You hop in your car, back out of your driveway, and hear an odd dragging sound on the pavement beneath your tires. Ignoring it, you begin to drive off – and notice that your steering wheel is almost impossible to turn. Pulling over and stepping out of your car to investigate, you find that one of your tires has gone mysteriously flat overnight. Dollar signs begin to float before your vision as you ponder just how much a tire replacement costs. What you’ll pay out-of-pocket is entirely determined by what kind of tire you need and what kind of vehicle you drive.
Here’s what you need to consider when comparing the cost of new tires:
1. Tire Size and Vehicle Make
As anyone who’s ever visited a tire shop can attest, tires come in all shapes, sizes and prices. Standard economy cars and sedans are usually the cheapest to replace, running anywhere from $50 to $75 each on average. If you drive a sporty car or a large SUV, those prices can jump significantly higher and may cost you anywhere from $100 to $300 apiece, sometimes even higher.
Unfortunately, you can’t just install cheap sedan tires on a sports car, just as you can’t install passenger vehicles on a large pickup truck. Your car’s rim size, wheel-well space and suspension all require specific sized tires that vehicle manufacturers strongly recommend you stick with if you don’t want to wind up with serious damage to your car’s inner workings. Your best bet to determining exact cost is to contact a local auto mechanic with your exact tire size and get a price estimate.
Depending on what your manufacturer recommends, you could even end up spending several hundred dollars on a single tire. A cursory search for a few vehicles gives us this range of prices – note this is approximate cost range per tire, and this is only an estimate for the tire itself – not the installation.
2. Cost of Installation
Fortunately for you, few tire and auto service centers make a killing from installing car tires. Most of their income comes by way of more detailed work. That’s not to say that replacing a tire is something that just anyone can do. A fully capable auto repair shop should be equipped with expensive machinery necessary to remove your old tire from its rim and the installation of its replacement. In addition to that, there are balancing machines that ensure your tire spins smoothly on the road. But the actual physical act of replacing a single tire isn’t that time consuming. Therefore most shops only tack on a minimal charge.
For installation and balancing, you can expect to pay anywhere from $20 to $35 per tire. By taking your vehicle into a wholesale club store like Costco, you can actually get out the door for even less. And in most cases, the costs include free rotation services and a road-hazard warranty to offer protection against future flats and accidental damage.
3. Road Hazard and Mileage Warranties
Another cost factor associated with replacing your tire are the warranties that come with it. As we mentioned above, most shops will throw on a road-hazard warranty for a minimal fee, sometimes including it in the cost of installation. A road-hazard warranty comes into play if your tire is damaged, and offers you a prorated discount based on remaining tread depth.
Mileage warranties are another thing entirely. Many tire manufacturers offer mileage warranties that guarantee you won’t have to replace them before a set number of miles. It’s typical to see mileage warranties anywhere from 20,000 to 80,000 miles. The only catch is that you must perform regular rotation maintenance and ensure your vehicle’s alignment isn’t off, because ignoring tire rotations and alignment issues can wear out your tires prematurely. Buying a tire with a high-mileage warranty will cost you more, but if you do a lot of driving it could also benefit you greatly. Not all tires come with mileage warranties, so be sure to ask about this when selecting the make and model of replacement tire.
4. Replacement in Pairs
Ultimately, anytime you need a single tire replaced, you’re probably going to pay double. The reason? Tires work better in pairs and any auto mechanic will strongly recommend that if you’re going to replace one, you should replace at least two. Matching up exact tire sizes and tread types will give you a much smoother and safer ride, which is really what having good tires is all about.
U.S. tire manufacturers recommend drivers check tire pressure monthly, regularly check tire tread depth and ensure their tires are rotated and properly aligned. Proper maintenance and periodic inspections by a tire professional are essential for optimum performance and service life of tires.
If you are looking for automotive service such as brake service, oil changes, engine repair, suspension and more, please give Openbay a try. Openbay is an online marketplace connecting consumers in need of service with local and curated auto repair service centers.