Open Letter on Why Buying Tires Is Such A Scam


Image Credit - Hohoho | Wikimedia Commons
Image Credit - Hohoho | Wikimedia Commons

I’ve been in need of getting some new shoes for my ride, and I’m paying attention to all of the special offers and promotions on tires – It’s all the same scam, designed to nickel and dime me out of my hard-earned cash.

Not only do I need some shoes, these are some serious treads I need for my ’06 Dodge Magnum. I need P225/60R18’s, and I need at least two right now. I’ve got a little more miles I can put on the rear tires, but the front ones need to go.

I start looking at the usual suspects, like sears, firestone local goodyear garages, tire kingdoms, and even the good folks at ntb. They all have very interesting ways to grab dollars out my wallet, because it’s not just the tire, it’s the…

  • Mounting and Balancing – This is where a dude puts your new tires on, fills it up with air, and then put it onto a machine that does all of the work for him.  It spins around and around, then beep, you gotta hammer on a weight here and there, bam – tire is mounted and balanced. I know to most of the world, this seems like damn hard stuff, but I’m not an idiot, and I see that this takes less than 5 minutes, and you want to charge me what? $10-25 dollars a tire? Yeah right! Go eff yourself man, that’s a rip!
  • Tire Disposal Fee – Ok, let’s get this straight from the jump. You’re gonna SELL my old tires to a used tire company, possibly another division of your tire company, and you’re going to make money on it. If you’re not doing this, well – then I can’t help you, but NO I’m not gonna pay you to make money on my old, worn-out tires. I hear rubber recyclers actually pick most of these up, but sadly there are still some places where they pay to have them hauled away, but I really  hope they live on, or maybe return as pieces of a rubber-integrated pavement mix. Either way man I shouldn’t have to pay you for that shite. Seriously. Ok, so there are some areas where the tire MUST be disposed of, and that the county charges a fee, but that’s never more than a few dollars,  NOT $12 or anything like it.
  • Buy Three – Get One Free – Again, Seriously?! So here’s my chance to pay you for three tires that will be at full cost, or discounted to just under $200 a tire, then you’re gonna give me the last one? Aww thanks, that’s a huge favor bro. Good looking out, Jerk. I get that you’ll give me one if I pay full fare for your already-marked-up tire. I see that you’re not really giving me a big break, even though your ad on TV was epic!
  • All The Extras Bundled – I see that in order to get that low low price you’re offering, I have to get your mounting and balancing, AND I have to participate in the “Road-Hazard” program, which of course is a mini-insurance policy that you pay in case you run over a nail, or maybe that you really blow a tire from running something else over on your way; this is a tire replacement policy that they will inevitably will be contested by you, and you know it. I buy the Road Hazard and yet when I try to make a claim, you’re damn sure to get some flack from the local tire store on who’s paying for the new tire. I like the idea of this, if you actually fulfilled on it on the back end. [Message!]

So after having run through this process and read alot of the all-so-similar promotions and tire scam shenanigans, I called a good friend up and said “Yo Scott DeMarco, how do you get tires for your ride, the S2000?”

We talked about how you can look online at places like TireRack.com or TireBuyer.com, etc, and search for tires based on your exact tire size (which you can write down when looking at your current tires) , or use the friendly web-widget to select your car’s year and model, and there you have it – real prices for the same tires your local rubber-tradesman is offering, discounted to say the least.

IMPORTANT – Definitely read the reviews and make sure you’re getting the right tire that you want/need. You do have to consider the expected mileage rating (15,000 Miles, 40K, 60k, etc). That and the weather rating too, some of these deals are on “summer treads” and you have to think about that, like if you were moving from Miami to Philly [this is so tongue in cheek it’s not funny, but anyways], one might want to think less about good rain tires, and more about “All Season Treads” …right?!

You can definitely get a better deal overall if you buy the tires, and then have them shipped to your house. Take the tires (yes put the new tires in the backseat or trunk), and drive yourself to a walmart or sears, and get the best deal on the mounting and balancing. You CAN and SHOULD negotiate this with them, give the “Take it or leave it” approach and say “No way, that much for Mount and Balance?!? Cmon You gotta come down to like $5 a tire, that’s a real deal. Can’t  do it – ah ok, no problem, I’m gonna call that tire place that’s right down the street, I forget – what’s their name?!?”

Do this and you can get new shoes for your ride, without all of the BS. I ended up getting mine from TireBuyer.com, and the shipping was free. I did pay tax, but I’m out the door @ $225.00 for TWO FRIGGIN TIRES. Right?! What you got for me, huh!? That’s what I thought!

Also, I know of a local USED tire dealer (someone you need to find), and he’s gonna take my old tires off, put on the new ones, mount and balance them both, and put them back on the car for $15.00. Their shop is even giving me some cash for the used tires. After all he’s going to sell them to someone else.

You see, a tire still has value even if you think you’ve worn it down to the threads. I’m telling you that unless  you’ve torn that thing apart on a curb, or something more damaging, that worn out tire still has some value. Some of these actually get re-treaded and sold again as well “Re-Treads” – imagine that.

Anyways, I’m stoked because my new tires are on the way, and I’m not gonna get ripped off in getting them installed! Soon my magnum will be rolling down the road in a new pair of shoes. Good deal.

By Louis Wing

About Louis Wing 68 Articles
I talk about this, that, and the other stuff. I have to admit I may ramble on and on... but I am usually driving to a point. Educated and street-smart, I like my beats downtempo. Read more about Louis Wing

1 Comment on Open Letter on Why Buying Tires Is Such A Scam

  1. Quick Update!

    I received the tires in 2 days from TireBuyer.com. They were exactly as I ordered, and I was impressed with the timely services.

    This afternoon I took the tires to my local “used tire guy” and he hooked me up! I bargained with him to mount and balance both tires for $40, and he’d recycle the old tires for no charge.

    So the nut of this is… I spent $265.00 TOTAL and got two brand new tires on my ride.

    BTW – The used tire shop owner asked me how much I paid for the tires, and I told him $105 Each. He looked it up and told me he would have had to sell it to me for $145.

    Overall, this was a great learning process, and I got a damn good deal!

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