National Consumer News

Replacement tires don’t have to make you poor


By Clark Howard

Have you gotten sticker shock when you needed replacement tires for your car? Chances are you may have expensive non-standard tires.

Automakers create multiple lines of a single vehicle at different price points. One of the up-sells they add to the pricier lines are fancy wheels that are larger than usual tires.

How to reduce the cost of what you pay for tires

Some models even have speed-rated tires that are designed to perform at 149 mph or higher. We’ve all seen the commercials with stunt drivers tearing it up on closed roads. It’s like James Bond syndrome! But how often do you drive even 100 mph?! Do you really need those high-performance tires?

So I recommend you check out the tire size and type before you buy a car. Or simply ask the dealer about the replacement tire price. Of course, for many people style is king and they don’t care if they have to pay extra. But if you do care, use to check tire prices.

When I recently had to replace tires, I started at But they didn’t have a good price on the tires I needed so I wound up at Costco Wholesale. For 2 tires with installation I wound up paying around $600! Tires are a pricy proposition these days.

The best deal out there on tires?

Another good place to check is Sam’s Club. In addition to free tire rotation and free repair of flats, Sam’s Club has a benefit that is unique as far as I know: Emergency roadside tire service!

For 3 years from purchase, Sam’s Club members have 24 hour toll-free access for emergency tire change service. Apparently they will send a truck to come deal with your flat on the side of the road!

I think that is extraordinary and I tip my hat to Sam’s Club for that. So now it’s up to you, Costco. Your archrival has emergency roadside tire assistance! Are you going to let Sam’s Club upstage you?!

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