Buying tires online is a significantly different game than going to the local tire store. Fortunately, this task is much easier than you might assume, even if you’ve never bought tires before.
Believe it or not, there are all kinds of perks attached to buying tires online, as opposed to doing so at a physical retailer. The key is going into the shopping process with the right information; most of which can be found with a quick look at your current set of tires and a critical assessment of your unique driving needs. The rest is a piece of cake!
In this guide, you will learn the proper steps to buy tires online from start to finish. This includes understanding what the numbers on your tires mean, which brands are ideal for your budget, how to use a tire selector tool, and much, much more.
Without further ado, let’s get started.
The first (and most important) piece of information you need when shopping for tires online is your tire size. If you get this wrong, the tires will be useless – as you won’t be able to mount them on the wheels.
The good news is the size is displayed on the sidewall of your current tires and you can figure out your exact measurements in a matter of seconds; you just need to know what the numbers mean.
Let’s use this example of a common passenger tire sidewall:
Starting from the far right side, the “M+S” symbol (while not directly related to the size of the tire) stands for Mud + Snow. This symbol indicates the tire has all-season capability based on standardized tire industry testing.
The “P” indicates that it is a passenger tire, typically used on coupes, sedans and CUV’s. If you see a tire marked with “LT,” this means it is for Light Truck, meaning pick up truck, Jeep or SUV, rather than a commercial truck or van.
Now, let’s get into the actual sizing of the tire.
- The “215” is the width of the tire from sidewall to sidewall in millimeters.
- The “60” refers to the aspect ratio of the tire. This ratio compares the tire’s height of the cross section to the width. In the image above, the “60” means that the height is equal to 60% of the width.
- The “R” means the construction of the tire is radial, meaning the layers run radially across the tire. If you see a “B” marked here, this indicates a bias construction, meaning the layers run diagonally across the tire.
- The “16” represents the diameter of the tire in inches.
- The “94” is the load index of the tire. The load index is how much weight the tire can handle when properly inflated. If you look at a load index chart, you can see exactly how much weight this number represents. The 94 code means the tire is rated for about 1,480 lbs. (670 kg).
- The “V” stands for the tire’s speed rating. Speed rating refers to the top speed of which the tire can function properly.
So, when it’s time to start shopping for tires online, you will need to enter these figures into the tire calculator on the website.
From here, you will see all the options available in your size. Keep in mind, determining your tire size is the most important part of the process to buy tires online. Be sure you triple check these numbers before making the final purchase.
Select by Brand
If you are shopping for tires by brand, this is where you will see an incredible amount of variety. Car tires are one of the most (if not THE most) diverse aspects of the auto industry. There are hundreds of tire brands out there, and each has their own set of pros and cons.If you want to buy tires from a premium manufacturer, brands like Bridgestone, Goodyear, Continental, Dunlop, Pirelli, and Michelin are among the elites. The cost of new tires from these companies are certainly high, but the products offer superior performance and lead the way in innovative tire technology.
For example, The Dunlop Winter Maxx line is highly regarded for its advanced silica Nano-Fit Rubber tread compound, which has an asymmetric design for extra grip in cold conditions. Moreover, the 3D zig-zag interlocking sipes work to enhance the block rigidity for optimal traction on snow and ice. This model is also praised for the JointLess Brand Technology within the internal structure of the tire, which provides incredible strength and durability.
When your budget requires you to buy tires that are more “middle-of-the-road,” brands like Cooper, Achilles, Falken, Federal, and Mastercraft are your best bets. Now, just because these tires are not as expensive as the premium brands, it does not always mean you have to sacrifice value with these options. The new Cooper Discoverer AT3 line offers a plethora of new tire technology for impeccable performance on dirt, gravel, sand, or mix terrains, as well as on wet, dry, and snowy roads. In many ways, this tire is right up there with similar ones from premium brands.
If you are hoping to buy tires online for cheap, there are plenty of brands out there that offer value near comparable to premium brands, but come at a much lower price. Some examples of these brands are Vogue, Lionhart, Lexani, Doral, Westlake, and Sailun. These will certainly give you a good bang for your buck! On a side note, Sailunis one of the rare cheap tire brands that offers warranties on most models.
The Lexani LXTR model is a fantastic all-season M+S high performance tire that offers a smart design with four circumferential grooves. This construction is meant to
reduce hydroplaning and provide a solid center-feel for enhanced cornering at higher speeds.
