I used to buy tires from TireRack - now SimpleTire (how can they do it?)

For years, I have been buying tires from TireRack, opting to mount them and static balance them myself at home.
This week, I called TireRack, to order a set of four passenger tires, where
I picked a traction A, temperature A, and treadwear 400 tire, with load range 99 and speed W, where the price, shipped to my door, was $375 all included.
I had a friend over who suggested Simple Tire, so trying them just to compare, I was shocked that the same set of four tires, same brand, size, model, and everything, shipped to my door was just under three hundred bucks.
Tires are commodities, where, in general, commodities are already selling for the lowest price, where volume makes huge differences, but we already know TireRack has huge volume.
How can Simple Tire basically sell the same tire commodity for a whopping twenty percent less, all things considered? Twenty percent is huge for a commodity.
Have you found that tire prices are dropping drastically?
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So you got suckered. It won't be the last time. You should be used to it by now.
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Unless you're trolling, I don't understand how "I got suckered".
I know tires rather well, at least based on the numbers printed on the sidewall. Probably as well as you do, where we both probably know tires better than most people do.
Considering that all of us buy tires for a couple of cars just about once every couple of years, at the very least, that's a LOT of tires we buy over the decades.
Figure, over fifty years of buying tires, at four tires per car for every two years for two cars, that's about one hundred tires each of us buy in our lifetimes.
I've been buying from TireRack for a very long time, and they were great.
Whom do you buy your tires from online?
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On 3/31/2017 8:15 PM, Jonas Schneider wrote:

Usually Costco, but not online.
What is the overall cost when you factor in the mounting and balance?
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What I love about Costo, for tires, is that they are the *cheapest* (by far) for returning the old tires, where they're only one dollar plus sales tax (which is a strange thing to pay a sales tax to *return* a tire for recycling!).
They take *any* tire, so I've even cleaned up neighbor's back yards for them, and hosed down the tires, and Costco took them at about $1.08 per tire.
What I hate about Costco is that they only have a limited selection of tires, where locally they only have Michelin & Bridgestone (and sometimes Goodyear).
What I love about Costco is that everything is included in the $15 mounting price, which includes mounting and balancing and valves and nitrogen and even free rotations every 6K miles and road hazard repairs (within the life of the tread, prorated if not fixable).
What I hate about Costco is that you have to get there a day before you were born just to get in line and wait along with the rest of the world in front of you (especially during their specials, one of which is going on at this very moment, which is the $70 coupon for a set of 4 tires).
Their prices are just ok.

