanted them shipped directly to a local installer.

Sweet! I wouldn’t have to take delivery of four gigantic tires here at my house and then try to fit them inside the Mini. They gave me several choices of local tire shops, complete with reviews/recommendations from other Tire Rack customers. They even provided the cost that I would be charged by each company to mount and balance my new tires. Each tire would be $18.50 for mounting, balancing, and disposal, coming out to a total of $74. Not bad at all! So I proceeded to select the guy with the best rating closest to my house and completed my transaction. Adding up all the expenses for these new tires from Tire Rack gives me a grand total of $539, or a solid savings of at least $141 if not more.

While $539 is still a big expense, it sure sounds better than how much I thought I was initially going to have to spend. If you are (or will be) in the market for new tires for your car, I recommend you check out some online shops to see how their prices compare to shops near you, as it could save you a substantial amount of money.

Do you have a favorite company to buy tires from? What would your advice be to others looking for new tires? Please be sure to let us all know in the comments!

(photo credit: Milestoned)

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Comments (9)

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  1. Andy says:

    Did you have to let the shop where you were sending the tires know that you were sending your tires to them? Or does Tire Rack do that for you? I think it would be weird for the shop to have four tires show up out of the blue.

  2. Andy Hough says:

    I just bought tires a couple weeks ago and was bummed that I might have spent too much money. After looking at the Tire Rack site it looks like their prices are about the same as I paid. I will still check online in the future though.

  3. Melissa says:

    I’ve used Tire Rack in the past and the only I thing I can add to augment this is be sure to go through Ebates.com for some cool cash back on the purchase.

    The next best thing is what I just did. I needed a full set so after researching via my fav Consumer Reports and the good ol internet for reviews and prices, I then went to my Sams Club. Jackpot! I saved more money 1. they were less overall 2. free mounting and balance (that adds up) 3. no shipping and 4. free rotation every 6-8K miles so long as i’m a member and roadside assistance. I dropped off car, shopped and 45 minutes later I left!

  4. David says:

    Thanks for the article! I’ll check out TireRack.com

  5. David says:

    Andy – the website lets you pick from local installers, and they have reviews for each. Tire Rack lets your chosen installer know the tires are coming, and the installer contacts you when they are there and ready to be put on.

  6. Andy says:

    Awesome, thanks. I’ll need new tires this year so I’ll look into this.

  7. waldo says:

    I had nothing but trouble with tirerack. Multiple rounds of defective merchandise, and it took two months to get a refund.

  8. M says:

    I have a MINI as well and have also used Tire Rack. I found that due to the size of the tires I need, the local shops would always need to order my size, which would typically take a day or two anyway. I’ve had very good experiences with Tire Rack.

  9. Ken says:

    Treadepot.com, Discount Tire and Tire Rack all match prices also, so check around.
    I myself use Tread Depot since to me they always have the cheapest shipping and their warehouse is only 250 miles away so 2 days is the longest I have waited on tires in stock.