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Buy Cheap Tires Online: New & Used, All-Terrain, Rims, Off Road Mud

Rachel Carey
Financial Guru
Updated: 6/2019
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There are lots of different ways that using the internet can help you save money on purchases. One of the latest trends in online money-saving retail is to buy tires online. Many people don’t think of tires as a good commodity to purchase online, but there’s no reason for that to be the case. You can get the same great tire selection online, (or even better) as you could in your local tire shop.

Table of Contents

Overview

That’s why we put together this helpful guide. We’ve crafted a checklist for you to go through when you start buying tires online. We’ll also explain how to pick the best tires, how to get the best price, and what to do with your tires once you’ve made your purchase. Use the information in this guide to save money while making sure your drive is safe and smooth.

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Checklist for Buying Tires Online

Any kind of change can be daunting. Buying tires online instead of buying them from a store is no different. This checklist will help you make sure you’ve got all your bases covered so you can be confident in your tire purchase.

Determine Your Tire Size

The first thing you need to do is get your tire size. For most people, this will be a simple process. Most retailers have a place on their site where you can enter your car’s make and model. The site will use this information to determine what size tires you need.

If you’ve made modifications to your car or truck that require larger or smaller tires, then this isn’t going to be an option for you. Instead, you should check the tires that are currently on your car. You can find the size of the tire, along with other important information, on the outside tire wall. Record this information and use it for your tire search.

Buying Tires Online

Choose Your Tire

There are lots of different tire options available. You should carefully consider what you do and don’t like about the way your car currently handles. You should also make sure to consider the different driving conditions that you’re most likely to face.

For example, if you are moving from a place with a warm climate to an area with a more intense winter, then you may want to consider all-weather tires or even non-slick tires. These will make it much easier to get around when the roads get snowy and icy. In the same way, if you’re going to do a lot of driving on remote roads, then you may want to get puncture-proof tires to minimize the odds of a flat or breakdown when you’re a long way from help.

Another important element to take into account is the expected life of your tires. If you change your tires seasonally, then getting a cheaper tire that isn’t guaranteed for as many miles may be a good option. However, if you use the same set of tires year-round, then you should opt for higher mileage tires to ensure you get the best value without sacrificing quality.

Scout Retailers

Buying Tires Online

Once you know what size and type of tires you’re looking for, you’ll need to decide what sites you want to shop on. We recommend reading customer reviews on trusted third-party websites. This will help ensure that you know what kind of business you’re getting involved in. It will prevent you from falling prey to scams and let you know ahead of time if you should expect things like shipping delays, bad customer service, etc.

Another reason it’s important to scout out retailers is to familiarize yourself with each site’s policies to make sure you’re getting the best deal. Check for things like the cost of shipping, free shipping, and bundle deals on sets of 2 and 4 tires. These options will let you save money and show you the real cost you should expect to pay.

Find the Best Price

Once you’ve found a selection of reputable online tire dealers, you just need to find the best price. Search the different sites you’ve selected and compare the prices they offer on the tires you need. Make sure to take things like shipping into account, as tires are rather heavy, and shipping costs could wipe out any savings you get from buying your tires online.

Another thing to look for is deals on sets of tires. Most retailers will offer deals that let you save money when you buy tires as a set of two or a set of four. Even if you only need two tires at the moment, buying a set of four can save you money in the long run, as you’ll have replacement tires on hand the next time you need new tires. Additionally, buying a set of four tires when you only need two will allow you to keep a full-sized spare in your trunk, should you so desire.

Buying Tires Online

Local Tire Installers

If you’ve got the tools, equipment, and know-how to install your own tires, then you’re pretty much set at this point. However, many people lack the required tools and/or training needed to change tires and make sure they’re properly adjusted and balanced. For folks in this situation, you’ll need to find a local tire installer.

Any local mechanic should be able to install your tires for you. That’s both good and bad. It’s good because you’ll have a huge range of options which means you can ensure you’re getting the best deal and best service. It’s bad because it means you’ll have to go through the different options and make a choice.