Regardless of your budget, there are plenty of tire brands that offer fantastic benefits. Do your research and see which one(s) best fits your needs. Using the Tire Selector Tool, it’s super easy to buy tires online based on your desired brand.
Keep in mind, the best place to buy tires online is a store that has a variety of brands ranging from premium to economical.
Select by Categories
When you buy tires online, basing your search on a certain category is one of the easiest parts of the process.
In a nutshell, the category is closely related to the type of vehicle. There are eight major categories to choose from.
Passenger tires refer to models made to fit small economy coupes, sedans, sports cars, and crossovers (CUVs). For the most part, these categories of tires are meant for on-road driving. As most of the well-known tire brands produce passenger tires, there is A LOT of variation in this category. To reiterate, Goodyear, Michelin, Continental, Dunlop, Achilles, and Bridgestone lead the way in quality of passenger tires.
As the name implies, this category of tires is directed at larger vehicles like light trucks, SUVs, and Jeeps. Being as how these vehicles are often needed to function on treacherous roads and in less-then-ideal driving conditions, there is a lot of versatility in truck/SUV tires. Depending on your needs, there are models with capabilities ranging from optimal fuel economy on the highway all the way to the toughest off-roading conditions – and everything in between. For on-road capability, top brands include Goodyear, Michelin, Continental, Dunlop, Achilles, and Bridgestone. If you need a tire to handle more rugged conditions, Mud Claw is a fantastic truck tire for off-roading.
When it comes to hauling boats, travel trailers, construction equipment, or any other sort of cargo, you need a good set of trailer tires to handle the weight and reduce roll resistance. Simply using a passenger or truck tire for your trailer won’t do the trick. These tires come in radial or bias ply; be sure you are considering the manufacturer’s recommendation when you buy tires for your trailer. As a rule of thumb, trailer tires are not something you want to skimp on. Some of the top trailer tire brands are Greenball, Milestar, Nanco, TowMaster, Velocity, and Carlisle.
4. Commercial Truck
Commercial tires are specifically designed to carry heavy loads for long distances with increased stability. As commercial trucks drive in all kinds of weather and road conditions, most of these tires are built for excellent performance in rain, snow, ice, as well as hot and dry roads. Top brands for commercial tires include Michelin, Bridgestone, and Goodyear.
Quad/ATV/UTV tires are built to handle just about any terrain you can imagine. There are certain lines that are designed for snowy mountain paths, desert sands, heavy mud, and much, much more. When you buy tires online, you need to look for the terrain these types of models can handle, as their uses can be quite specific. Top brands in this category include Deestone, Titan, Greenball, Carlisle, and WDT.
6. Lawn & Garden/Golf Cart
If you are looking for specialty tires for your golf cart or lawn equipment, there are all kinds of options available when you buy tires online. There are lots of little factors that come into play that many tend to overlook. For example, if most of the use is on dirt, your equipment will require a different tire than one intended for turf use. In the process of buying tires online for this category, you need a complete view of your driving situation and everything it involves. Top brands for lawn & garden/golf carts are WDT, Power King, and Greenball.
The variation of construction tires is very extensive. Whether you are buying tires online for forklifts, skid steers, backhoes, loaders, etc., there is an ideal tire option to fit your exact needs. Thankfully, Tires Easy makes it overly simple to pick a model that matches your equipment and desired capability. Popular tire brands for construction equipment include Deestone, Carlisle, and Nanco.
Farm tires have a very distinct category. Tires for agricultural equipment must have extremely heavy load carrying capabilities, puncture resistance, long-lasting wear, and the ability to push through treacherous terrain. Greenball, Deestone, and Carlisle are among the top brands for farm tires.
Now, understanding the category you need to buy tires online is perhaps the easiest step of the process. To get more specific to your precise needs, click on “All Categories and Subcategories” to get more detailed.
Select by Car Model
When you buy tires online, there are many different ways to start the search. If you are buying tires for your passenger vehicle or truck/SUV, kicking off the process with your car model is very straightforward. To see the most relevant options to your needs, there are five key bits of information you must have ready:
- The year your vehicle was produced.
- The vehicle manufacturer.
- The model.
- The style of the model.
- The tire size.
