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:
- Store Unused Tires Correctly
- Leave Seasonal Tires On Rims
- Buy Cost-Effective Summer Tires
Without further ado, let’s learn how to break even on winter tires.
1. Store Unused Tires Correctly
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
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
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.
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.