I hate paying for tyres. Why? Because I always fit performance tyres to my cars, and it’s never cheap. Plus performance tyres don’t last long anyway.
So why not fit cheaper tyres?
Well one of my previous posts (Blowout), explains the downsides to this, and on the upside it makes a dramatic difference to the performance of your vehicle.
Plus, as you know, I’m a bit of a skinflint, so there’s plenty of scope for getting good tyres at knock down prices. Here’s how:
Most places seem to sell branded, performance tyres at about £90 a pop, and that’s before adding in all the extra gubbins that tyre places seem to charge nowadays. Do you want them fitted sir? Er yes of course I do. That’ll be £1.50 extra…
…for each tyre sir.
OK. Do I want you to take the old ones away? Well, yes.
OK, that’ll be another £1.50 extra…
And so on.
So anyway, shopping for tyres is a bit of a headache as there isn’t such a thing as a comparison site yet for this, so typing in your details to all the different suppliers in your area – like Kwik Fit, National, ATS, Selecta etc. can be a real chore. Plus, there are often smaller independent places that will do tyres more cheaply in order to compete with the big boys. The problem with that though, is finding them.
Ladies and gentlemen, may I present Ebay!
OK, so you’ve heard of it before, but a lot of smaller tyre places now use Ebay to sell their wares, and Ebay has been especially helpful to users who are looking for a certain size, because you can now use several filters to bring up results for just your size of tyre, without having to slog through a load of irrelevant listings.
The prices aren’t bad either. I managed to find a pair of michelin energy savers at considerably less than everywhere else, otherwise I wouldn’t have bought them – it’s all very well saving you money on fuel, but how much do you save if the tyres are so expensive in the first place???
Many of these independent tyre places will offer free fitting as well if you pop in to their depot to collect – now here’s a trick.
Some people put 2 listings on Ebay for the same set of tyres. One for just the tyres, with say £6 postage each, that doesn’t mention the fitting, and one at a little more, usually the same amount for the postage, that mentions the free fitting. I print off the former, and take that with me, thus getting an extra £6/tyre saving.
Another method is to shop round ebay and get them delivered to you, then shop round the tyre fitter places to see who’ll fit them for you at the cheapest rate.
Other times, I’ve bought some small consumable from a particular depot to show my face, and have a car related chat with them. Later on they remember who you are and see you as a loyal customer, and will normally see you right if you whinge that so and so had the cheek to ask for £X to fit each tyre, can they do better?
Brands are also worth thinking about. The major ones like continental, goodyear, bridgestone and so on, all produce very good tyres, but you’ll normally pay a premium for these. There are also some very good alternatives to the major brands though which are actually just as good. Recently, brands such as yokohama and toyo have been making some very good tyres.
Also, there are some tyre manufacturers commonly found in the motorsport arena who have been making pretty good road tyres too for years but just aren’t that well known. Examples such as Avon and Marshal spring to mind. Interestingly, I notice Marshal have started producing an energy saving tyre. A while ago I bought Avon’s energy saving tyres and was thoroughly impressed with their performance, as well as the fact that they genuinely saved me fuel too. Shame they’ve discontinued them.
Then there’s Falken. Just dipping their toe in the motorsport water, and a fairly recent company having been going since the 80’s. I can’t remember how I came across these excellent British made tyres, but I have purchase them several times now and not been disappointed yet.
And if you don’t know much about tyre brands, keep a look out for annual tyre tests at your local newsagents. Several motoring magazines compare a bunch of differing tyres every year and publish the results. Lately, magazines such as EVO, have been getting more and more scientific about this, even using proper industry test sites to try and pin down accurate and meaningful results across a range of prices and good mix of brands.
Basically, what I’m saying is, you can obtain good performance without necessarily breaking the bank. Why not give some of the brands I’ve mentioned a whirl?