As mentioned above, Costco is $15 per tire for mounting and balancing, and $1 per tire for recycling - but Costo will NOT mount and balance someone else's tires.
Mounting and balancing prices vary hugely, but on average where I live, mounting and dynamic balancing is anywhere between about $18 and $28 bucks - so I can figure on about $20 per tire.
If you don't ask the right questions, you can pay a lot for a non road-force balancing, but in my experience, expensive balancing is rarely needed (although there's nothing wrong with road force balancing). What's wrong is paying road-force balancing prices for standard dynamic balancing! :)
Nonetheless, as I noted in the first post, I do my own mounting and I sort of do my own balancing, in that I have all the basic Harbor Freight equipment a. Bead breaker (which is has to be modified slightly to actually work) b. Mounting tool (which has to be bolted down or you'll go nuts) c. Static balancer (the hard part is finding the right shape weights) d. Air compressor, hoses, fittings, valves, valve tools, patch tools, etc.
Of course, all that equipment cost me about three hundred bucks, which at twenty bucks a tire, took the first 15 tires just to break even, but I'm past that stage now.
While I fix a flat at home (patching from the inside when I'm not on the road - otherwise I plug from the outside when I'm on the road), I mostly just rotate the tires, roughly on the changes of seasons.
While I'm fully familiar with rotation patterns for unidirectional tires, I still swap sides, except in the winter, where it rains out here. In the winter, I make sure the tires go back on unidirectionally.
I'm also familiar with match mounting where I match mount the wheels to the tires, given whatever markings (usually red or yellow dots, and sometimes both) the manufacturer provides on the tires (where I look it up each time since the meaning is general, but still manufacturer specific).
Every once in a while I get a vibration after mounting. Not much, but a vibration nonetheless. I take the wheels off and move them, one by one to the front left (drivers side) where the steering wheel feels it the most (although, in practice, the front right is about the same sensitivity).
In a really bad case, I'd remount them but I've never had to do that yet. Just moving the wheels from front to rear generally pinpoints the vibrating tire.
For example, when I move a vibrating wheel & tire assembly to the rear, the vibration drops dramatically, so it's pretty easy to isolate which tires are statically balanced but not dynamically balanced.
What I've found, in practice, is that out of balance wheels is actually rather rare, if they're nicely statically balanced.
Once in about every dozen mounts (or so) they're out of balance dynamically even though they're perfect statically. I have OEM alloy wheels which, I think, helps with the balance since steel wheels, I'm told, vary much more than do the alloy wheels.
Given that a typical tire shop probably changes hundreds of tires a day, that means that dozens of tires in a day are out of balance for them, so it makes sense for THEM to dynamically balance EVERY wheel, but for someone who takes his time at home to statically balance on decent wheels, my experience is that very few wheels actually need dynamic balancing.
To answer your question, in practice, I only pay for mounting and balancing on every dozenth wheel assembly or so. So all I pay for are the tires, since most of the time I get free shipping (saving, for example, what Tire Rack charges, which is generally around $15 to $18 per tire just for shipping by UPS ground, with each tire being about 25 pounds).
In the end, the total out-of-pocket cost for me is just the cost of the tires and the buck each for 1-1/2-inch valves and the cost of the stick-on weights (about fifty cents per wheel roughly).
Including all those costs, my latest set of ultra high performance (UHP) tires cost $70 each, which nets me directional all-season tires with a reasonably low profile and straight-line wet traction on asphalt greater than 0.54g, straight-line wet traction on concrete greater than 0.38g.
The curb weight of my sedan is 3500 pounds, and the OEM tires were load range 95 (6,084 pounds), while these new tires are 99 (6,836 pounds), which is more than enough for a safety factor (at the standard max of 42psi).
The OEM tires were speed index H (130mph) wherease these new tires are speed index V (149mph), which again indicates a better tire over the OEM. The speed index is really a temperature index, where these tires are UTQG rated at temperature A (over 115mph), which is as good as the UTQG gets.
Likewise, the UTQG for traction is AA which is as good as UTQG gets, and the friction coefficient on my new tires is 0.89 based on a calculation off the treadwear (u = 2.25/Treadwear**0.15).
That treadwear is 5 times that of the standard government uniroyal test tire in the Texas tests by the manufacturer. The manufacturer is allowed to underrate that number, but they're not allowed to overrate it, so, it's a believable number, although it never directly correlates to miles because the conditions in the real world differ greatly from the test conditions.
While someone said I was cheated by paying about $70 all included for each tire, I think I got a pretty good deal, although I just looked and realized I could have saved a few bucks had I ordered from a different online web site (tires-easy.com) but I don't know what their shipping costs would have been.
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Oh yeh, I thought you were the Harbor Fright guy...
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I'm apparently a shill for Harbor Freight, in addition to SimpleTire. :)
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On 03/31/2017 11:12 PM, Jonas Schneider wrote:

