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If you have never tried tire shopping online then you probably have some questions on how it works. Tires after all are just a tad bigger and heavier than say a laptop or a new pair of jeans and you probably can’t envision the UPS driver being real happy about lugging four tires to your door. And once you get them, what do you do with them? Install them yourself?
Well that business model just won’t fly and that’s not how it works. With most successful online tire stores like TireRack.com the selection process works like any other e-commerce transaction. You pick your tires and put them in a shopping cart. Delivery is where things are different.
Tire sellers will have relationships with installers all across the country. You pick from a list of tire installing shops in your neighborhood and the tire seller ships to that location. When the tires are received you are notified and asked to call and schedule an appointment for installation.
Why Buy Tires Online?
From no less an authority than Consumer Reports: “Surfing the web is a smart way to get the tire you want at a good price, and it is a heck of a lot better than driving around in search of tires.”
So you shop online for tires for the same reasons you shop for just about anything else online, price and convenience. But how do you get the best deal?
==> Special Offers: Save on quality tires with these manufacturer’s promotions available from Tire Rack. <==
It starts with settling on the tire that you want to buy. Obviously there are a ton of brands and within those brands there are wide selections. The objective is to narrow the tire down so you can do apples to apples comparison shopping.
Selecting the right tire for your vehicle is a whole separate issue, but once you have it, follow these tips to get the best value:
The base price of your tire is just one element to consider when looking for the best deal. Trim your list of tire sellers down to three or four and then write down the prices offered for the tire you want.
Delivery and installation are where things can change dramatically. Delivery charges will vary based on where the tire seller is located. The further from your location the higher the cost of shipping. The installers you have to choose from will most likely charge different amounts. TireRack.com lists those prices and also has consumer reviews that talk about how easy, or difficult, the experience was with an installer. The price for balancing and mounting a tire may vary as much as $20 to $30 per tire which tacks on a real cost to the overall deal.
Added value installation. Some installers will justify higher rates with the addition of add-ons like free tire rotation and repair for the life of the tires. Some may even toss in an alignment. You need to assess how valuable these services really are to you and include that in your overall evaluation.
Now comes the objective evaluation of tallying up the price of the tire, sales tax where applicable, delivery and installation to get a bottom line number. Then you have the subjective assessment of added values on the installer’s part. Are they worth it, do you need them or do you see them as just an element that adds to the total cost?
We said you can save money and time tire shopping online…we didn’t say it was easy. Seriously you will get a better deal buying your tires from an online store than most any brick and mortar shop so even if you struggle with assessing the best deal you know you’ve saved money over traditional shopping.