More about tires

Yesterday I wrote an article in response to one by Carteach0, looking at the reasons why certain sizes and types of tires have become hard to get. Intrigued by his conversation with his dealer, this afternoon I dropped in at the tire dealer I use for my auto service needs and asked him how he saw the current supply situation. He wasn’t very encouraging.

To paraphrase a long conversation, he said that his company (which sells millions of tires every year through its branches in multiple states) is finding it nearly impossible to source certain sizes and types of tires. Factories are concentrating on producing currently popular sizes and models, which means older vehicles (particularly those fitted with ‘odd’ sizes of tires) are sometimes left without replacement supplies. Furthermore, currency exchange rate fluctuations, import duties, unforeseen rises in shipping costs, etc. make prices unpredictable. Each shipment can be priced for sale only after it’s reached their warehouses, according to the costs incurred in buying it and getting it there. Until it arrives, they can’t be sure of all the expenses involved – which makes forecasting prices for customers very difficult. Furthermore, certain sizes of tires aren’t available for love or money. He described an elderly lady who came in the previous week, seeking tires for her older-model small car, only to find out that there were none available anywhere in the size she needed! He didn’t know when – or even if – they would be imported again. His advice to her was to either replace her car, or, if she couldn’t afford that, to buy a new set of wheels that could accommodate a different size of tire. Needless to say, either option would cost her more money than she could easily afford . . .

His gloomy attitude worried me, so I asked him to quote me a price for new tires for my pickup. The last time I checked, a couple of years ago, a set of Michelins would have cost me about $130 apiece. To my astonishment, the same tires would cost me over $250 each today! The price has almost doubled. The cheapest tires of reasonable quality that he could offer me were made in China for Toyo, a Japanese company. They’d set me back about $170 apiece, plus installation charges and other fees – call it a total of about $800 to drive away on four new tires. He went on to warn me that he expects tire prices to increase by an average of at least 30% this year, with some ‘specialty’ tires going up even more.

If you haven’t priced new tires for your vehicle(s) recently, you might want to check out the costs involved. I’m planning to buy four new ones as soon as I can, before prices go up again. They can sit in the garage for a few months until I’ve worn out my old tires!



  1. Given my position, I have easy access to used rims and tires. Just today, I plan on checking a few combinations on my truck. I expect to find a set of rims in a different dimension than the vehicle came with, mount four good tires on them, and all will be stored in my shed till needed.

  2. I bought tires on Saturday. We spent 550 on a set of really good Goodyears in '05. They wanted 979 this time!! I went with a different make for almost 600. I'm planning to get another one next payday for the spare, and then one more after that. That leaves me 2 more wheels for this truck. May do your trick Carteach, and fill them up too. Who knew….. Thanks again for the heads up. Valuable information.

  3. Just remember that tires can suffer from dry rot, making them unusable. I've had more than one set of tires become dangerous to drive because of dry rot and cracking in the sidewalls. Rubber (or rather, the stuff they now make tires out of) deteriorates over time even if not being used heavily.

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