That’s why we recommend checking out local review sites and other sources of information about different mechanics. You should also look for mechanics that offer deals on tire installation. Make sure any reviews you check out are hosted on trusted, third-party websites so you can know that they’re accurate and aren’t merely marketing material.

Once you’ve made your choice, call and schedule an appointment. Getting new tires put on your car shouldn’t take very long at all, usually an hour or less, so you shouldn’t need to worry about alternative arrangements or rental cars. If you make an appointment ahead of time it should be even faster, as the mechanic knows you’re on your way and will be ready for you.

Drive Safe

The last step is to drive safe and enjoy your new tires! Make sure you pay close attention to the sound and feel of your car for the first couple of days after your tires get installed. Strange sounds, steering drift, or other peculiarities could be a sign that something’s wrong with the tire or the installation. Getting on top of this situation as soon as possible is a smart move, as it ensures your tires and the installation will still be covered by warranty.

How to Pick the Best Tire

Now that you know the steps to buying a tire online, it’s time to figure out how to pick the best tire. Getting the right tire for your car is extremely important. Tires have an extremely important role to play in both the safety and comfort of your car’s ride. When it comes to picking the best tire, you have a few options.

Original Equipment Tires Online

One of the easiest choices to make is to purchase original equipment tires, or OE tires. This means that you’re buying the exact same type of tires that your car came with. This is a good option for people that are happy with the ride and performance they currently get from their car. Manufacturers put a lot of thought and effort into designing the ride you get from a car, so picking OE equipment lets you take advantage of all that research and engineering.

Buying Tires Online

Performance Tires

Another option you might want to consider is high-performance tires. These tires are designed for speed and performance. They are much more grippy than most OE tires, which means you can accelerate quickly and stop on a dime. This can make the ride in your car a much more exhilarating experience, allowing you to make sharper turns and quicker starts.

Weather-Specific Tires

Another tire option is weather-specific tires. These come in lots of different types. Summer tires are designed to be used in the spring, fall, and summer. They work well on damp roads and dry roads. However, these tires aren’t the best for winter. Their softer rubber, which gives them the grip qualities that make them so enjoyable, gets harder in the cold. That makes them less effective on the road in the winter.

You can also get winter or snow tires. These tires are designed to handle the extreme cold and winter weather that causes problems for summer tires. The specialized rubber used in these tires doesn’t stiffen in the cold. That means you’ll get great traction in the snow, ice, and slush. As a result, they’re a much safer choice for people that live in parts of the country that experience extreme winter weather.

Terrain Tires

A final type of tires that you might want to consider are those designed for different types of terrain. For example, all-terrain tires are designed to traverse a wide variety of off-road, cross country conditions. They’re a great option for people that frequently need to go off road around their property, their work, or just like off road driving for fun.

One specialized type of terrain tire is a mud terrain tire. These are designed to handle extremely soft surfaces like deep mud and sad. They have extremely deep tread patterns to help you get traction in rugged, muddy conditions. However, they are much louder on the road than standard tires, and the drive they offer on normal roads isn’t as smooth as you might expect.

Getting the Best Price on Online Tires

Shopping online for tires is convenient, but it’s also a great way to save money. That means you’ll want to ensure you’re getting the best price on your online tires. One thing to consider is the type of tire you’re looking for.

For example, if you’re looking for a good price on winter or snow tires, then picking a retailer that’s based in areas that get lots of snow is a good idea. These companies are more likely to have a lower price on these tires because they’re in much higher demand where the retailers are located. That means they’ll have more of these tires in stock, and will probably also have a better deal with tire manufacturers because of the quantity of snow tires they sell.

You also need to look at the shipping information for the online tires you’re considering. A tire that’s $25 cheaper at a site that charges you full price for shipping probably won’t actually be a better deal. That’s because shipping heavy objects like tires can get expensive. Don’t be afraid to move your purchase all the way to the last step to see what the final price will be before you make a final decision on where you buy your tires online.

Go for Local Installation

The last thing you should consider is your local installation options. Most people don’t have the tools, know-how, and/or time to install their own tires properly. After all, it’s more complex than you might think. The tires need to be balanced. They need to be installed in a way that doesn’t mess with your car’s alignment, and you need to make sure all of the different parts of your brakes are properly aligned to your tires.