When Costco has a good deal on tires, I order them at Costco.com, specifying the warehouse where I want them installed. They email me to let me know that the tires have arrived, and I call to make an appointment for installation, and I do my other shopping while they install the tires.
And from time to time they have had a 1 cent per tire installation special -- available only if the tires are ordered at costco.com.
Perce
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I don't buy tires online. The local dealer is much cheaper and has free mounting & balancing. Tire Rack is now a public TV sponsor so in my *opinion* is another mark against it. Their "installers" are just above marginal.
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You'd have to pick a tire and price that your "local dealer" charges, but I highly suspect that it's not even close to true that your dealer is much cheaper than online tires.
I can't prove that statement without information about your dealer and prices, but one argument is that you'd have a hard time naming *anything* that is cheaper at a brick-and-mortar store than it is online.
The only "additional" charges onlines are shipping, which I agree, for tires, is appreciable though, at anywhere between zero (which is what I pay for shipping) to about $18 to $20 for ground shipping per tire.

What is a "public tv sponsor"?

Agree with you on the fact the tire-rack "recommended installers" are just one step ahead of criminal.
However, I'll wager your tire dealer is one of them perhaps? https://tires.tirerack.com/tires/List%20Of%20Recommended%20Installers https://www.tirerack.com/installer/Installer.jsp
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On 03/31/2017 07:09 PM, Jonas Schneider wrote:

It must depend on the particular tires: I just compared the price of Michelin Premier A/S at TireRack.com and SimpleTire.com. TireRack.com was cheaper including Road Hazard Protection and shipping than SimpleTire.com with free shipping but without Road Hazard Protection.
Perce
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On 03/31/2017 07:09 PM, Jonas Schneider wrote:

The local tire shop matches TireCrack and SimpletonTire prices, labor is extra but it's very reasonable.
They also take appointments so you don't have to wait in line for hours. On the off-chance a problem shows up, they take care of that too.
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Matching always made no sense to me, but maybe it makes sense to you since a *lot* of people swoon over price matching.
Matching gets you absolutely nothing. Worse, you may end up with less. Rarely will you end up with more.
If you told me the local shop *beat* the price of TireCrack & SimpletonTire, that would be something to swoon over.
But merely matching? What good is merely matching?
What do you get out of a match? Absolutely nothing.

OK. Now you're talking about "something" and not "nothing". You're talking about "time".
Somehow, you "save time" by "price matching" at the local tire installer.
Saving "time" is ok, but I do my own mounting and balancing, so, saving "time" isn't in my equation (since it costs me more time just to file this thread than it does to mount a tire).
Is the only thing you save time? If the shop merely matches your online price, then what are they giving you?
They're giving you nothing by way of price, and, worse, you may get less than nothing.
So let's compare the two situations.
a. You have chosen, out of all the tires out there, a specific tire and a price shipped to either your door, or to the door of the online installer (if you don't install them yourself at home).
b. Let's say you chose the tire that I chose, which is this exact tire: $66 final cost including shipping, tax, mounting, balancing, valve, & recycling for Hancook Ventus V2 Concept2 H457 P225/55R16
c. Here are some rough prices on the net for that exact tire:
http://i.imgsafe.org/fc51390d4c.gif
d. You print that out and go to your local tire shop.
e. Do they have that tire in stock?
f. Almost certainly not. Do they still price match? Dunno.
g. Let's assume they price matched, and they can "get" the tire.
h. Now you lost all that time you saved.
i. Two days later, the tire is in the shop, and you go down for your second appointment.
j. They mount and balance your tires and you pay them, plus you pay their price for a new valve, and you pay their price for recycling, and they try to upsell the heck out of you on road-hazard warrantees and free lifetime alignments, all of which you resist successfully.
k. Then they tax you and you walk out the door satisfied.
But what did you gain?
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On 4/1/2017 11:32 AM, Jonas Schneider wrote:

Depends on the tire shop. My dealer will come close, but may not match. What he does is give me good service year round no matter what the problem is. If you never ever have a tire problem, price is a big factor but when you cut a sidewall, bend a rim, damage a valve, my local guy will fix you up on the spot and if your tire is not in stock you will still leave with four tires and a spare.
Keeps money in the neighborhood too. If I'm spending $600+ on a set of tires, another 20 or 30 bucks is not a deal killer for superior service.
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My argument is simple. If all you gain is a "price match", then you gained nothing.
Of course, there are things you "can" gain, like shipping costs, or down time, or convenience, or keeping the shop in business, or making friends, or free coffee, or whatever, but my point is that matching price gains you absolutely nothing by way of price.

