You might wonder why tires are so expensive, yet consumers still buy them like they’re not.
Despite the high prices, in the end, you’ll see that the cost is just reasonable. Since quality tires offer exceptional performance, they actually protect you on the road.
It’s also no secret that expensive tires don’t always guarantee better quality, but for the most part, the good ones do cost a bit more.
So what’s driving the prices of tires, which look like regular rubber items at first glance anyway? Is it okay to go for the cheaper versions?
Let’s break down the factors that affect the prices of tires to find out if they’re worth the hefty price.
So… What Makes These Tires So Expensive Anyway?
It will help if you consider a host of factors when tires are made. This will help show what influences the steep price tags.
Here are some of them:
Premium Materials and Construction
Within a glance, we may think that a tire is just rubber and sheets of metal wires that manufacturers had stuck together. But actually, there is more to its material and construction than that.
Seeing a tire from the inside out will give you a broader view of why it typically costs a lot. Nowadays, tires are more than just the usual rubber and steel.
And believe it or not, most cars nowadays—even the ones that don’t give off exceptional quality—require high-quality tires.
Top-quality tires are made from state-of-the-art materials. If you look closely, you will notice carefully selected materials at the tread base with sidewalls that enhance its durability, fuel efficiency, and performance.
If we break them down, tires consist of both natural and synthetic rubber, oil, carbon black, and a mixture of different reinforcing materials. Layers of fabric, woven fiber cord, and steel are what make up a tire’s skeleton.
The overall cost of raw materials, including the production, will definitely impact tire pricing and this could be why it fluctuates most of the time. Although in some instances, the inclusion of preventive maintenance can also result in slight price increases.
Always remember, when the cost of materials begins to fluctuate, the price follows suit.
Understanding tire characteristics would help you relate the tire’s value to its performance. Tire performance includes efficient fuel consumption, longevity, and safe operation.
Tires can have different depths and tread designs to allow users to drive in comfort and safety. The treads enable tires to have a better grip on the surface for easier handling, especially when driving on wet roads.
Further, tread production not only delivers optimal performance; they also affect tire pricing. It’s best to know the tread design more befitting for your needs before investing in a new tire.
Tires would generally come in small and large sizes to suit the needs of light to heavy-duty vehicles. Prices would vary depending on your size requirement since the bigger your tire is, the more costly it would be.
Most people use large-sized tires because they are well known for providing better traction. Therefore, you need to find the right balance when deciding between budget and size due to the cost increase when you opt for bigger tires.
Moreover, it’s best to stick with the same brand and size when replacing your tires. You should avoid having different treads for safety measures, as doing so could result in loss of control and spinouts. Even using oversized tires might also cause anti-lock brakes not to engage correctly.
A tire has many different parts that contribute to its overall performance. The construction of the grooves, sipes, ribs, and tread blocks allows tires to perform well. It results in excellent handling, wear, traction, and noise.
We select the right tire type for unique driving conditions. For example, it’s good to decide on a summer tire for dry and warm conditions. On icy roads, however, your sturdy 4WD will do better with winter tires.
You could also choose a different set of tires for challenging terrains. Consequently, opt for a tire with better grip, and one that’s long-lasting and fuel-efficient.
Consumers purchasing replacement tires from retail vendors would find the tires more expensive. These vendors will pass on the cost of transportation and commodities to their consumers, hence the increase in pricing.
The cost of raw materials could go up or down, depending on market conditions, and supply chain issues could also happen. Such challenges can lead to unwarranted spikes in costs that make retailers inevitably increase the price.
Another thing that makes tire purchase pricier is the cost for installation, and in some instances, a tire warranty.
Challenges in supply and demand lead to price influx affecting retailers and consumers. Even
oil prices also impact tire prices because their raw materials, whether natural or synthetic, are petrochemical-based.
The cost of tariff is among the many variables that affect tire pricing. Many manufacturers import either goods or some of the raw materials abroad. China continues to be a customary trading partner in the tire industry with products that come with tariffs.
These imported products come with freight and insurance, influencing the shift in tariff’s overall cost. The Chinese manufacturers also have to invest in new technologies. It explains the need for exporting higher-priced tires.
Since the imposition of tariffs, the impact on consumer pricing is undeniable. To reduce the expenditures, some consumers with medium to heavy-duty vehicles resort to tire retreading. They find it more economical than opting for a replacement.
We know by now that the instability in supply, increasing oil hike, and raw materials cost can bump up tire prices. However, the industry’s ever-growing need for freight services is another reason for these costly tires.
