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Thread: Buying new tires -- with time on your hands

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Buying new tires -- with time on your hands

    Buying new tires -- with time on your hands
    By Eric Peters

    People often end up paying more for tires than they need to for one simple reason: They wait until they're in desperate need of tires before they begin shopping for them. Just as people in a hurry to buy a new car because their old one conked out unexpectedly often make a hasty (and costly) purchase, so it is with buying tires when the primary object is to get it done -- not necessarily get the best deal.

    The good news is that tires wear gradually -- so the only real excuse for being in a hurry to buy new ones is an unanticipated emergency, such as a severe puncture or sidewall damage that renders a tire beyond repair.

    Emergency situations aside, it's easy to anticipate the need to replace tires months before it becomes necessary to do so for safety's sake.

    A tire is considered worn beyond safe limits when one or more of the grooves in the tread reaches 2/32 of an inch deep. Most modern radial tires have "wear markers" -- horizontal strips that become visually apparent as the tread wears down to the 2/32 of an inch mark. You can also measure tread depth with a tread-depth gauge -- or simply take a penny and insert it in each groove, with Lincoln's head facing down. If you can see the top of Abe's head in any of the grooves, the tire should be replaced.

    By checking the tires in this way every 4-6 months or so, you'll know well in advance when it's time to begin shopping for new ones. And that will give you plenty of time to check with local merchants and take advantage of sales, including online sales offered by retailers who may be able to significantly undercut the costs of a local "storefront" merchant.

    The key point is you're not desperate to get the tires "today" -- so it doesn't matter if the sale isn't effective until the end of the month, or if it takes a week or so for the tires to be shipped to you and then a another couple of days to take them to a shop for mounting.

    It's also ok to buy replacement tires a couple of months before you need them, so long as they are stored properly (see the manufacturer's recommendations or ask the tire seller about this).

  2. #2
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    Re: Buying new tires -- with time on your hands

    I'm gonna whine.. us wealthy, white, conseratives oughta be allowed to whine - no??

    When purchasing, be careful about the vehicle and size of wheels. You may find (as I have with a Volvo XC-90) that there maybe a very limited number of tires available, with the correct width, wheel size, and aspect ratio.

    How does $195 a tire, on sale sound <ouch>.

  3. #3
    DonTom
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    Re: Buying new tires -- with time on your hands

    "Buying new tires -- with time on your hands"


    Why buy new? Many tire shops sell good used tires these days for a small percentage of a new one. And I mean about 90% of the life of the tire left. Some are hard to tell from new.

    -Don-

  4. #4
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Buying new tires -- with time on your hands

    Not surprised!

    Check out the per-tire cost on something like an M5 or Z06.

    Anything with 18 inch or wider rims/specialty-type tires, etc. is gonna cost ya.

    I have to spend $300 every year on new "shoes" for my sport bike; get maybe 5,000 miles out of them if I don't do a track day. If I do a track day, they are gone that day!

  5. #5
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    Re: Buying new tires -- with time on your hands

    The other thing to remember is that tire prices vary wildly. They can be as much as 50% more at some stores than others, for the same exact size/model of tire!

    So be sure to shop around.

    Chip H.

    Former owner: 2012 Honda Civic LX, 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTL, 2000 Honda CR-V EX, 2003 MINI Cooper S, 1992 Honda Accord LX, 1999 Mercedes ML-320, 1995 VW Jetta GLX, 1991 Mercury Capri XR2, 1981 Mercury Zephyr, 1975 Chevrolet Impala

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