What you're saying is fair enough that, while price matching gains you nothing, keeping your business "in the family" gains you "good service".
I have nothing against good service, but since I mount and balance my own tires, I can't think of why I would need that good service?
But if good service is really what you were after, then "price matching" isn't part of that equation, as making the local brick-and-mortar guy lower his price to online rates isn't likely to make him want to give you better service, is it?

We're all old men right? Are we really all that afraid of a "tire problem"?
What's the absolute worst thing that can happen to a tire?
The worst thing is a non-repairable injury, right? What's so bad about that?
All you do is put the spare tire on, and fire up a web browser, and order a new tire shipped to your house or to the local tire installer.
Twenty bucks paid to the local installer, and your worst fears have been repaired with a brand new tire.
Likewise, if you damage a valve, the worst thing is that you have to pay a buck fifty or two bucks at the local auto parts store for a new valve, which can be both removed and installed from the outside, if you know how.
Even if it has to be removed from the inside, what's the big deal? It's a two-dollar tire valve after all (about twenty-five cents to fifty cents online in bulk).
Now bending a rim is similar in that you pop on the spare wheel and then you ship your rim out to be straightened, which happens a *lot* with my soft alloy OEM rims, for example. It's one hundred bucks to have your rim rightened.
Even your local tire shop is gonna send out your rim to be straightened, since he's not likely to have the equipment himself.
My argument is that it's just a wheel and a tire and a valve and some air, and you already have a spare, so, you're not risking anything by not having a shop that loves you to death.
Even if the local shop hated you, they'd still put mount a new tire and valve and throw away the old tire for about twenty bucks, so you're not even saving anything by having a guy love you to death.
Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't see the risk here.

What you're saying is basic supply and demand economics. If you are flush with money, then money isn't important to you. Nothing wrong with that as it's the most basic of all economic theories.
To spend 600 dollars on four tires is astronomical. What kind of car has replacement tires that are $150 each?
I'm not at all saying you can't find tires that *sell* for $150 each, because they are all over the place. But if you take the OEM spec for your tires, and if you can't find a tire that meets that OEM spec, and that isn't a *lot* less than $150, then you didn't look all that hard.
And that's OK. If money isn't important, then there's no difference to you between $400 and $600. That's normal for anyone flush with money by the way, so it's not abnormal in the least.
However, you're NOT getting the best price:performance deal at 600 bucks for a set of four tires. That's fine, if you're flush with money, simply because money isn't important to anyone who has a lot of it.
I don't, so I buy the best price:performance I can get, and I mount and balance my own wheels. I save money and get a better job that way.
But back to the point, if you're price matching to give your best friend the business, then that's fine - but you gain nothing whatsoever on the price by price matching.
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On 4/1/2017 4:48 PM, Jonas Schneider wrote:

Very few of us mount our own tires. I can't justify the investment when I buy a set of tires every18 months at best.

Let's call it "good value". I don't mind paying a little more at times but I certainly don't want to get gouged. I try to check out prices before buying anything. Lowest price is not always the cheapest buy.

Ask the guy that has a flat spare because he never check it.

You'd be right if I was driving my '62 Corvair with 13" wheels. I need 245/45R18 and cheap ones ar $92 and go up to $260. I drive enough to justify a good tire over one that just has to go 2 miles to the grocery store.