Local installation is a great option to solve these issues. Any competent mechanic should be able to install your tires for you. If you have a preferred mechanic already, then you should contact them to ask about pricing. If you don’t have a mechanic yet, then this can be an incentive to find one that you can trust. Third-party review sites are a great place to look to see what other people have to say about the different mechanics in your area. Take this advice into consideration, pick a mechanic, get your new tires installed, and enjoy your safe, smooth ride.

FAQ

General Questions About Buying Tires Online

This section covers some of the general questions you might have about tires and buying them online. Use this information to get a good basis of understanding for other questions.

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What do the numbers on tires mean?

The numbers on the tires tell the tire size, type, best air pressure, and other information that’s used to help you or your mechanic know what kinds of tires you need.

What does speed rating mean on tires?

The speed rating on tires indicates the speeds that the tires are tested to safely travel at. Above this speed you may encounter more wear and less performance from your tires.

How often should you get new tires?

It depends on the kind of tires you have, but most tires are designed to last between 25,000 and 50,000 miles.

How to read date code on tires?

The date code is the last four digits of the DOT code. The first two digits are the week the tire was made, and the last two digits are the year.

How long can you drive on bald tires?

It’s not advisable to drive on bald tires for any period of time. If your tires have no grip, then you’re putting yourself and others at risk of an accident.

What does psi stand for in tires?

PSI on tires stands for Pounds Per Square Inch. This is a measurement of the air pressure in your tire. The number on the side of the tire tells you what your air pressure should be.

Should new tires go on front or back?

New tires should go on whichever tires are powered by your engine. That’s the front in front-wheeled drive cars and the back in rear wheel drive cars. It’s also important that you replace the most worn tires and rotate the ones you currently have to ensure the safest ride.

What are the best tires for my car?

The best way to determine the best tires for your car is to enter your car’s information into an online tire retailer’s site. This will tell you what kind of tires you need.

What does the t or h mean on tires?

T and H are speed ratings for your tire. T means the tires have a maximum speed of 118mph. H means the tires have a maximum speed of 130mph. 

Questions About Specific Types of Tires

We’ll answer your questions about specific types of tires in this section.

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Are all season tires good for snow?

Yes, all season tires are good for snow. They’re not as good as winter or snow tires, but they also don’t need to be changed out in the spring.

Can you replace run flat tires with regular tires on a BMW?

You can, but you should talk to your BMW dealership to ensure you’re getting the right kind of tires for your car.

How long do run flat tires last?

You can generally expect run flat tires to wear out about 6,000 miles earlier than conventional tires.

What are the best all season tires?

That depends on what kind of car you have. You should check with online tire stores to search your vehicle if you want to find the best tires for your car.

What size chains do I need for my tires?

You can find out what size chains you need based on the first three numbers grouped together. The two numbers after the dash and before the R will tell you the tire width to height, which will tell you what size chains you need.

Questions About Tire Cost

This section answers your questions about the costs associated with tires.

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How much does it cost to rotate tires?

Depending on where you take your car, and other factors, you should expect to pay between $24 and $120 to get your tires rotated.

How much does Walmart charge to install tires?

Walmart will install your new tires at a rate of $12 per tire. You may also get a free installation deal if you buy your tires at Walmart.

How much to mount and balance tires?

Mounting and balancing tires generally costs between $13 and $45 per tire, depending on other factors in your transaction.

How much does it cost to balance tires?

Generally, you should expect to pay around $40 to get your tires balance, with a price range going from $15 to $75.

How much do 4 new tires cost?

That depends on the type of tires, whether you get new or used tires, and so on. You can usually get a better deal online than in a brick and mortar store.

Care and Maintenance for Tires

There are lots of questions about caring for their tires. We’ll answer some of the most popular ones here.

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How often should you rotate your tires?

Most cars will recommend a rotation schedule in the owners manual. Generally, you should rotate tires every 6 months or 6,000 miles.

How to let air out of tires?

