Buying new tyres is one of the necessary evils of running a car. Not only do tyres inevitably come to the end of their life, they’re also deceptively expensive. Replacing all four tyres on even a modest family saloon can leave you without much change from £500. And the bigger the car, the more you’ll pay. Buy four new tyres for a high-performance motor and it’ll cost the thick end of £2000. But there are ways to save money without scrimping on safety.
Find out about your tyres
As with buying anything, price is determined by supply and demand. If your car has an unusual tyre size, or perhaps different tyres on the front to the back, the chances are they’ll be harder to find and therefore more expensive. If they are a common what’s known as fitment, there’ll be plenty of choice and the price will be lower. You can then devote more time to shopping around in the knowledge that you might reap some rewards.
Just like when you buy anything, it pays to shop around to get the best price when buying new tyres. In addition to small independent tyre fitters, there are also companies that offer a mobile service, large chains of so-called fast fit operators and internet tyre retailers. When you’re doing your sums, remember to factor in the cost of actually having the tyres mounted on the wheels. That super-cheap internet retailer can suddenly look quite expensive if a garage is charging you £15 per wheel to fit those apparently bargain-priced tyres.
Why fitting is important
How new tyres are fitted is vital to how they perform. A good tyre fitter will balance every wheel once the new tyre is fitted. They shouldn’t charge for it either. This is because when new tyres are fitted, they will send the wheel out of balance. This will cause a vibration through the steering wheel.
In order to rebalance them, tyre fitters will put the tyre on a machine which will tell them exactly where and how much weight is needed to re-balance them. In addition to being more comfortable in the car, this will ensure you get more wear out of your tyres.
Book in advance
If you do your research and shop around, the next step is to book an appointment. You’ll always get a better deal by doing that than simply turning up at the dealer. In addition, it could prevent you from having a wasted journey. There are so many makes and sizes of tyre that not all retailers have every tyre in stock. They may have to order them.
Premium or budget?
For a small family car you can spend anywhere between around £40 and £90 for a tyre. But buying cheap won’t always save you money. Manufacturing a tyre that has grip in the wet, handles the road well in the dry and doesn’t wear out too quickly is a skilled business. Premium makers such as Continental, Michelin and Goodyear spend billions between them achieving that balance. Budget manufacturers don’t have the same resources so although their tyres might be cheaper to buy, you may not get as many miles out of them, making them more expensive in the long run. There are similar arguments against buying part-worn tyres.
Can it be repaired?
If you suffer a puncture, you may not need a new tyre. It is possible and entirely legal to repair punctured tyres. And it’s an awful lot cheaper than buying a completely new tyre.
However, the repair must be within a certain area on the tyre. That’s the central portion of the tread. Repair a tyre on the sidewalls and as well as being illegal it could well be dangerous as it affects the tyre’s construction.