Questionable. I want a good tire when I hit 100 mph so I;m willing to pay for it.
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I think most of us don't do "hard" things, where we define "hard" any way we want.
For example, probably none of us roof our own homes. Probably none of us pump our own septic systems. Many of us don't even maintain our own pool chemistry.
In the realm of automobile maintenance, most of us don't replace clutches, nor do most of us blueprint an engine. Probably we do basic repairs, but I agree with you that most people consider both mounting tires and aligning the steering and suspension to be jobs we routinely farm out.
Having said that we farm out the "hard" jobs, you'll note that I think your statement is completely incorrect that we can't "justify the investment".
Mounting and balancing tools are about three hundred bucks, where it's trivial to justify that investment based on your cycle of 18 months per vehicle for a set of tires.
At 20 per tire the equipment pays for itself in 15 tires, which for two cars would be about six years (at 18 months per set) if I did the math right.
Likewise, alignment equipment is similarly priced at about three to five hundred bucks, which at a price of alignments at about a hundred bucks out here (on sale), would pay for itself in just a few years for a two-car family.
Everyone "says" they can't justify the price - but the real reason we don't do alignment is that there is a tremendous amount of thinking that has to do on in order to convert length to angles and vice versa.
Similarly, the reason people don't do their own mounting and balancing is not the justification of the price - but it's the hard work involved - and also a bit of learning about technique.

There are no blanket absolutes, where I agree with you that most people zoom into price and price alone as the arbiter of quality.
The main problem I see with humans is that they're basically incapable of handling the detail that is required to get the best price-to-performance value of complex objects.
For example, how many times have you seen someone shop for car batteries by warrantee length, for example? That's ridiculous. Yet people do it. You know why? They can't handle the complexity of amps and amp hours.
Likewise with tires. They buy them by treadwear warrantee claims, as if that was in the least meaningful. You know why? Because people who can't handle detail can still handle numbers. To them, a tire with a 45K mile warrantee is better than a tire with a 35K mile warrantee - simply because they can process the fact that 45K is a larger number than 35K is.
My theory is that the reason why people think that price is an indication of quality is only because they don't know how to determine quality - but - they can figure out price. So, to make their simple minds process the problem set, they immediately assume a $500 tire is better than a $100 tire.

I've seen people who get flats park their car on the shoulder, and call for a ride (or call for AAA). Mostly women, where, I agree, some SUV tires are extremely heavy, and it's not worth getting run over at night in the rain while you're changing a spare tire.
But most of us can change our own tires.
Besides, most of us carry a 12-VDC compressor in the trunk along with the OEM jack, triangle reflectors, chocks, spare tools, a flashlight, etc.

How do you define a "good tire"?
Your argument above seems to assume a $92 tire is worse than a $260 tire. But your argument didn't say a single thing about what you use to determine what a "good tire" is.
Price has absolutely no bearing on quality. Price is only an indication of demand.
There are a *lot* of not-so-intelligent people out there who will pay upwards of tens of thousands of dollars for a diamond-studded watch, but that doesn't mean you get any better of a time piece than a ten-dollar Timex.

