What Is the Best Time of Year to Buy New Tires?
It may be time to upgrade this key car part
Some experts say fall is the best time of year to find deals on tires, but it's difficult to find the hard data to support such a black-and-white conclusion. This purchase could cost between $70 and $200 per tire, which can add up if you need to replace all four.
At the time of writing, Firestone Complete Auto Care had a deal for $70 off four tires, while Pep Boys offered customers a deal to buy three tires and get the fourth free. In some areas, tires might be discounted even further at the local auto shop's Black Friday sale in November, or a tire manufacturer could decide to start a sale for winter tires in the off-season, like on a random day in June.
In reality, the best time to find tires is before you need them—and when you can shop around to find the best deal.
According to the National Highway Safety Administration, tire manufacturers often recommend drivers buy new tires after six to 10 years.
Buy Tires Before You Need Them
If you are caught on the side of the road with a flat tire, you might pay any price to get on the road again. It's always a good idea to have a spare tire in your vehicle (and know how to get it changed!) to prevent emergencies.
But before something like that happens, there are steps you can take to make sure you're always getting the most efficient use out of your tires. Learn how to inspect the tread, ensure your tires are properly inflated, and take your vehicle in for a regular car alignment, during which they'll make sure your tires are in good condition and working well.
Well-maintained tires not only last longer, but they also help you drive more efficiently, which can save you money with every mile.
Best Time to Buy Tires for Winter
In most places, winter brings a host of weather that can lead to tougher driving conditions. Rain, snow, hail, ice, and even strong winds can make driving difficult, and you don't want to be caught on the road in inclement weather with bad tires.
Make sure you check your tires and ensure they are in good condition well before the season changes. If you need new ones, it's better to beat the rush of shoppers going in last-minute, both for your wallet and your peace of mind during the shopping experience. If you wait too long, the tires you want (and the most reasonably priced ones) might all have been purchased already.
In most places, all-season tires are more than sufficient. But if you live in an area where icy roads are common during the colder months, or you live in an area where snow is often left unplowed, you should consider buying special winter or snow tires. These tires are designed to help you grip slippery roads to prevent sliding in a way that could lead to an accident. Just be aware that these tires wear through quickly, and be sure to check them frequently.
Ask About the Extras
Getting the best price on tires requires knowing how the game is played. Just like with most other large purchases, like buying or maintaining a vehicle, there are always extra costs not included in the sticker price.
Remember that unless you're a trained mechanic, once you buy the tires themselves, you'll need to pay someone to mount and install them correctly, balance them, and properly dispose of your old tires. You'll also have to pay any state and local taxes. If you're shopping in person, you might also have other car repairs or new parts suggested, along with various warranties.
It often pays to have a good relationship with a reputable mechanic whom you know and trust. He can assure you that you're getting a good deal on the service your car needs and will likely also be able to recommend local and online options for reasonably priced tires.
Try Shopping for Tires Online
Online shopping covers everything these days, including buying tires. You might find great deals from traditional tire manufacturers like Goodyear, or online marketplaces like Tire Rack, Discount Tire Direct, and Online Tires. You can even buy tires on Amazon. Big-box discount stores that you may regularly shop at like Costco and Sam's Club often have online deals as well, especially if you're looking to buy a full new set of tires. For example, Sam’s Club ran a deal in November 2019 for $80 off a set of four tires. Keep in mind that you may have to pay for shipping, but you could end up saving on the cost per tire depending on where you live and what type of tires you need.
If you already bought tires, but find a better deal online for the same brand, ask the website if it offers a rebate to help you get some money back.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, the best time to buy tires is when they go on sale. This may be in the fall before the winter sets in, or it could be on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or even Prime Day in July. Keep an eye out for special coupons and sales, don’t be afraid to look online and ask for a rebate, and save even more by keeping up with proper tire maintenance.
Angie's List. "How Much Do Tires Cost?," Accessed Nov. 22, 2019.