Thursday, September 21, 2006

Saving Money On Tires

Recently I needed new tires. My minivan's size is P215/65R-16, but the tires I found in that size seemed more expensive than I thought they should be. I called up my favorite dealer, Discount Tire, and talked to a rep. He told me what I couldn't discern by looking at the web site, which is: That's not a particularly popular size. Not too many auto manufacturers and models use it. It turns out that less popular sizes cost more, which I guess is logical, but I never thought about that before.

He told me I could save some good money by getting a slightly smaller size, which is much more popular -- P215/60R-16. After checking the selection, I saw what he meant. They categorize their tires into three general tiers, and I was hoping to avoid the lower tiers if I could fit it into my budget. General rule: Tires are not something you want to skimp on, especially if you'll be out on the highway. I have personally witnessed a horrific rollover wreck in which a young girl was killed, and it was caused by a blowout. Also an acquaintence of mine was critically injured when his tire failed.

In the 65-size, I had been looking at a mid-tier 50,000-mile warranty Cooper Dean Quasar Plus (quality rating 560AB), for $70 each. Due to his advice, I was able to substitute a 60-size, top-tier 85,000-mile warranty Pirelli P3000 (quality rating 620AA), for $74 each -- less a $25 rebate on a set of four.

Of course this also works if you get a slightly larger tire.

Next time: What's the catch?


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