With the snow season just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about winter tires again. I don’t know about the area that you live, but here in Newfoundland, the snow can get pretty intense which makes snow tires an essential added cost to owning a vehicle. As we own a compact car and an SUV, the cost of getting tires can really add up, so looking for ways to save money can result in a few dollars back in my pocket.
Here are some of the ways that we save money on winter tires:
This is perhaps the most obvious option to getting the best price on snow tires, and something that I always do when making big ticket purchases. What has surprised me is that the dealerships that I have dealt with are all very competitive with their tire pricing, so make sure get a quote from them as well. I know others who have purchased their tires online and have saved hundreds (if not thousands over the years). For Costco members out there, I know that they typically have a coupon on winter tires, so make sure to give them a call as well.
Most cars/SUV’s these days have over sized tires, but the problem is that over sized tires are expensive and may not be the best for winter traction. It may seem that the larger the tire, the better the traction, but in fact it’s the narrower the tire, the better the traction as it’s gives greater force per square inch of tire. With that in mind, sizing down the tire may save money and give better traction.
Sizing down the tire isn’t as simple as getting a tire that’s one inch smaller in diameter as the speedometer would be off, and it may not fit the brake calipers. What I’ve used is a tire calculator online to see which tire sizes match. Better yet, call your local tire expert and they’ll be able to tell you pretty easily which tires will work with your model.
To give an example of how much sizing down the tire can save, when pricing 17″ tires for my SUV tires at Costco, the equivalent 16″ tires were about 10% lower in cost.
Buying a Car? Negotiate Winter Tires
One thing we have done in the past is use winter tires are part of the negotiation when purchasing a vehicle. If the dealer is willing to negotiate, then it’s pretty common to get winter tires thrown into the deal, or at the very least give you the tires at dealer cost.
Consider Buying Used
If you use kijiji or other online classified service, there you may find a good deal on a set of winter tires. Just be sure to get the details before the purchase, and make sure to get a close look at the tread depth/life remaining. Note that the rubber on winter tires tend to harden over the years, so besides tread depth, verify that they are fairly new. Personally, buying a used set of tires is not at my comfort level, but there are good deals out there if you’re willing to do your own due diligence.
If you’ve gone through the process of looking for the best deals on tires, how do you save money on winter tires?