With the potential exception of the tire size, all of this information can be found on the vehicle’s title.
What happens if you cannot locate the title?
Fortunately, it’s easy to find all the information you need to buy tires based on the car model – even if you can’t find the title. All you need to do is look at the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number), which is a 17-digit number typically found on the side of the driver’s door.
For example, let’s say you drive a 2015 Toyota Corolla LE. As you fill in the information (starting with the year), the Selector Tool will narrow down the options so you are paired with relevant tire models for your vehicle.
Searching by car model is perhaps the easiest and best way to buy tires online for passenger vehicles.
Read Customer Reviews and Ratings
Generally speaking, customer reviews have quickly become a make-or-break factor in purchasing decisions – a reality that goes way beyond tires.
As you buy tires online, the reviews should certainly play a role in your decision making. Start by listing out your most important needs, then prioritize them.
For instance, let’s say you drive a small sedan, have a long daily commute, and live in an area that experiences extreme winter conditions. Your list of priorities might look something like this:
- Fuel economy.
- Good performance in wintery conditions.
- Long tread wear.
- Smooth, comfortable ride.
Once you have finalized your list of priorities, let it be your guide as you browse tires and read up on the reviews. For instance, if you look at the reviews for the Goodyear Ultra Grip Winter tire, you will see a number of commonalities talking about the capability in snow and grip in different weather conditions.
On the flip side, you should also be looking into the not-so-great feedback of certain tires. If you are looking at a particular model and see common threads within the reviews talking about poor fuel efficiency or shoddy performance on snowy roads, this is a good sign that you should keep looking for a better solution.
Check the Payment Options
Hopefully by this point, you have done the proper due diligence and have found the perfect tire model to fit your needs. As you move to buy tires online, you want to be sure they accept your preferred method of payment. Most online tire stores accept the major credit cards like Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover.
Nowadays, many sites accept more simplistic payment options, like PayPal or Google Checkout.
Many sites list the payment options towards the bottom of the homepage.
In addition to the payment options accepted, you should look into the tire financing options if you need to buy tires in several installments. Most tire outlets partner with credit services that allow you to make a series of payments with varying APR percentages.
Tires Easy partners with Affirm to offer credit lines for easy tire financing with a payment plan (upon approval). Rates range from 10% to 30% APR, with 18-month financing options for online orders of over $1,000. Regardless of the plan, you can buy tires and have them shipped immediately.
We also work with PayPal Credit; an option you can select at the checkout. If you live in the United States, you might be eligible for a payment plan in which there is no interest if you pay off the balance in 6 months or less!
It never hurts to look into discount tire financing options before you make the final purchase.
The Return Policy
After you buy tires online, there is always somewhat of an unknown – just like any other product you buy on the internet. Ultimately, you never really know whether or not you bought the right tire until it’s attached to your wheels and you’ve driven around on them.
Mistakes happen. You might enter in your tire size incorrectly, accidentally select the wrong style, or make any number of small mistakes that result in getting the wrong tires. Given this level of uncertainty (no matter how big or small), you need to know what the next steps are in the case you make the wrong choice.
Before you buy tires online, ALWAYS read up on the return policy.
As a rule of thumb, the return policy says a lot about the retailer of which you choose to buy tires online from. A trustworthy tire store values customer satisfaction and has a certain degree of leniency in their return policy.
At Tires Easy, we make it a point for the return process to be as quick and painless as possible. If you aren’t 100% happy with your tires, you have 45 days to send them back for a full refund + full coverage of shipping costs.
However, there are some exceptions to the returns we accept.
For one, the tires cannot be unserviceable. The term “unserviceable” involves several different factors:
- Impact damage, cuts, snags, or punctures in the tire.
- Cupping or feathering tread as a result of shoddy installation, wheel misalignment, wheel imbalance, improper use of rims, improper mounting/dismounting, or misapplication.
- Damage from ANY off-road use.
Additionally, tires cannot be returned if they exhibit the following characteristics:
- Uneven wear.
- Shows a difference of 2/32” between tire grooves.
If you bought race or competitive tires, they MUST be in brand new condition to be accepted.
Once you reach out to our customer service department, we will walk you through all the steps of processing your return as quickly as possible!
In the e-commerce world, shipping tends to be a pesky expense not added on until the very end of the checkout process. Depending on where you buy tires online, these costs can be very high. Thankfully, there are some outlets that let you buy tires online with free shipping.
