How To Drive on Free Tires

by Ryan Yates on November 18, 2011

Planning for Car Maintenance?

Find the best tire deals and pay with your car maintenance budget, or suffer the consequences of more credit card debt.

Those are your choices.

No this isn’t some gimmick, and no I don’t have a secret link to a treasure trove of free tires.

What I do have is some overlooked yet solid advice about how to decrease your tire and overall car maintenance costs.

I hate buying new tires. I hate the smell of them, I hate looking into the mechanics eyes knowing that he knows that I know nothing about my car. And I definitely hate paying for two or four times at a time.

But what can you do, right? Everyone’s tires wear down. And as far as I know, no one has invented the Everlasting Gobstopper of tires.

Well, that’s precisely why I decided to include this article in the Frugal Friday Tips.

Free Tires Are Advertised Every Week

That’s right, a quick browse of the newspaper or a quick internet search will produce a plethera of new tire sales.

Most of the time tires are discounted when you by two or four at a time. I’ve never needed just one tire unless I get a flat, so the math works out fine (and Discount Tire will fix flats for free, I love those guys).

The trick to finding free tires is to shop around. Don’t let your entrance to a tire shop (or heaven forbid, the dealership) be the first time that you’ve priced new tires.

Instead of showing up uneducated, hit the newsprint or the virtual pavement and sniff out the deals. Really, it’s like hunting for Easter eggs when you’re a toddler and your parents just lay them out there.

And not only do manufacturers have a multitude of ads giving away a free tire with the purchase of one or three additional tires, but discount shops and websites have deals with the same manufacturers that heavily discount their products.

I know, I know, you hate buying new tires and it’s just too hard to get motivated to shop around for something that evokes so much anger. But the more you look, the more money you will keep in your bank account.

Prepare, Plan, and Act

The best way to avoid a major hit to your wallet is to budget for things that you know you will eventually have to spend money on.

Tires and car maintenance is one of those areas that get’s overlooked. After all, saving for tires doesn’t sound as important as saving for college, saving for retirement, or paying down your debt.

But if you don’t have the cash for minor car maintenance and new tires, then it all goes on the credit card. And all of that debt snowball work you’ve been doing takes a major hit when you have to slide that little piece of plastic.

Sure, some of you might be thinking emergency fund right about now. But I don’t consider new tires to be an emergency. If you know that a certain cost is coming, then by definition it can’t be an emergency.

So what to do? Create a budget and save for tires each month. Simple.

Even as little as $25 a month will add up pretty quick. And when you use your tire budget to pay for tires, you won’t take a hit to your normal monthly budget (which sort of feels like getting tires too)

Sure, if you wear out one set of tires in a year, you might need to save more. But the point is slowly save up what you expect to pay for.

Whatever your driving habits, saving for minor car maintenance is a great way to avoid a major credit card purchase. And that’s got to feel good!

Photo By mikecogh

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

krantcents November 18, 2011 at 3:38 pm

I like Michelin tires because they last the longest. I get them at Costco generally at a lower price than anywhere else.

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Ryan Yates November 19, 2011 at 10:16 am

I’m a Michelin man myself. I think they offer the best performance for their price. As Always, I appreciate the comment.

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Jenn November 19, 2011 at 9:08 am

Tire are a large but predictable expense. We have two vehicles and need summer and winter tires for each in our climate. We invested in a second set of rims for each vehicle so the tires don’t need to be swapped on and off the factory set by a tire shop every spring and fall. We switch them ourselves at home (have the air compressor and ratchets). We also have our replacement schedule set up so that we never have to replace more than one set per year, which is still plenty. At $600 for the car’s summer tires to $900 for the SUV’s winter tires, saving in advance is a regular fixed part of our budget. At least we save on the installation fees and don’t pay to store the off season tires at the tire shop like many people we know.

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Ryan Yates November 19, 2011 at 10:20 am

Jenn, thanks for the comment. It sounds like your making the smartest financial decisions when faced with a known cost. Way to go on your decision to avoid the storage fees. You’ve definitely got it all figures out. I’m impressed.

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