Normal drivers buy tires when they need to. Auto enthusiasts, like classic car collectors and racers, buy tires when they want to. There’s a difference in the motivation, but no disparity in the shopping process. Are certain months better for tire purchases than others? When is the best time to buy tires? Some experts claim that fall is best to buy all-season tires and summer is prime season for snow tires. Both seem like perfectly valid assumptions. They are only partially correct, though.
The truth is that there’s no documented evidence either statement is right. Tire dealers are not locked into the same seasonal cycles other retailers plan their holiday sales around. Sure, you may see a Black Friday special, but tire sales outlets operate on profit margins, not calendars. A struggling automotive repair shop will run a tire sale when the service side is slow.
Shop for the right deals when you’re looking to buy tires. I ran a Google search this morning for “best deal on tires” and found that the lowest median tire prices today are at Walmart ($102), Sam’s Club ($139), and Discount Tire Direct ($144). My research also revealed that Goodyear and Costco have sales going on right now. It’s May. No one predicted that would happen.
Best Time To Buy Tires? When They Are On Sale
There are countless opportunities throughout the year to buy tires on sale. I personally cannot remember the last time there wasn’t a tire sale of some kind or another happening nearby. Drive around your hometown and check for yourself. Tire dealers and automotive shops tend to hang large banners when they run a sale. I guarantee you’ll see at least one of the following:
- Buy Three Tires, Get One Free
- $100 Mail-in Rebate
- Instant Savings. Valid until (Insert Date)
Though not a guarantee, you can usually find a retail or manufacturer’s tire sale in the months of April or October. These are change of season times when common sense drives car owners to look for better tires. I wouldn’t recommend waiting for one of these sales if you really need tires, but it’s not a bad idea to check for deals when that time of year comes around.
There’s also the internet. You can find some of the best deals there. Buying tires online is actually a fairly seamless experience. Stick with the brands you know and shop multiple sites for the best prices. There are a lot of good online deals out there. Stay away from private party sales, though. Buy only from reputable tire dealers or direct from the manufacturer.
Buy Tires When Your Treads Are Worn
The best time to buy tires is more about situation than time of year. Some people buy tires when they purchase a new vehicle. It’s a good bet that the wheels haven’t been attended to in a while if you pick out a car with several thousand miles on it. Other folks like to switch it up with new rubber and rims. Some car owners buy tires because they have no choice.
Worn tires are a good example of this. They’re a safety hazard. To find out if your tires fall in this category, buy a tread depth gauge online. You can find them at eBay for 99 cents. If the depth of your tire treads is 4/32” or less, it’s time to buy new tires. Don’t wait until they wear further. You may find yourself unable to stop in the rain when the light turns red.
This is the most common scenario retailers see when consumers come in to buy tires. State Inspection stations will fail a vehicle with insufficient tire tread. Unfortunately, some drivers fail to pay attention while their sticker is still valid. That is how accidents happen. It’s best to check your tire tread regularly and buy new tires before they reach the danger zone.
The Best Time To Buy Snow Tires Is In Summer
Just because there’s no consistent data on this doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea. If you live in an area that gets snow and freezing rain in the winter, you’ll be better off with a sturdy set of snow tires. You can usually find a place that has these on sale during the summer. Shop around and pick them up when the prices are low. You don’t have to mount them right away.
Summer is also a good time to buy all-season tires. July and August are the slowest months of the year for automotive repair shops. Sure, folks go on vacation and need their cars tuned up, but the nasty weather in late fall and winter causes accidents, the lifeblood of repair and body shops. You can almost always get good deals on tires at these places during the summer.
The closer you are to the manufacturer, the better the price will be. If you buy Goodyear tires at a Goodyear service center, they’ll be cheaper. Third party shops charge more. You’ll also want to watch out for hidden costs. Make sure your quoted price includes mounting, balancing, and disposal of your old tires. Get it in writing before they put your car on the lift.
Warehouse Stores And Manufacturers Rebates
Perhaps the most optimal time for you to buy tires is when you can get the best deal. Warehouse stores like Costco, BJ’s, and Sam’s Club always have a wide selection of brand-name tires. Their prices are lower. Members pay up to fifteen percent under what retail sellers charge. Warehouse stores also periodically offer coupons to reduce the price further. Those savings should show up automatically when you make your final purchase.
Another great way to save is to search online for manufacturers rebates. Visit the “tire sales and deals” page of TireRack.com to see the latest updates on these. As of this morning, Goodyear was offering 6-month financing and up to $200 in rebates. Hankook and Kumho are both offering $75 rebates. The names and numbers change daily, but there are usually savings available. Always check for manufacturer’s rebates before buying your new tires.
Now that you know the best time to buy tires, maybe you’re wondering when is a good time to buy other essentials. If so, you may also enjoy our article on the best time to buy appliances.