AFAIK, no standard passenger car tire is legal to sell in the USA that won't go 112 mph. The "S" rating is the slowest tire that is allowed to be sold in the USA for standard-use passenger on-road tires.
That means you won't be able to find a tire for your car that can't go 100 mph, especially at that size.
Nonetheless, how would you compare these tires at Walmart today?
$73 Milestar MS932 Sport Radial Tire, 245/45R18 100V https://www.walmart.com/ip/Milestar-MS932-Sport-Radial-Tire-245-45R18-100V/55190013
$80 245/45ZR18 100W BSW Radar Dimax R8 Tires https://www.walmart.com/ip/245-45ZR18-100W-BSW-Radar-Dimax-R8-Tires/55376322
$81 Rydanz ROADSTER R02 Tire P245/45R18 100W https://www.walmart.com/ip/Rydanz-ROADSTER-R02-Tire-P245-45R18-100W/52292477
$105 Nexen N5000 Plus Tire 245/45R18XL 100V https://www.walmart.com/ip/Nexen-N5000-Plus-Tire-245-45R18XL-100V/39511145
$114 Antares Ingens A1 245/45R18 100W Tire https://www.walmart.com/ip/Antares-Ingens-A1-245-45-18-100-W-Tires/49651271
$115 General GMAX AS-03 Tire 245/45ZR18XL 100W https://www.walmart.com/ip/General-GMAX-AS-03-Tire-245-45ZR18XL/33092363
$120 Uniroyal Tiger Paw GTZ All Season Tire 245/45ZR18 96W https://www.walmart.com/ip/Uniroyal-Tiger-Paw-GTZ-Tire-245-45ZR18-96W-BW/20531817
$126 Kumho ECSTA 4XII Tire 245/45R18 100W https://www.walmart.com/ip/Kumho-ECSTA-4XII-KU22-Tire-245-45ZR18XL-100W/44608099
$141 General Altimax RT43 Tire 245/45R18 100V Tire https://www.walmart.com/ip/General-Altimax-RT43-Tire-245-45R18-100V/42955397
$151 245/45-18 HANKOOK VENTUS S1 Noble 2 H452 100W BSW Tires https://www.walmart.com/ip/Ventus-S1-Noble2-H452-245-45ZR18XL/43079164
$151 Goodyear Eagle RS-A Tire P245/45R18 https://www.walmart.com/ip/Goodyear-Eagle-RS-A-Tire-P245-45R18/5172553
$154 BF Goodrich g-Force COMP 2 A/S Tire 245/45ZR18 96W https://www.walmart.com/ip/BF-Goodrich-g-FORCE-COMP-2-A-S-Tire245-45ZR18-96W/44658605
$157 Cooper CS5 Ultra Touring 100V Tire 245/45R18 https://www.walmart.com/ip/Cooper-CS5-Ultra-Touring-100V-Tire-245-45R18/47406871
$157 Yokohama Advan Sport A/S 100W Tire 245/45R18 https://www.walmart.com/ip/Yokohama-Advan-Sport-A-S-100W-Tire-245-45R18/47407491
$171 Continental Extreme Contact DWS06 Tire 245/45ZR18XL 100Y https://www.walmart.com/ip/Continental-Extreme-Contact-DWS06-Tire-245-45ZR18XL-100Y/44786691
$175 Pirelli PZero All Season Plus 245/45R18XL 100Y https://www.walmart.com/ip/Pirelli-PZero-All-Season-Plus-245-45R18XL-100Y/50554992
$216 Michelin Pilot MXM4 Tire P245/45R18 96V https://www.walmart.com/ip/Pilot-HXMXM4/12177683
$232 Vogue Custom Built Radial VIII 245/45R18 100 V Tires https://www.walmart.com/ip/Vogue-Custom-Built-Radial-VIII-245-45R18-100-V-Tires/50753784
HINT: I know how to pick the best tire in that bunch - and it's not by price alone.
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On 4/1/2017 10:24 PM, Jonas Schneider wrote:

There was a time I did all of that stuff. As I got older, I found it easier to write checks than drop a tranny. I still put in the windshield washer fluid though.

On a monetary basis, yes. On a practical basis, no. I'm not willing to invest a lot of time and space to save $20 when I can earn that in less time than it takes to mount the tire.

Work is a factor. Some people actually enjoy the sense of accomplishment more than the money saved. Or perhaps you can do a little part time brain surgery and earn enough in an hour to pay for a full set of tires, including mount and balance.

Given the price difference it may be better, but not 5X better. I find that as price goes up, value goes down. Applies to most everything we buy. Double the price and get 50% better, tops. Is it better to have a fully loaded Chevy or a stripped down Buick at the same price?

My car came with 5 ears of roadside assistance. Last time a tire had to be changed I sat in the car at night in the rain for 20 minutes for the guy to show up. Nice feature. I don't recall the last time I used a lug wrench, but is is over 25 years.

