First, I will issue a disclaimer: I am not an expert on tires. But today I had to find a good deal on tires. Our second car (the one we’ve been thinking of selling for some time now) blew a tire, and the mechanic informed us that the other three were dry-rotted as well. He offered to put four new tires on our car for $540.00. As usual, I decided to look around for the best deal. You can use this same strategy for whatever you are buying, from car insurance to washing machines.
1. Identify What You Need. Find out what specifications you need in your new purchase. Do you really need four tires, or only two? What are the year, make, and model of your vehicle? What are the tire’s measurements and serial number? How many miles do you hope to log on these tires?
2. Google It: I typed in “Cheap Tires” and my zipcode, and I got a plethora of choices.
3. Ask Around: My Dad suggested a place known to have Buy-3-Get-1-Free Sales. I posted my interests on Facebook, and received lots of suggestions from friends.
4. Call Around: I called 9 different places to ask for estimates. Two of them didn’t even bother to pick up the phone! I wrote each phone number and the information I collected on a separate post-it note to make comparisons and call-backs easier.
5. Compare Apples to Apples: Different businesses offer different discounts, warranties, installment options, tire disposal, and perks (like oil changes). Make sure you’re comparing like items. Also make sure that taxes are included in your estimate.
6. Call Back and Ask for Price Matching. I was quoted the following amounts for four new tires: $540.00, $503.51, $455.00, $446.20, $442.00, $414.52, $410.00, and $397.47. So I called the last few who agreed to price match.
7. Ask about discounts and perks. I asked if there were discounts for paying in cash, paying up front, or if they might include an oil change (Thanks Sarah for suggesting the last item!). One business agreed to include the oil change for the same price if we completed a rewards card application (which we would cancel immediately), and another business agreed to match the other company with tires and an oil change at the same price.
8. Look on-line for coupons. It turned out that one business had an on-line coupon for $50 off a purchase of $200 or more (Thanks again Sarah!). The final price?
$364.42 for 4 new tires and an oil change. I saved $175.58 and got an oil change too! $378.74 for 4 tires, 1/2 off the cost of the oil change, and a coupon for a free oil change to be used on either of our vehicles in the future. I saved $161.26 and got 2 oil changes too!
9. Rejoice! It’s never fun to have to make a large un-planned purchase, but you can be happy knowing you did your best to make it affordable for you and your family!
What are some ways you’ve found to save money on tires or other large purchases?