If you find yourself needing new tires for your vehicle soon, then you may not know what to expect.
Tires are likely one of the most expensive purchases that you’ll end up making for your vehicle (excluding repairs).
With so many different types of tires and brands, estimating the cost can be a challenge.
Below we’ll help you calculate how much you’ll spend on new tires for your car.
Understanding New Tire Cost
Before we jump into the average price, it helps to understand what makes up a tire price.
There are hundreds of tire brands on the market, each claiming to be the best.
But different brands use different materials, which affects the price.
For example, a tire from Michelin will be made differently from Continental.
The tools and materials needed for each will affect the price.
Tire Disposal fees
If you’re having your tires changed at a mechanic or tire shop, then you can’t simply leave your old tires there without incurring a cost for their disposal.
Tire shops usually recycle old tires, costing them between $2-$10 per tire.
You may dispose of the tires yourself, but it’s generally not worth the time and effort.
It should come as no surprise that a larger vehicle with bigger tires will cost you more for a new set.
Bigger tires for all-terrain vehicles and trucks are generally a lot more expensive than tires for an average smaller car because of the time and materials that go into them.
Additionally, bigger tires will also have more features for safety because the car might be used off-road of in harsher weather conditions.
Most tire manufacturers offer some warranty on their products, which can impact a tire’s overall cost.
However, it is usually optional, so you may choose not to take it.
Determining Tire Size
Your car’s user manual should have all your tire size info, but there is a way to determine your exact tire size on the wheel itself.
If you look along the side of your tire, you should see a string of numbers that make no sense if you don’t know much about tires.
But don’t stress; we’re here to help.
Here’s what those numbers mean in plain language that anyone can understand.
Let’s assume your tire numbers are: P185/75R14 82S
- P: This is the vehicle type; in this instance, it’s passenger (P), but it can be a light truck (LT) or special trailer (ST).
- 185: The tire width in millimeters.
- 75: The aspect ratio shows how tall a tire profile is; in this case, dividing the tire width by the tire height gives you 75, which means 75% aspect ratio.
- R: This refers to the internal construction of the tire that keeps the tire stable. R refers to radial, but you might see Diagonal (D) or Bias Ply (BP).
- 14: The rim diameter in millimetres.
- 82: Indicates how much load the tire can take in pounds when fully inflated.
- S: The speed rating, in this case, “S,” can go up to 112 mph. But there are loads, T goes to 118 mph, and U can handle 124 mph. So be sure to check your symbol on a good tire chart.
While Formula 1 makes this process look insanely quick and easy, a lot goes into ensuring a tire is fitted safely and correctly.
- Removal of tires: The mechanic will unscrew the wheels from your car and look at the different parts, ensuring everything is in working condition.
- Checking of suspension: Once the tires are off, the mechanic will look at the car’s suspension.
- Removing tire from the wheel: The wheel is removed, and the tires are taken off from its rim after deflating. This takes a bit of skill and special equipment to ensure you don’t damage essential components of the car.
- Inspection: Once off, the mechanic will take a good look at the wheel and clean it out if necessary. If there’s anything loose or excess gunk, it can affect how the wheel and tire bond.
- Inspecting tire pressure: Newer model cars do this automatically with a tire pressure monitoring system, but it doesn’t mean the mechanic won’t look at it. They need to monitor for any faults in the system by testing the tire pressure manually.
- A flat or punctured tire is extremely dangerous, so regularly checking pressure and tire tread depth is a must.
- Installing the new tire: The mechanic will install the new tires, taking care not to add too much pressure and risk a puncture. Once the new tire is inflated, a full inspection of the tire takes place.
- Wheel balancing: A car is a balanced piece of machinery; if the weights are off, it can make driving unpleasant. The mechanic tests the new tires for any unbalanced spots using a particular machine that detects any weight difference. These tests are repeated until the tires are balanced with the vehicle.
- Replacing the wheel: The technician will put the wheel back on, taking care to tighten it correctly.
- Wheel alignment: This is important to ensure your steering wheel and tires align to create a pleasurable driving experience. Wheel alignment is recommended every 5,000-7,000 miles. You’ll notice a problem if your car pulls more to a specific side when driving straight.
The Average Cost of New Tires
Knowing all that goes into getting a new set of tires on your vehicle, it’s easy to see how the costs can rack up pretty quickly.
But if we look at the bare minimum for the tires alone, here’s what you can expect for a passenger car:
- $50-$150 per tire (small)
- $100-$250 per tire (medium)
- $$150-$400 per tire (large)
Larger all-terrain vehicles are quite a bit more, ranging from $150-$1,000 per tire, depending on the size and features needed for your car.
Road Hazard Warranty
When you complete a tire purchase at tire shops, you may take out a warranty to cover you if you get a puncture or if there is any damage to your tires along the way.
However, you should pay attention to the fine print before signing on the dotted line because many mileage warranties don’t cover basic tire damage, so it’s best to be prepared.
Also, terms and conditions for tire mileage warranties mean you must uphold the tire quality by having regular checks and alignments.
How to Save Money on New Tires
Replacing all four tires can be costly, particularly if you have a larger vehicle.
But not all hope is lost; there are ways you can save money.
- Look out for sales: At various times of the year, replacement tires are discounted at the discretion of the shop and tire manufacturer. Getting a good deal on your tires can significantly reduce the overall cost.
- Takeoffs: Some tires are used for a few days and then returned to the shop. This can be for multiple reasons, like the driver not enjoying the feeling or wanting better quality tires. But ultimately, these tires end up back in the shop. There is nothing wrong with them; they just have a lower price.
- Shop around: There is no specific shop to get tires from. Yes, you might be a loyal customer of a certain store, but don’t let that blind you. Look around at other stores to see what their tires cost.
New Tire Facts
How much does it cost to replace tires on average?
This depends on the car; smaller cars can range between $50-$250 per tire, depending on the size you need.
Larger vehicles are more expensive, ranging from $150-$1,000 per tire.
Should I get a tire warranty?
A tire warranty is good if your tires are damaged with little mileage.
However, it would be best if you read the fine print to know your responsibilities for tire upkeep; otherwise, the warranty is void.
Are second-hand tires a good option?
Second-hand inexpensive tires that are heavily used are a no-go; there is no guarantee that they will last five miles down the road.
However, takeoffs are an option; these are slightly used tires at a shop that were exchanged or returned for reasons other than the manufacturer’s fault.
How long should new tires last?
This depends on your driving style and where you drive.
A rocky climate will wear tires down much faster than bopping around town.
Generally, your tires should last around 65,000-75,000 miles for everyday use on regular roads before needing a change.