If you’ve been thinking about how to buy tires online I have some thoughts about what you need to know so you can make the right choice as to whether or not you should buy tires online.
You can save some serious money buying tires online if you do it right. But there are pro’s and con’s to using an online retailer as opposed to buying locally. For example:
• Price – you can save some serious money depending on the type of tire you’re looking for. High performance summer tires for a high end sports car or luxury automobile is where you can save big compared to buying locally.
• You can get almost any tire you want that isn’t available locally.
• Warranty issues are a hassle compared to dealing with a local shop.
There is a degree of gambling if you buy online, but you can win big if you do your homework. One exception to this is if you live in a state where there is a Discount Tire store close by. You order from their website and get them to match the cheapest verifiable price you can find and then if there’s a warranty problem you just drive down to the store and throw the freaking tire through the front window. Right? Isn’t that the commercial I see on TV at night?
Tiremonkey.com is a very young company, only in business since 2006 and based out of North Carolina. They claim they can offer the best prices because they have great relationships with local tire distributors all over the country and a large installer network with guaranteed installation prices to refer people to that buy their tires.
I must say, I checked their installers for a southern Ca. zip code and the selection and labor prices were pretty impressive. The only thing I would have liked to seen was ratings of each installer like they do at Tirerack.
Tires-Easy.comonly shows 1 installer in the same area that other websites show more that 4 and the listing didn’t show any break down in cost to mount and balance like the other sites did. But don’t let that hold you back from doing business with them.
Because Tires-Easy.com is an international company that sells tires both here and in Europe. They sell tires in every category from ATV’s to RV’s to tires for diesel trucks. Real diesel trucks, like Peter Bilt. Plus they handle all the passenger car and light truck inventory.
Their installer network is lacking, but if you need a specialty tire that none of the others carry, Tires-Easy is definitely worth a look.
Tire Rack has also been in business a long time. They were the innovators of selling tires mail order starting back in 1979. They were also the first ones to sell tires online with their first website in 96.
Some of the brick and motor dealers view them as whores, but the reality is they have changed the way a lot of people buy tires. Where they really shine is selling super high performance tires at rock bottom prices compared to local dealers. This is where you can save some serious cash when compared to buying locally.
For the most part local dealers just can’t compete with Tirerack because they don’t do the volume TR does. And when a tire dealer does serious volume, they get serious rebates from the tire manufacturers. This is where TR really makes their money I suspect.
They have a huge installer network that you can drop ship your tires, shocks, brakes and any other thing TR sells to have installed. Their installers also have set prices you can see from Tireracks site. Plus they’re the only installers that have ratings from customers who had tires installed so you can see how other customers felt about dealing with the installer.
Who has the best installer network?
As a comparison, I entered the 92627 zip code into locate an installer box at each of the above websites and Tirerack had the most installers in that area at the time of this article.
What Would I Do?
Who would I go with? Depends. If I lived in a state that has a Discount Tire store near me, I’m buying from them. For a couple of reasons:
1. I like supporting local business
2. If there’s a problem they’ll take care of it
3. They’ll price match
My next choice is Tirerack if I can’t make the deal I want with Discount or they don’t offer the tire I want. Then it would be Tires-Easy or Tiremonkey depending on price.
And, you may not have thought about this, you can use any of the installers listed at any of the websites. It doesn’t matter where you bought the tires from. So let’s say you found an installer on the Tirerack website but they don’t have the tire you want but DiscountTireDirect.com does, you can set it up with the installer to install anyone’s tires you bought.
What If I Don’t Know A Thing About Tires? How Do I Find The Right Tire For My Vehicle?
I would start with Tire Rack’s Tire Decision Guide: You can find the tire performance category that’s best for your vehicle and the roads you drive on. It asks you a series of questions about how you drive and what kind of environments etc. so it knows what tires to recommend to you to best fit your style and conditions.
How Do I Know The Tire Recommended Is A Good Tire?
Read about 5 pages of reviews to get a real sense about what the average owner of this tire thinks about it. Are the comments mostly positive? Yes, then chances are you’ll be OK if you buy this tire. My rule of thumb is 80/20. If 80 percent of the reviewers say they like the tire, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a good tire.
If over 20 percent of the reviews are negative, choose another tire from those recommended by the decision guide. If you still don’t feel comfortable about the tire, Google the tire name + “review” and see what others sources around the net are saying about that tire. Unfortunately there are a lot of reviews online that are written with the only goal in mind to sell you a product. Some writers are very skilled at making a crappy tire sound like a good tire. If you’re still not sure about what to tire to buy, keep reading reviews until you are. Eventually you will come to the right decision if you read enough reviews about the tire you’re interested in buying online.