Who doesn’t want the best quality and value for the lowest price? And whether we are shopping for something exotic such as a flawless 3-carat diamond for that special someone or for something as mundane as tires for the family car, we all want to be assured that we are spending our money wisely. No one wants to overspend.
What Do They Mean By Cheap Tires?“Cheap” can mean a good price for a specific tire, or it can mean a low price for a tire that has fewer features and benefits. For example, getting something cheap may mean an 80,000 mile Michelin all-season radial for $120 when everyone else is asking $160 for it. Or, a cheap price may be $50 for a tire that may come with no tread life warranty, may not have a very good all-season tread compound, and may ride like a rock. As long as you can define what you mean by cheap tires, then you will know if you are getting something that fits your needs.
Tire Prices and AvailabilityThe passenger and light truck tire market is extremely competitive. One reason is that there are many outlets selling tires, and that is good for you, the consumer, when it comes to tire prices. In years past your father bought his tires from a “service station.” Tires are now available, in no particular order, from mail-order warehouses, wholesale “clubs,” new car dealers, mass marketers, independent tire dealers, “big box” tire and service chains often owned by foreign tire manufacturers, and outlets owned or franchised by major tire manufacturers. Tires also are available at a dwindling number of “Mom and Pop” shops, a leftover from oil company service station days. There are even some muffler shops that offer a limited selection of tires.
Car Tires, Truck Tires, SUV TiresSo how do you choose where to buy your car tires – or truck tires or SUV tires? Tire manufacturers spend a lot of money studying how and why people buy tires. Their research has shown that while some consumers will research their tire purchase online and utilize resources such as Consumer Reports magazine’s ratings, most of us don’t have the time or energy to do that, and will rely on the recommendations of the retailer. That being the case, it becomes very important to choose wisely where you buy. The mail-order warehouse that looks so attractive online cannot repair your flat tire or rotate, rebalance, or align your new tires. And some of the other suppliers mentioned above may find it difficult to schedule convenient appointments for minor repairs or problems. They also may not stock a good selection of brands and sizes, and they may have an inexperienced staff for a variety of reasons.
Relationships CountUsually it is best to consolidate your vehicle service needs under one roof. That means not only tires, but your oil changes, brakes, batteries, fluid exchanges, alignments and other repairs and service are done by people who know you and have a complete record of your vehicle’s service history. When you develop a relationship with the professionals at your service garage, everything becomes a little easier. Over time you will trust them as you do your doctor, relying on their expertise and integrity to give you the information you need to help you decide what is best for you.
Independent Tire DealersThere are growing numbers of independent tire dealers in this country who have found their niche by focusing on customer service and employing highly-trained career professionals. These independent dealers have an advantage over manufacturers’ outlets or franchisees because they deal with most if not all of the major tire brands, and therefore can offer the best selection of features and tire prices. Their technicians have access to the same factory information regarding servicing as the auto dealers, and are trained to diagnose and repair every brand of vehicle on the road. They have to be good, because they are not selling televisions or clothing or cars as a revenue source.
Wow! Did I Hear Guaranteed Discount Tires?Independent tire dealers are very competitive (again, good for you, the consumer) and some will even shop the competition in order to guarantee the lowest prices on tires and repairs. They want your business and earn your trust and loyalty by making sure you are satisfied every time you visit.
Go Shopping Online for Discount TiresYou can find much useful information on independent tire dealers’ Web sites, including tire prices, warranties, and service information. Some sites will even allow you to download money-saving coupon and/or schedule appointments online. Also, it’s easy to Google tire and service information if you have the time.