Skip to main content

Sure, you’ve heard that with better traction and braking in snow and ice, winter tires are safer. But it seems like you just paid for summer tires: the thought of shelling out more cash for a winter set is disheartening. Don’t worry! If you’re savvy, you can save money on winter tires in the long run. Here are three helpful tire maintenance tricks:

  1. Store Unused Tires Correctly
  2. Leave Seasonal Tires On Rims
  3. Buy Cost-Effective Summer Tires

Without further ado, let’s learn how to break even on winter tires.

1. Store Unused Tires Correctly

Properly storing your off-season tires can help you save money on winter tires in the long run. 31 July 2020, Saxony-Anhalt, Eilsleben: Rico Skiebe (l), fourth-year apprentice automotive mechatronics technician and his brother Justin Skiebe lifting tyres off the shelves in the tyre warehouse of the Eilsleben car dealership. Justin Skiebe will start an apprenticeship as a car mechatronics technician there on 01 August 2020. In the Magdeburg district of the Chamber of Crafts, a good 820 apprentices will start training in the craft on August 1. That is a good ten percent less than a year ago, the Chamber of Trade announced. Photo: Klaus-Dietmar Gabbert/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa (Photo by Klaus-Dietmar Gabbert/picture alliance via Getty Images)
Tire storage | Photo by Klaus-Dietmar Gabbert/picture alliance via Getty Images

Driving on your tires wears them out. But if your summer tires and your winter tires only spend half their life on the car, they should all last twice as long. The key to getting the most use out of a set of seasonal tires is storing them properly. The extreme temperatures swings of the outdoors or an unheated garage will break down tire rubber. Direct sunlight will also damage tires. Finally, the charge from some types of electric engines will wear out tires.

To preserve your tires while they aren’t on your car, pack each tire in an opaque trash bag and place them in a dark, temperate place such as your basement. You can stack your stored tires, but avoid ambient electricity by not placing them directly against a furnace or a water pump. Learn more about storing your tires properly.

2. Leave Your Seasonal Tires on Rims

A technician mounts tires: Leaving your seasonal tires on their own rims helps you save money on winter tires in the long run. Winter tires replacing in compliance to Covid-19 rules during COVID-19 pandemic in Italy on April 30, 2020 in Fabbrico, Italy. (Photo by Emmanuele Ciancaglini/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
A technician mounts a tire on a rim | Photo by Emmanuele Ciancaglini/NurPhoto via Getty Images

When you buy a new set of winter tires, call your local tire shops and ask if mounting and balancing is included when you buy tires. The cost of mounting and balancing four tires can be almost as much as the price of one tire!

When the weather changes you will need to swap your tires back. An auto shop may charge you $15 or more to mount and balance each of your old tires on your rims. That is at least $60 per season or $120 a year!

To avoid this cost, year in and year out, you can buy another set of wheels and leave your winter tires mounted and balanced. You may even be able to find cheaper steel rims from the base model of your car on Craigslist or at a junkyard. If you store your winter tires on these rims, you only need to take them to an auto shop and pay for a tire rotation. If you’re feeling very thrifty you can even swap them yourself.

3. Buy Cost-Effective Summer Tires

A technician swapping car tires: buying cost-effective summer tires can help you save money on winter tires and separate summer tires in the long run. In this picture taken on January 29, 2021, workers check tyres at a repair shop in Colombo. - With no foreign cash coming in as Covid-19 cripples the tourism industry, the government in March imposed a ban on many imports to stop money leaving the country, so that it can pay 4.5 billion USD this year to service its international debt. Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa's ban on "non-essential" items has also seen a surge in prices for other goods, including car tyres, floor tiles and even toilets. (Photo by LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI / AFP) / TO GO WITH 'SRI LANKA-HEALTH-VIRUS-TRADE-ECONOMY,FOCUS' BY AMAL JAYASINGHE (Photo by LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP via Getty Images)
A technician replaces a car’s tires | Photo by LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP via Getty Images

All-season tires may be capable of doing it all but rarely do everything well. Once you have designated winter tires you can shop for special types of summer tires. Some types of tires could save you even more money in the long-run.

Firstly, you can choose tires with a high mileage warranty. Many tire manufacturers sell their tires with a warranty ranging from 30,000 to 100,000 miles. The tires with the longer warranties are made of better rubber compounds and manufactured with a thicker tread so that they will last longer. Premium tires may cost more upfront, but the longer your tires last, the less often you have to pay to have new ones mounted and balanced.

Secondly, you can ask your tire salesperson about fuel-efficient tires. Many tire companies produce “eco” or “green” tires designed to have less rolling resistance and improve your overall MPGs by up to 4%. Tires with less rolling resistance also produce less heat and thus wear out more slowly. Remember, you can also improve your overall MPGs by making certain your tires are inflated properly. Find out how to make your tires last longer.


3 tips to help you save money on your winter tires in the long run. BERLIN, GERMANY - DECEMBER 10:  A car tyre in the snow is pictured on December 10, 2010 in Berlin, Germany. The upper house of parliament (Bundesrat) decided that Germany's car drivers are obliged to have snow tyres on their vehicles from December 4, 2010 for the duration of the winter season.  (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)
A winter t ire in the snow | Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

Spending your hard-earned money on the second set of tires and wheels is a great investment. If you can leave your winter tires on rims you can save money on mounting. If you store all your tires properly off-season, they will last a long time. And owning a designated set of tires for poor weather frees you up to buy long-lasting, fuel-efficient tires for the summer.

RELATED: 7 Tire Cheats That Could Save You Some Serious Money


The Best Method for Cleaning Your Engine is a Little Nuts