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How Much Do New Tires Cost?

how much do new tires cost

Buying new tires for your car can be expensive, but if you plan ahead and do your research, it shouldn’t be difficult. A new set of tires can run anywhere from $60 to $200 per tire — multiply that by four, and you’re looking at quite an expense. Mostly, the price varies based on your wants and needs, as well as the vehicle’s type, size, make and model.

If you think you’re due for new tires in the near future, it can help to start saving. By saving for expenses like these, you can save in the long run by avoiding paying interest from a loan or credit account.

So, how much do new tires cost? Let’s find out! Here’s our complete guide to buying, paying for and maintaining your tires, as well as some top tire picks to get your search started.

Your guide to buying new tires

When you’re searching for new tires, you’ll probably have a few main questions come up. Here are a few of the most common, and their answers.

1. What size will I need?

When you start shopping for tires, you’ll notice that they come in all shapes, seasons and sizes. To find the right one for your vehicle, you can find the information encoded on your current tires’ sidewalls — the flat side of the tire that faces outward — or consult your car’s manual for a more straightforward answer. There, you’ll find information on the tire’s size, load index, speed rating and more.

2. Do I need season-specific tires?

For most cars and situations, a good set of all-weather tires is all you’ll need. If you live in a place where you need winter tires, you’re probably already well aware of what they are and how useful they can be. If you own a sports car that came with summer-only tires, you should probably consider that when replacing them. If either of those situations applies to you, consider that when you go to buy; however, our suggestions below will focus on all-weather options.

3. Should I buy used?

You might think that buying used is a better deal, but unlike buying a car, that’s not always the case with tires. When you buy used tires, it’s hard to tell whether or not they were taken care of and maintained properly. Tires see a lot of wear and tear throughout their lives, and tires that weren’t maintained properly could cause you more problems than they are worth.

4. Are the more expensive tires better?

Yes and no. According to Consumer Reports research, finding the value of a tire comes down to measuring the cost for every mile it can go — so even similarly-priced tires can have significantly different values due to their tread life. Keep this in mind as you make your purchase.

Ultimately, it really comes down to what you expect from tires — you’ll pay more for off-road durability, performance capabilities, and more — and how you intend to use them.

In the chart below, we’ve listed tires with their respective rating so that you can choose the highest-rated tire for your budget and needs.

Top all-season car tires

If all-season tires are for you, we’ve put together a few to consider. The following tires were rated by Consumer Reports on these factors: dry braking, wet braking, handling, hydroplaning, snow traction, ice braking, ride comfort, noise, rolling resistance and tested tread life in miles. (Prices are up to date as of May 2019.)

Here are the top three according to these tests.

Consumer Reports’ top 3 all-season car tires
Brand and model Cost Score (out of 82) Treadwear warranty Website
General Altimax RT43 (T) $87 70 Up to 75,000 miles General Tire
Michelin Defender T+H $122 67 Up to 80,000 miles Michelin
Continental TrueContact Tour $94 66 Up to 80,000 miles Continental

 

General Altimax RT43 (T): Designed to wear evenly and offer a quiet, smooth ride, this touring tire offers a generous warranty and good mileage for the money. The “T” in the name is the speed rating — this one is rated for 118 miles per hour.

Michelin Defender T+H: While slightly more expensive, this tire offers enhanced rain performance to prevent hydroplaning and technology for better grip, along with name-brand reliability.

Continental TrueContact Tour: Focused on fuel efficiency and long wear, this tire offers a comfortable ride at under $100.

Consumer Reports’ top 3 performance all-season car tires
Brand and model Cost Score (out of 82) Treadwear warranty Website
Michelin CrossClimate + $171 75 Up to 55,000 miles Michelin
Continental PureContact LS $128 71 Up to 70,000 miles Continental
General Altimax RT43 (V) $99 66 Up to 65,000 miles General Tire

 

Michelin CrossClimate +: With an emphasis on all-weather dependability, this is a solid choice for those living in a climate that gets a little bit of everything.

Continental PureContact LS: Focused on performance, this tire gets high marks for long wear and all-weather performance.

General Altimax RT43 (V): Another touring tire that makes for a smooth ride (with a slightly higher speed rating of 149 miles per hour, as opposed to the lower rated Altimax RT43 (T) listed above) and general dependability while staying under $100.

Consumer Reports’ top 3 all-season light truck & SUV tires
Brand and model Cost Score (out of 82) Treadwear warranty Website
Continental CrossContact LX20 EcoPlus $149 74 Up to 70,000 miles Continental
Michelin Premier LTX $181 74 Up to 60,000 miles Michelin
Firestone Destination LE 2 $146 72 Up to 60,000 miles Firestone

 

Continental CrossContact LX20 EcoPlus: Focused on long wear and increased fuel efficiency, these tires also offer a quiet ride for trucks.

Michelin Premier LTX: Excellent stopping distance on wet roads and hydroplane resistance makes this a solid — if not more expensive — option.

Firestone Destination LE 2: An all-weather tire for light to medium duty trucks, optimized for rain performance.