Such economic developments like the oil price increase lead to higher transportation costs. Since a tire’s value includes the shipment cost, it justifies its impact on the price hike we are currently experiencing.
Additionally, tires are heavy and take up considerable space, thus, expensive transportation costs. Product shipment goes through several logistics, from the manufacturer to retailers to consumers. As a result, we experience an imminent spike in freight rates.
Why Invest in Expensive Tires
Despite the steep price tags of tires nowadays, we need to understand that it also makes a sound investment because of the benefits that come with them.
Remember, quality material equals quality performance.
Tires have the material, structure, and overall design vital to you and your vehicle’s performance. Some of these tires might come at a higher cost due to previously mentioned variables. Nevertheless, if it allows you to use them reliably in a wide range of conditions, then it might be worth considering after all. Take, for example, our recommended tires for Ram 1500. No reason to compromise quality when it comes to tires for your off-roader.
Here are some reasons you should not be cheap when picking tires for your ride.
Reliable Brake Safety
The only connection there is between you and the road are your tires. Expensive tires from trusted brands perform well as they improve your car brakes.
Therefore, upgrading your tires is a brilliant idea if you wish to improve your car’s brake system by maximizing its grip on the surface. Quality tires also offer better handling and enhanced responsiveness.
By employing the engine’s power, your new set of tires will enable the brakes to do their job, especially with quick cornering.
Most premium tires come at a high cost, but this is an excellent investment that helps reduce the road noise for a better riding experience. It minimizes the noise level when you’re driving to allow a comfortable and distraction-free ride.
While several tires are more affordable, they often have less rubber and tend to be less durable. Some tires have a distinct tread pattern for providing better traction, but they are the ones that tend to generate so much noise when driving.
If you want to drive sans the annoying noise, look for tires with a pitch sequencing feature. They have more refined tread designs enhancing the tire performance while keeping noise at a minimum.
Investing in a good value tire, no matter what the cost is, could dramatically improve your car’s performance. Even if most of these tires are expensive, they can at least assure you of a consistent driving experience in the long run.
You’d soon find this costly investment worthwhile once you feel more secure about your safety and comfort. These tires can get the job done on almost any road condition, meeting your needs for convenience more effectively than the cheaper ones could.
When shopping for the best tires, look for ones that provide better handling. You can rely on these tires to not lose control even when you’re running at high speeds. They are capable of running faster than standard tires.
Should you find the speed a priority for your new tires, remember to check the code you can typically find on the sidewall. It includes information about the tire’s load capacity, speed rating, and size.
Once you know the different tread patterns, you can determine which tire has the right balance of high speed, endurance, and traction. Nevertheless, try not to exceed the speed rating even for premium tires. Doing so will prevent tires from losing traction and causing road accidents.
Improved Gas Mileage
Fuel efficiency is one of the many factors worth considering when opting for new tires. Yes, they can be costly, but they can help you achieve better fuel mileage for your car. In the long run, such a choice can prove more practical for you and give you your money’s worth in no time.
There’s a lot more to these expensive tires than just a piece of rubber hitting the road that you need to understand. These tires with low rolling resistance could also help improve your vehicle’s gas mileage.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Tires Expensive?
Tire prices vary depending on the brand, raw materials cost, featured technology, size, and design, among other factors. On average, a new tire costs about $100 for standard cars, nearly $175 for SUVs, and about $200 or more for pick-up trucks.
Are Expensive Tires Worth the Investment?
If you know your driving needs and understand the different tire features and designs, then you’d know that the high tag price is worth it.
Most of these tires can take a toll on your hard-earned savings, but they are also well known for optimal performance and durability.
However, if you find noteworthy features in some affordable tires in the market, they can also be just as good as the pricey ones.
Getting the most expensive tires does not always guarantee better quality. What matters is you get what you pay for, so it is a good investment if a new tire can bring you exceptional performance and reliability.
How Long Does a Tire Last?
Some would say that the approximate lifespan of a tire is about six years. However, it’s best to replace your tire when it starts having punctures or once it reaches 1.6mm of tread depth.
Even when there’s still some tread left, it would also need replacement when you notice some damage on its sidewalls.
I understand the hesitation when it comes to purchasing new tires, especially if they are so expensive. But there is so much more to consider when deciding on a new tire than just the price.
If you’re entirely new to tire-changing, I hope we helped you appreciate the value that expensive tires can provide. If you find the advantages of buying pricey tires to meet your needs efficiently, then it undoubtedly is an investment you should make. However, if you’re still in doubt about this costly purchase or whether it is necessary, it is best to consult an automobile professional.