You can let all the air out of tires by using a pressure gauge, the same tool you use to check the air in the tires. This releases the valve that holds the air in.

How to tell if you need new tires?

The best way to tell if you need new tires is by checking how worn the treads are. You can use a penny to see if the treads are worn down enough to warrant replacement.

What psi should my tires be at?

You should check the wall of your tire to find out what PSI it should be at. Each tire has a different recommended PSI.

What size tires are on my car?

Online tire retailers can help you know what size tires are on your car. You just need to enter your car’s information and you’ll get an answer.

How many miles are tires good for?

That depends on the type of tire. Most tires are intended to last between 25,000 and 50,000 miles, but specialized tires, like run flat tires, may wear out faster.

How much air should be in my tires?

You can find out how much air should be in your tires by checking the side of the tire. There will be a number next to the letters PSI. That shows what the pounds per square inch should be in your tires.

Can you mix air and nitrogen in tires?

Yes, you won’t get all of the benefits of a nitrogen filled tire, but you can mix air and nitrogen in your tires.

How to keep tires from dry rotting?

The best way to prevent your tires from rotting is to make sure they’re stored indoors and aren’t exposed to direct sunlight, as UV rays and oxygen can cause them to rot.

Where can I get air in my tires?

You can almost always get air in your tires at your local gas station. Nearly every gas station has an air pump.

Do I need an alignment after replacing tires?

It’s a good idea to have your alignment checked after you replace your tires. This will tell you if you need an alignment or not.

What causes tires to wear on the inside?

The most common cause of wear on the inside of a tire is an improper alignment or improper air pressure in your tire.

Should I inflate my tires in cold weather?

That depends on how low your tires are. The pressure will go down inside your tires when the weather is colder. If the weather is going to be cold for a while, then adding air might be a good idea.

How to check tires with a penny?

You can check your tires with a penny by putting the penny in the treads with Lincoln’s head pointed down. If you can see all of the head, then your tires probably need to be replaced.

How to check air pressure in tires?

The best way to check air pressure in tires is with a tire pressure gauge. You may already have one in your glovebox. There’s also almost always a pressure gauge at air stations at gas stations.

What does it mean to balance tires?

Balancing tires means adding or removing weight from the tires so that they all weigh the same. This helps keep your ride smooth and allows you to avoid bumps and noises.

Other Tire Questions

This section covers tire questions that don’t fit into our other categories. Check here if you can’t find your question elsewhere.

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How long does it take to rotate tires?

Depending on the specific situation, you should expect a tire rotation to take from 15 minutes to 1 hour.

Do I need alignment with new tires?

Possibly. It’s a good idea to get your alignment checked when you get new tires so you can know if you need to get your car realigned or not.

How long should tires last on a brand-new car?

That depends on what kind of tires they are. Generally, tires should last between 25,000 and 50,000 miles, but some tires may have a shorter expected life, such as run-flat tires.

How to tell if tires are directional?

You can see if a tire is directional by checking the side wall. If there is a ROTATION indicator, then your tires are directional.                                                               

What does load index mean on tires?

The index load is a measurement used to tell how much of a load a specific type of tire can support. The higher the number, the greater the load it can carry.

Do snow chains go on front or rear tires?

It depends. Snow chains go on the tires that drive your car. That’s the front in a front wheel drive car, and the rear in a rear wheel drive car.

When is the best time to buy tires?

You can usually get the best prices on tires in October and April, as these are the seasons where people are most likely to want new tires.

Can I use h rated tires instead of v?

You can, but you should try to stick to the manufacturer’s recommendations as much as possible.

How to get rid of old tires?

The best way to get rid of old tires is to recycle them. You can find a tire recycler at using the tool at Earth911.com.

Do you need a Costco membership to buy tires?

Yes, Costco requires a Costco membership to purchase tires at the store.

Rachel Carey

Rachel Carey

Financial Guru

Rachel is dedicated to helping individuals and families boost their budgets so they can enjoy the lifestyle they deserve. Rachel graduated with a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences. She’s a prolific finance writer, producing tons of articles on different aspects of personal and family budget management.

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