It’s my lunch hour today and I am sitting eating an incredible soup made out of a homemade stock and thinking about what women and queer folks want to know about cars. I settle on tires.
When I bought my last car a few months ago, the tires were worn and I needed to change them right away. I started thinking about my options, weighing the benefits and costs of different tires. I’m a Michelin certified tire specialist and trained by four other major tire brands.
If this was such an expensive and time consuming choice for me, I’m sure when you are looking for a tire, you wish you could have some knowledge on hand. I ended up buying uniroyal tires (which I discuss below).
Between catching nails in your tires, hitting potholes and curbs and driving over things that damage your tires the $$ can add up quickly.
New York State Inspection has two parts: safety and emissions. Worn tires can cause your car to fail the safety inspection besides for not being safe. I would say 1 out of 8 cars fail because of bad tires.
“But I just bought these tires!!!!???”
These are the next words out of so many customers’ mouths after I let them know they failed.
Amazingly every time the customer just got a great deal on the tires at a used tire shop. Here is the thing with used tires; they came from someone who didn’t want them (read: they were bad that why the last person needed new ones!). Buying used tires is not the equivalent to buying used clothing.
Used clothing can be washed and worn many times prior to it reaching the end of its life. With a used tire there is already a problem with the tire. It’s either worn on the inside (it’s hard to tell), it has cupping which is caused by improper balancing, it even could have a small leak in the tire.
The thing is, a used tire is a great temporary fix, but can end up costing you way more in the long run than just buying a new tire. A new tire can run you about $100-175 and lasts you an average of 5 years. A used tires runs about $50-75 and sometimes only lasts a few months.
Simple math right? If you buy a used tire every 6 months it will cost you $500 over the course of 5 years. A new tire will cost you about $100 over the same time period.
Tirerack.com is a great option when it comes to buying tires. Tire Rack offers road hazard with the purchase of tires, and by spending a few extra $$ you will be covered by this tire insurance in case of blowout or nail puncture. I like Tire Rack because the prices are very reasonable, and Road Hazard can be used at any shop. Some other options are Sears, Pep Boys, along with Firestone and other tire chains. When buying tires with Road Hazard be sure you think about all the places you will consider driving. Will the store you purchased the tires from be around those places?
Sticking with the same mechanic for all your repairs is something I will talk more about in future blog posts, but is worth mentioning now. If you decide to buy tires from Tire Rack they can be shipped to your regular mechanic who you have worked to build a relationship with. You get the benefit of road hazard protection and having someone familiar with your car.
Budget tires are not tires that are going to last on your car. Most off brand tires have a half life of a good quality tire from a known brand.
Brands to consider:
Michelin tires have the most comfortable ride and highest mileage warranty. This brand is great for the luxury cars, the long distance drivers and customers who want the quietest most comfortable ride possible. This is not the best tire for a car that does not do a lot of driving as it tends to dry rot in about four years.
Uniroyal are a brand of tires made by Michelin. This is a Michelin’s budget tire brand and I love it. These tires are backed by Michelin’s incredible customer service at a fabulous price point.
Continental has some good tires for sports cars (or cars with low profile sport tires) as well as the the average driver that wants a middle price tire with a good mileage warranty. I tend to lean toward the Pure/True Contact (sedan) and Cross Contact LX20 (SUV) tires in this brand.
Final thoughts: Tires are an investment. They are expensive and buying the wrong ones can cost you $$. You need to keep in mind the kind of driving you do, how much you drive and what kind of ride you are looking for. Speaking to a qualified adviser is immensely important. Do your research but combine this with the information given to you by someone with experience.
Maintain your new tires by doing a wheel alignment when you install them and then at least once a year after that. Rotate your tires every six months minimum.