Consumer Reports’ top 3 all-season SUV tires
Brand and model Cost Score (out of 82) Treadwear warranty Website
Goodyear Assurance CS Fuel Max $133 70 Up to 65,000 miles Goodyear
Kumho Crugen Premium $101 68 Up to 60,000 miles Kumho
Bridgestone Dueler H/L 422 Ecopia $139 68 Up to 65,000 miles Bridgestone

 

Goodyear Assurance CS Fuel Max: Optimized for larger crossovers and SUVs, this Goodyear tire aims to save fuel and increase efficiency.

Kumho Crugen Premium: An SUV tire emphasizing comfort with a smooth ride and good wet-weather performance.

Bridgestone Dueler H/L 422 Ecopia: Bridgestone’s Ecopia tires are low rolling resistance to increase fuel efficiency. This tire is best for small to medium crossovers and SUVs.

Where to buy new tires

You’ve got a lot of options when it comes to where to buy your new set of tires. Consumer Reports put together a list of top stores from over 50,000 reader reports on their tire buying experience in 2016. Factors considered included cost per tire, price paid, selection offered, free perks, quality and time for installation, waiting area, ease of checkout, and ease of returns and exchanges. Here are Consumer Reports’ top picks:

Tire store Factors that received an ‘Excellent’ score Reader score (out of 90)
Costco
  • Pricing
  • Quality of installation
  • Returns and exchanges
90
Tirerack.com
  • Selection
  • Ease of checkout
90
Les Schwab Tire Centers
  • Sales service
  • Free perks
  • Quality of installation
  • Waiting area
  • Checkout ease
  • Returns and exchanges
90
Discount Tire
  • Sales service
  • Quality of installation
  • Waiting area
  • Checkout ease
90

Paying for your new tires

Buying new tires isn’t cheap, as we’ve seen above. With tires easily amounting to over $500 for a full set of four, you might have to borrow the money.

Financing option What is it? Who is this good for?
Personal loan A flexible loan used to fund anything, generally with a lower APR than a credit card. Those with a strong credit score who may need time to repay their funds without the need to put down collateral.
0% APR credit card A credit card offering a promotional 0% APR. An option for those with good credit who can repay their debt quickly.
Payday alternative loan Small loans offered by credit unions Credit union members who may not qualify for a lower rate elsewhere.

Personal loans

This funding option is a good alternative to putting the balance on a credit card. With APRs starting at 3.99%, a personal loan on the lower side of this spectrum would likely cost you less in interest than the average credit card APR. Personal loans with the lowest interest rates can be hard to qualify for; if your credit is hurting, you may only qualify for triple-digit rates, if at all.

Many lenders set higher minimum borrowing limits on personal loans, so some may not offer a $500 loan, so consider that in your search as well. Give your local credit union a try — they tend to approve lower credit scores — or go through a bank that you have a relationship with.

0 % APR credit card

Some cards offer a no-interest, promotional introductory rate when you first open a card which makes it an alluring option for your big purchase. No interest? Sounds like a great deal, right?

But, before making the purchase with a 0% APR credit card, check the fine print for the APR after the initial 0% and the amount of time you’ll have to pay it off before that interest kicks in, as it could be high — in fact, the Federal Reserve reported the average credit card’s APR at 16.9% during the first quarter of 2019. You’ll generally have about 12 to 15 months depending on the card to pay off the purchase before the full interest rate kicks in.

Payday Alternative Loans

Don’t let the word “payday” scare you off — we’re not suggesting you go to a payday lender. But if you’re struggling to qualify for a personal loan, a payday alternative loan, also called a PAL, may be a good option. These small loans are offered by federal credit unions.

A PAL generally come with borrowing limits between $200 to $1,000. They come with terms as long as 6 months with interest rates that are much lower than you may find on a payday loan.

Payday alternatives loans come with a maximum application fee of $20 — that’s much lower than you’d find with a payday loan. As long as you’ve been a member of the credit union for a month, you can get a PAL.

Maintaining your new tires

You just made a big investment in new tires. So what can you do to keep them smooth-riding and wearing well for thousands of miles to come?

There are a few routine maintenance considerations with new tires. You’ll want to keep up with balance and rotation every so often, and luckily, these services are often combined. Alignments are helpful to keep tire wear even and improve handling.

To properly take care of your new tires, you’ll need to keep up with routine maintenance. Here are a few common services, how often you’ll need them, and what they cost:

Service Frequency Cost
Tire rotation Every 6,000 to 8,000 miles Generally, this is a free service with an oil change or from the tire shop that sold them to you. Often, this is a warranty requirement — skipping this routine maintenance could void your warranty.
Balance Every 3,000 to 6,000 miles. Generally included with a rotation.
Alignment No set schedule, but recommended with new tire installation for even wear. $60 to $100

 

While you might be spending a bit on new tires, remember that you’re buying something that you’ll use and depend on every day for the next few years. There are a lot of options to choose from, so you’re sure to find one that meets your needs and budget. Once you’ve found the right tires, make them last for many years and miles to come with proper maintenance.

 

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