- Tires are an overlooked, yet critical, part of your car.
- Buying new ones can be confusing, so we’ve created a simple breakdown.
- You can spend a little, a lot, or something in between.
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Tires matter! Unfortunately, they’re often overlooked, with drivers simply asking for the cheapest set that money can buy when it comes time to replace the rubber their vehicles came with.
Price matters as well, and there good budget options out there. But it’s always worth it to assess both your own needs and the design of your vehicle when researching new tires.
From my perspective, I think it’s a good idea to go the budget route if you have an older vehicle that you aren’t driving in a spirited way and don’t rely on for commuting. It’s best to pay up for high-quality, high-ticket tires if you’re commuting daily or have a vehicle that’s built for speed or to head off-road.
And don’t forget that tire maintenance matters: you should rotate them regularly, have them aligned and balanced, and periodically examine them for tread wear.
Here’s a brief guide to tires, to lend an assist on your next tire-shopping excursion.
Budget tires. These tires cost less than $100 apiece.
If you own an inexpensive vehicle, you don’t have to buy budget tires. But you might want to look into this category, as part of an overall money-saving strategy. If you own an older car that you aren’t trying to preserve, budget tires could also be an option (for a few years, I owned a Mazda 323 and I never spent even $50 per tire for it).
Name-brand tires are name-brand for a reason: they’re well-made and reliable. Super-cheap tires that you’ve never heard of essentially have only price going for them. A few names are worth a look, such as General Tire, Cooper, and Falken.
There are lots of places to buy tires these days. You can go to a specialty retailer, such as Just Tires, or you can head to Sam’s Club or Costco. You can also buy tires online, via outlets such as the Tire rack. All of these options have budget offerings.
A decent-quality budget tire will get the job done, but it’s unlikely to last as long as a superior product.
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