If you buy tires from us, we offer free shipping on most of the models in our catalog. We will have them delivered to your home or to a tire installer of your choosing at no extra cost.
Larger shipments or extremely heavy orders will, however, likely incur shipping costs. If your order falls into this category, we make sure that it is clearly presented early in the buying process. As consumers ourselves, we know how annoying it is when online companies try to hide the shipping fees. When looking for the best place to buy tires online, finding one that sells tires with free shipping is one of the biggest advantages to look out for!
Check for Rebates
Many consumers tend to overlook the potential opportunities for savings on premium brands when they order tires online. A lot of the heavy-hitter tire manufacturers, like Goodyear, Cooper, and Pirelli have seasonal car tire deals on certain models – in which you can save up to $100 on your order! If you play your cards right, you can upgrade to a better quality tire without breaking your budget!
The best tire rebates typically occur during the spring and fall seasons. So if you want to get the best deals, you need to time your purchases accordingly. As one of the more general tips on buying tires, you have a good chance to score a deal in April or October.
How do tire rebates work?
The process of getting a tire rebate will be a little different for each manufacturer. In most cases, this will require you to submit your receipt to the manufacturer, and they will send you a prepaid Visa or MasterCard via mail.
Keep in mind, rebates are often limited to certain models or tire lines, so be sure you are doing your research before submitting.
When you are searching for tire manufacturer rebates, the key is to keep your priorities in order. As many of these deals are geared toward specific lines and tire models, you NEVER want to overlook your most important needs just to save a few dollars.
For instance, if it is late in the fall and you are looking to buy a set of snow tires online and see a good opportunity to save on a certain model, don’t bypass the negative reviews or elect not to buy tires that fit your exact needs. In other words, discount tire rebates should never override your priority list.
Benefits of Buying Tires Online
There are many, many benefits to buying tires online.
Most importantly, there is the potential to save a lot of money on your orders when you buy tires online. It’s common that you will come across deals that you cannot find in your local store. With the proper research and due diligence, you can get serious value for your budget!
Perhaps the biggest upside of buying tires online is the sheer number of options. You have a massive number of brands, styles, sizes, and categories to choose from to ensure you don’t have to “settle” on a tire. Moreover, with warehouses across the country, you never have to wait too long to get your order filled. In an online tire store, you get to be picky in finding exactly what you need for your unique driving situation.
No Aggressive Sales Pitches
Not many people these days like to be bombarded with high-pressure sales tactics. Thankfully, you don’t have to deal with any of this when you buy tires online. You get to shop at your convenience, stick to your list of priorities, and not have a salesperson trying to up-sell you on anything.
Now, this does not mean that you are all alone in the process of purchasing tires online. At Tires Easy, we have a highly-trained staff on hand to help clear up any confusion and guide you to the perfect set of new tires. You are always welcome to contact us with any questions.
Access to Customer Reviews
To reiterate, customer reviews play a monumental role in the shopping process these days. Hopefully, you are going into the process of buying car tires online with a defined set of criteria and needs. Reading up on customer reviews gives you an unbiased, third-party look at what each tire has to offer and how it can accommodate your driving requirements. Access to customer reviews is one of the biggest (and most underrated) advantages of shopping for tires online. All of the tire reviews at Tires-easy are from verified customers, and after they have had the tires for 6 months of use.
After you buy car tires online, you might have the misconception that they will show up in a big stack on your front door step, just like a package from Amazon. While you can certainly opt for this, Tires Easy will ship tires directly to your chosen service shop at no extra cost. If you choose to go this route, all you have to do is bring your car to the shop and have them put your tires on. Easy peasy!
Over to You
Finding the best place to get new tires online is a relatively easy task. Thankfully, online tire stores have come a long way in making the process as quick and easy as possible. The key is knowing exactly what you need before starting the process. Otherwise, it’s not hard to get overwhelmed with all the options and prices available.
Thanks to the intuitive Tire Selector Tool on Tires Easy, you can quickly narrow down your choices and buy car tires for your exact requirements and driving needs. Hopefully, this guide has given you a clearer view of how to shop for tires online and find the perfect solution. With more than 30 years of experience in the tire industry, our knowledgeable team is always happy to assist further and answer any questions you might have!