Sourcing new car tyres is a bit like motor insurance. You don’t enjoy buying them but they’re vital to go motoring. Getting the best deal possible for cheap tyres takes a bit of work. It also depends on the kind of tyre you’re willing to settle on.
Getting tyres from your garage
First of all, you have no control over what tyres they’re going to supply. They might choose what are known as OE (Original Equipment) fitment. These are what the car will have left the factory on and are likely to be quite pricy.
Your garage might choose what it considers to be the best alternative. But you will have no say over how much they cost and what the tyres are. You might end up with a horrendous budget tyre that makes your car crash over bumps. Or it could be much noisier than you’re used to.
Last but not least, your garage will put its margin on the price of tyres it supplies. It will also charge a fitting and disposal fee. This could be up to £40 per tyre including VAT.
The disposal fee is because tyres must be recycled responsibly nowadays. They can’t just be burnt out the back or chucked in a skip. And there’s usually a fee for that, which garages often pass onto their customers.
Getting tyres from a home fitting service
But perhaps the most convenient part of this is that you can have your tyres fitted at a location of your choosing. Whether that’s home or work, the tyre fitter will come to you. Even more attractively, fitting services only charge a one-off fee for putting new tyres on and disposing of old ones. In Black Circles’ case that’s £12 inc. VAT.
How to find out the best tyres to buy
First thing’s first, look in your car’s user manual. It will tell you what the car was originally fitted with. This will give you a reference point for cost. You can then look up that tyre on independent tyre tests to see how it does against rival tyres. Tyre Reviews is also a good way of reading impartial assessments.
Then look at those rival tyres and see how much they cost relative to the OE tyre your car came on. There’s every chance that if a car left the factory on Michelin tyres, for example, the equivalents from say Hankook will be cheaper. And they might be just as good, if not better.
If we were looking to buy new tyres for our car, we definitely wouldn’t consider part-worn tyres. They can be dangerous and are dubious value for money. If you can’t afford a premium brand, choose a budget tyre.
In our experience, you’ll get better value for money and be more in control of your destiny (and the kind of tyres you buy) if you choose an online retailer. With the convenience of tyres being fitted at a location of your choice, using a traditional garage looks increasingly unappealing. Particularly if it charges significant fitting costs.
I’ve been writing about cars and motoring for more than 25 years. My career started on a long-departed classic car weekly magazine called AutoClassic. I’ve since pitched up at Autosport, Auto Express, the News of the World, Sunday Times and most recently the Daily Telegraph. When I’m not writing about cars and motoring, I’m probably doing some kind of sport or working in my garden.