Buying car tires

Buying car tires {another sham operation}

Rackets and shams are a fun (and frustrating topic) here at Hoboken411. A few have been discussed (like purposeful paper towel confusion, mattresses, and others).

It’s amazing that in 2015, there are still major industries that are no closer to being “transparent and easy to understand” than they were 50 years ago.

One such sham is the automotive tire industry.

buying tires is a racket - Buying car tires

Holy crap – don’t even try and research car tires

Thanks to an incompetent mechanic who did a bad wheel alignment, over-rated tires, and with winter approaching – we determined that we required a complete set of all-season tires for our 8-cylinder AWD sedan.

My last set of tires (Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3) was “highly recommended” by an area tire shop. They were expensive for my size (255 45 R18) but supposedly were the “best.” WRONG.

Those tires (with their stiffer than Flintstones sidewalls) are only “best” if you drive an Indy car on a perfect smooth surface 100% of the time. Otherwise, you can drive over a penny on the road and your eyes will rattle. Bad ride! They even sucked in the snow as last year I almost careened off a cliff. Okay in the rain and on dry surfaces, but I don’t need tires rated at 190 MPH!

We used to have Continental ExtremeContact tires too – which were okay, but the latest “06” version also appear to have a lesser ride quality.

So we gave Tire Rack a browse. WHAT A MISTAKE!

Tire Rack offers almost NO help when buying tires

I believe that Tire Rack – one of the cheapest place to buy tires online – is part of the industry sham. I’ll point out the main reasons I truly think this:

  1. Their reviews are “inconclusive.” They often just pick two or three other tires to “compare” to each other. Never have they compared all available tires against each other AT ONCE. So you never really know how they stack up. Also, when comparing the tires, it appears that there is always “give or take,” as their tests always have different winners in each category. Useless! Back to square one!
  2. Customer reviews are inconsistent. One supposedly neat feature about the Tire Rack user reviews is that you can sort by MAKE AND MODEL of car – to see what other owners of your exact car say. But sometimes even then – you’ll get one-star reviews AND five-star reviews in the same grouping! NO HELP AT ALL!

I think it’s all done by design. You can get lost for hours on there. Probably to appease all the big tire manufacturers. Keep ’em all confused is their plan.

To be safe, double the cost of your tires

One other thing about the car tire sham is all the added costs beyond just the tire price.
Wheel alignment.
Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).
Environmental fees.
Disposal fees.


So when budgeting for new tires – just add up the cost of EIGHT tires – and make that what you will be expected to pay when the bill comes due. You can also make note of these add-ons when comparing shops.

Trying something new: BF Goodrich

Amid all the confusion – we said “fuck it,” and decided to take our chances with a very NEW tire to the market. The BF Goodrich Comp 2 A/S.

The Comp 2 A/S claim to be BFG’s “best all season tire EVER,” and with little to no reviews, we chose to give them a shot. Heck, we don’t even care what the reviews say anymore – as they’re most likely all fake (or from competitors).

The reason we like them is because they’re very similar in design to the old Goodyear AquaTred tires from a few decades ago.. Why they can’t just “settle” on a proven design after all these years is beyond me.

So far the Comp 2 A/S’s have been amazing (around 3,000 miles). Quieter on the road – and hold the line perfectly. They’ve been flawless in the rain, and what they say about better acceleration and braking has definitely appeared to be true.

The real test comes this winter – and if they last more than 20,000 miles like the Michelin’s did.

Will update in the spring.

BF Goodrich Comp 2 AS tires - Buying car tires

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Wednesday, December 30, 2015 1:59 pm

But still Tire Rack is the cheapest place to purchase new tires, just have the proper relationship with your mechanic where he won’t charge you an arm and a leg to install. Last year in a pinch for time i took my car to the Sunoco on 13th and Willow Ave. to patch a tire for me. It’s about all i trust him with. He calls me and tells me that the tire can’t be plugged and has to be replaced. I went over to visually confirm this and he happened to be true. It was punctured on the side wall. He offered to get the tire for me. Reluctantly i agreed figuring how much could he overcharge me for a single tire versus me getting the car ordering from tire rack waiting a few days to get it etc…. i said ok, get it. When i went to get the bill he gave me a bill for $550.00 I was floored especially since i had just checked tire rack to get an idea how much it would cost. Tire rack’s price for the exact same tire was $298.00 I knew not to trust the sunoco. He has gotten too comfortable with all these new customers that have moved to hoboken who have no clue on what they drive no matter how to fix it and bring in their cars just for the fact that he is local. He overcharges by incredibly outrageous amounts that it shoudl be criminal. DO… Read more »

Reply to  hoboken411
Saturday, January 2, 2016 4:39 pm

I get your point. But it would work against Tire Racks entire business of selling tires of all brands if they had bad reviews of a particular line or model. So i’m sure its vague on purpose.

There is a standard cost associated with installing a tire, 20-40 bucks per tire. So even if you bring your tires from tire rack to a tire shop you can pretty much gague how much it will cost you in the end. In my example i never asked assuming I would have got whacked for an extra 50-60 bucks but not Willow Sunoco. They hammered me. Never again.

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