You have quite a list of tires. Some do not give a traction rating though. Of course, I'd want A or AA. What the specs don't show is how well constructed the tire is, how well it rides, how quiet it is. Name brand means little too. There are plenty of lesser known companies that make excellent products.
I a curious as to which one you would buy and why.

You have my attention
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Like you, I used to do more stuff myself. Now I do "deferred maintenance". :)

What you just said is the real reason most people don't mount their own tires and align their suspension. Over a decade, it would cost only $800 for two cars' mounting, and $1000 for alignments.
You can make more than that by not taking the appreciable time that it would take to just LEARN how to do mounting and alignments.
My only beef with that sentiment is that people don't tell the truth to themselves when they say that the reason they don't do it is the cost of the tools.
The reason is, as you said, that they have better things to do. And that's ok.

This is true. It's why people do crossword puzzles. For me, I get a sense of empowerment. I enjoy the freedom and convenience of fixing a flat, for example, at home. So, if the tire is low, I limp home and fix it. And when I put it back on, I feel safe and satisfied.

Absolutely. This is the real reason most people don't align and mount. It's because they have better things to do. All I'm asking is for people to be truthful to themselves.

We're both old men so I don't have to explain that price is an indication of demand only whereas quality may or may not correspond to demand.
Certainly higher-quality food, for example, would be in demand, but, it's well known in the grocery business that when fruits and vegetables are plentiful, the price goes down and the quality goes up.
When it's off season, or if there was a drought, the price goes up and the quality goes down.
My main argument is that anyone who says "you get what you pay for", hasn't thought the problem set through.
You actually get what you get, and you pay what *others* are willing to pay (since the masses set the price ... you don't set the price).
My hypothesis is that those who use price as a major indicator of quality are generally those who don't understand that which they are buying.
They use a number as an indicator of quality only because two numbers are easy for them to measure against (whereas cold cranking amps and amp hours are harder for them to compare for two reasons). 1. Technical specs need to be understood, in and of themselves 2. Technical specs often need to be balanced against one another
I may be wrong - but that's my theory.

I can't disagree. Look at how much off-season fruits and vegetables cost.
If we somewhat equate "value" to "quality", we can note that the quality of fruit goes down in the off season, and yet the price goes up.
The quality goes down as the price goes up simply due to supply and demand, where individuals don't get to determine either the supply nor the demand.
As an individual, you either pay that price - or you don't pay that price.
If there are enough people who pay that price, the price stays high.
If there aren't enough people to pay that price, the supply either disappears, or the price goes down.
So, the price isn't any indicator of quality nor value. It's merely an indicator of aggregate demand.

You have a good point which is that for every dollar increase in price, you often get exponentially less increase in value.
So, for example, a one hundred dollar car has a certain price:performance ratio, but a two hundred thousand dollar car probably doesn't have a 2:1 price:performance ratio. It's probably far less than 2:1.

Is it just me, or do we get fewer flats nowadays? I remember, as a kid, that I got flats in my bias-ply tires rather frequently. Now I only get about one or two flats a year.
I find that where I drive has a lot to do with flats. Where I live there is a bunch of new construction, and lots of remodeling and landscaping.
Personally, I think nuts and bolts fall off the truck, but I can't prove that.
My wife has AAA which I'm ok with since it makes her feel good. Truth be known, she calls me and I take care of the problem.
But she feels safer knowing they'll tow her or give her gas or jump her car or fix a flat, or jimmy her locks, or whatever it is that they do.
I even once called them because I parked on a hill in what turned out to be mud and my RWD sedan couldn't back out and I couldn't go forward as the nose was buried into the hillside.
So I called her AAA, and they took it even though I'm not female. I don't think the driver of the tow truck cares, as long as he gets paid. He pulled me out of that mud (sideways!) and I drove off intact.
So AAA has its merits.

