New tires are a major investment. When you plan to spend a significant amount of money, you want to be sure that you are spending it in the best way possible. There are several ways to find the best tire dealers.
Word of mouth is probably the most effective way to find a tire dealer that you are happy with. Tire dealers rely on happy customers to tell others of their experience. Chances are that if you hear good things from two or three different people, the tire dealer is a good one. It is important to ask the person exactly what about the tire buying experience convinced them that the tire dealer was good. For instance, if the tire dealer volunteered to special order a particular tire that they don’t keep in stock, they may offer good service, but this says little about whether they are competitive on price.
Ask the person specific questions about the dealer, such as how the price compared with other places they shopped and what extra services they offer. Many local tire dealers cannot compete with large, box store style retail shops, but they do offer additional services. Some local tire dealers will offer free tire rotations over the life of the tire, free disposal of tires or free patches if you get a flat, if you buy the tire from them. Box stores, however, may offer a lower price up front, but charge for rotations, patches and disposal of your old tires. When you add all of these charges up, the savings from the larger store may be insignificant.
Another way to find the best tire dealers is by calling the car dealership where you purchased your car. They don’t normally sell tires, so they won’t be tempted to peddle their own products, but will be familiar with tire dealers in the area that sell the brand and style of tire recommended for your car. They will also want to send you to a store where you have a good experience, so that you won’t associate the car dealership with a bad shopping experience.
One final way to find the best tire dealers in your area is through local “best of” listings. Local newspapers often conduct reader surveys that provide insight into the best of everything from Chinese restaurants to hair salons. Tire dealers are often on this list. A top listing here is comparable to a word of mouth recommendation from everyone in your community.