Finding a balance with the pros and cons
With the holidays approaching, you’ve no doubt seen various deals for online tire retailers. You’re in the market for a new set, and you’re thinking, “Is it really a good idea to order wheels or tires online?” In short, yes.
Buying tires online makes sense for a variety of reasons: convenience and ease of use being two of the top factors. Plus, many times ordering online can save you some money.
- Generally, tire costs online are lower than those you might find at your local dealership, especially during year-end or seasonal deals.
- Online tire buyers have the ability to cross-shop a diverse selection of brands, types, and sizes. Most local tire shops simply can’t stock enough rubber to fit every make and model.
- Top online tire websites provide reviews right at your fingertips, both from consumers and industry experts.
- It isn’t an instant process. Shipping will take a few days and shipping costs can be high.
- Unless you’re going to mount and balance them yourself, you will still need to head over to a mechanic and have your tires fitted.
However, tire sites are privy to these downsides and they want to help. Sites like Tirerack.com even offer complete tire and wheel packages, which arrive at your home already mounted and balanced.
So What Do I Check? Before you punch in those credit card digits, make sure you’re buying the right sized tires for your wheels. Online tire retailers are generally very accurate in pinpointing the size you need based on make, model, and trim information, but a good look at what’s currently on your car doesn’t hurt. It isn’t uncommon for cars to ship from the factory with two, three, or sometimes even four variations in wheel sizes.
Add up the costs of everything before you purchase. Further, call your local tire shop and check their inventory based on what you’ve found to see what their grand total will be. And as always, when buying any type of tire, get what suits your day-to-day needs. Mud tires on a daily driver might not be the best choice, nor are low rolling resistance tires if you live in an area that gets pounded with heavy snowfall. There is no ‘perfect’ way to buy tires, but if you haven’t purchased tires online – you ought to at least give it a try.