Now we get to the point of deciding how to buy a tire! What matters is what matters to you.
But we can assume, as you did, that wet straightline traction is critical. https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tiretech/techpage.jsp?techidH
For the size you mentioned, you'd probably never want to ever go below A, and you'd almost certainly want AA. A = above 0.47g on wet asphalt, above 0.35g on concrete AA = above 0.54g on wet asphalt, above 0.38g on concrete
The treadwear rating also gives you an average dry friction coefficient using the formula that the average dry friction coefficient is 2.25 divided by the treadwear rating raised to the 0.15 power.

Actually, the specs do tell you how well constructed the tire is.
The load range tells you very much how well constructed the tire is. The speed rating tells you that also. Also the XL designation (aka the ply rating) tells you that. As does the temperature rating.

While Goodyear & Michelin marketing people must hate intelligent thinkers like you and me, I have to agree with you that brand name, for tires, is meaningless.
Just as there are no bad brake pads sold in the US, there are no bad tires sold in the USA.
The specs that must be printed on friction materials tells you what you need to know, and the specs that must be embossed into the tire sidewall tell you what you need to know.
There are just various levels of good.

My selection process is as easy as simple math, but my purely logical selection process requires technical knowledge sufficient to understand the specs printed on the sidewall of every tire.
I didn't look at the sidewall specs of all those tires, but my process would be the same with choosing your tire as with choosing mine.
A. There are no absolutes when tradeoffs are involved, but generally: 1. I would compare everything against the OEM tire spec! 2. That is, any tire that meets OEM specs goes on the short list. 3. And any tire that fails any of the OEM specs, is tossed out.
B. Then I would rate highest what I care about most. 1. If that is wet traction, then I'd put the AA tires on top. 2. But if that was treadwear, I'd put the 500s above the 100s. 3. If it was price, then the cheapest OEM-spec tire would be on top.
One by one, I'd rank the tires in the order of the specs I care about. Assuming it was wettraction/treadwear/price, then I would rank like this: a. AA 500 $150 b. AA 400 $100 c. A 500 $75
There is rarely an exact tie, but if there were an exact tie, then I'd make the decision based on other factors, such as warranty or the smile on the salesman's face, or whatever the "soft" tie-breaker criteria may be.
The problem where most people give up is how to rank those three criteria above on "value".
As you noted, making the value tradeoffs are the bitch here.
For example, I can see myself choosing *any* of those sample tires, based on those value tradeoffs. a. AA 500 $150 has the best wet traction & the best treadwear b. AA 400 $100 has the best wet traction & is a lot cheaper c. A 500 $75 is a lot cheaper and has good wet traction & treadwear

If this was my wife's car, I'd probably choose "a" but if it was mine, I'd probably choose "c"; but my point is that you only look at tires that meet or exceed OEM specs, and then you list the tires by teh specs YOU care about most.
Then you make tradeoffs based on the specs.
The point is that you don't make those tradeoffs based on brand, sidewall color, tread pattern, boy-racer reviews, dealer recommendations, etc., since most people are looking for someone else to tell them how to buy tires, where, my premise is that the sidewall tells you everything you need to know.
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On 4/2/2017 1:08 PM, Jonas Schneider wrote:

Chicken wings used to be cheap. I remember years ago buying a 5 pound bag for a quarter. Yes, 5 cents a pound or in today's money, about 36 cents a pound. Since becoming popular they are selling for about $2,50 a pound. For dinner tonight I'm making thighs on sale for 99 cents.

Far fewer flats. Less destructive too, in a sense. Seems they lose air slower so that nail may be in there and give you a day or two hint you have a problem. (assuming you look at the tires once in a while) Goes low slow so you can drive to a place to take care of it instead of in the dark on the highway.

Thanks for taking the time to explain that. I'll be looking for tires in the fall and will use that process. In the past, snow was a factor, but now that I'm retired, I may never intentionally drive in snow again. Sure, it can happen but planning ahead eliminates 99% of it.
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