The cost of many things we buy goes up every year -- but one of the most dramatic in recent years is the cost of tires for your car.
An SUV tire can now set you back $300, and many times they won't let you buy just one.
Cheaper oil had no impact
You would think that low gas and oil prices of the past three years would mean lower tire prices: no such luck.
Goodyear has just raised prices for 2017, and other brands are already following.
They blame rising raw rubber prices, higher labor costs, and the cost of developing more fuel efficient designs.
In addition, more of us are driving big larger SUV's, with bigger, more costly tires, compared to that Camry or Civic you used to drive. Just look at the size of a tire on a Chevy Suburban, Ford Explorer, or Ram pickup and you will realize you are now buying a lot more rubber than before.
So a set of four can now easily cost a thousand dollars or more.
How you can save
Consumer Reports Magazine says if you can wait till September, Labor Day brings the best tire rebate deals of the year.
It also says look for lower prices online at sites like TireRack.com and Tires-Direct.com. However, unless you work with a partner store, expect to pay about $75 for shipping, and then pay a shop to install them.
It also suggests checking Walmart, Sam's Club and Costco (membership required). They often have their own lines of premium brands, like Michelin, for much less than Michelins in retail tire shops.
The All-Wheel Drive surprise
And from the "doesn't that stink" file, the surprise that awaits many people with all-wheel drive SUVs.
With many all-wheel drive vehicles, you have to replace all 4 tires at once. That's because the AWD system's sensors require the tread to be the same on all 4 tires for the feature to work.
Have a blowout in one tire? You may not be able to just replace that one tire, leaving you saying "doesn't that stink."
My advice? Shop around, and if you find a lower price online show it to your local tire shop and ask if they can match it.
If not, ask them if they can throw in a free alignment or free road hazard warranty to sweeten the deal so you don't waste your money.
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