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No matter what type of car you drive, replacing its tires can get expensive. According to Consumer Reports, drivers paid an average of $137 per tire for their sedans, coupes, and hatchbacks in 2019, while SUV owners paid an average of $162 per tire. Those costs don’t include the installation fees either, which means that a full tire replacement can easily cost close to $1,000 on average. However, a new monthly tire subscription has recently emerged to offer drivers a cheaper solution. But is paying monthly for tire services a good idea?

A monthly tire subscription sounds weird, but it could work

Wall of used tires
Wall of used tires | Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Let’s face it, we currently live in a world where monthly subscriptions reign supreme. Instead of cable, we subscribe to apps like Netflix and Hulu. Instead of shopping for our necessities, we can subscribe to our favorite products and receive them monthly from Amazon. But when it comes to the tires on our cars, they don’t need to be replaced monthly, so why have a subscription?

Well, the answer is simple: just in case. I recently came across a tire subscription service named Treads, which offers drivers five different subscription plans. The first, and cheapest, plan is a “service only” plan that offers services like mobile tire rotations, damaged tire replacement, and flat-tire repairs at any time for only $10 per month. It’s basically like having a mobile tire shop at your disposal for your routine tire maintenance and emergencies.

The actual tire plans are where the service gets more interesting. By signing up for one of the Treads’ tire plans, drivers will get four brand new tires for life in addition to the aforementioned mobile services. That means that when your car’s tires wear down, you can sign up for a new set of tires and a Treads installer will come and install them for you. The type of tires that you get will depend on which subscription tier you sign up for: Economy ($30/month), Standard ($40/month), Premium ($60/month), or Performance ($80/month).

The Treads app is pretty straightforward

A screenshot of the Treads app.
A screenshot of the Treads app. | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit/Treads app

I don’t need tires at the moment as my 2008 Honda S2000 is currently still enjoying its set of Michelin Pilot Sport All-Season 4s, however, I still wanted to see what Treads has to offer. As such, I downloaded the app and poked around. Logging into the app and entering my car’s information was a breeze and within a minute, I was able to look up which tires are currently available.

Unfortunately, Treads only showed me tires for the Standard and Premium plans as there weren’t any available for the other tiers. However, I was still impressed at the selection available to me, which included popular brands like Yokohama, Michelin, Continental, and Bridgestone. Of course, I didn’t sign up for a plan, but it would have been easy had I needed to.

Does the tire subscription plan come with a contract?

A screenshot of the Treads homepage. | Treads

Yes, it does. According to the Treads website, subscribers will agree to a 24-month contract that starts on the day of the first installation. After that time period is up the subscription will be on a month-to-month basis. Also, everything is included in that one monthly fee as Treads prides itself on being transparent.

Is the monthly subscription worth it?

A mechanic removes winter tires from storage to be put on a vehicle.
A mechanic removes winter tires from storage to be put on a vehicle. | PASCAL POCHARD-CASABIANCA/AFP via Getty Images

How and When to Correctly Rotate Your Tires

If you drive a lot — like around 15,000 to 20,000 miles per year or more – then yes, a tire subscription could be worth it. By my calculation, the $40 per month plan that I could subscribe to would come out to $480 per year, or $960 for the first required two years. Considering the Continental Extreme Contact DWS06 Plus tires that are available for my car through the app retail for around $123/per tire, or $492 per set, it could be worth the price of entry for the first year.

However, since I don’t drive my car that much – less 1,000 miles per year – it wouldn’t be worth it for me to pay monthly for a service I’ll never really use. But for those drivers in rideshare or delivery occupations, the Treads subscription service could pay itself off every year and then some.

If you’re interested in checking out Treads, just remember to do the math for your own purposes and see if it could work for your car. If not, then you might end up paying monthly for a subscription service that you never really use like Netflix or the gym that you rarely visit.