I have learned a thing or two about tires since I had to replace the tires on our 2003 Nissan Murano last year. First, Muranos and by and large most modern cars are equipping larger tires which are more costly. I assume it is for safety and handling purposes, but it sure does hurt the wallet. Muranos have standard 18 inch tires which generally cost $200 a tire. I had some quotes in the $250 range. A year ago the best price I could find was at the Costco tire center for Michelin – Cross Terrain® SUV at $168 a tire(installation included). I wrote about buying tires from Costco a few months back if you are interested. The total job ran $600 with their $80 off coupon. Tires are very important, so I was happy to get the best price around and thought I would not have to worry about tires for 2-3 years or so.
Well, after only a year the tires were almost completely bald! The warranty was for 65,000 miles. So why did my tires wear out so quickly?
- Alignment – I never got the car aligned after the new tires were put on. Coscto doesn’t do alignment and I forgot about it. Alignments need to be done when new tires are put on. I got it done after this new set and it was way out of line.
- Missing Maintenance – I only got the tires rotated once in 23,000 miles. Inexperience and the hustle of life got the best of me, especially because Costco does it for free. The warranty required owners to rotate and rebalance every 6,000 miles. Ouch, costly mistake. Ruined tires and voided a warranty.
- Buying Performance Tires – I didn’t know it at the time, but the tires that I bought were performance SUV tires. Performance sounds great as it means better handling which comes partly because of softer rubber. Softer rubber means shorter life span and requires you to be more on top of rotation. I learned that I don’t need performance tire on my SUV, but rather a quality standard all season tire. Most people I talked to weren’t surprised that I only got about 25,000 miles out of performance tires.
Ok, stupid tax paid and lesson learned. Now I had to shell out $600 again in a little over a year. This time I was able to get a better price on Tire Rack than at Costco.
Tire Rack Review
The best part was that the most inexpensive tires the Kuhmo Solus KR21 All Seasons had a great rating(8.4 out of 10). I ordered four tires for $376 plus $42.20 in shipping. I also used a 4% TireRack rebate from Mr. Rebates to save an extra $15 dollars.
The Tire Rack website also helps you ship to a local dealer and gives you price estimates. I shipped to my local Sunoco gas station which offered an estimate of $16-20 a tire. Shipping was quick, they were there in two days and I scheduled an appointment. They actually charged me $25 a tire, but I forgot to ask why because I was in a rush. The entire process was quite simply and only cost me a total of $525. I say only not because $525 is chump change, but because it is the best price in town.