Recently, we were told that we needed four new tires. Even searching the best deals, we were going to be lucky to get away with $500-550 (plus 9.3% tax) for that little purchase.
A second opinion said that the front tires definitely needed replacing, whereas the back ones would be okay for some time. But $300 is not all that much better, in the grand scheme of things.
Just as I was getting consigned to yet another big expense on our credit card (Tim’s parents’ storage cubes alone were $1,776), I remembered our other option: used tires.
Back when the Cavalier got two simultaneous flats, the tow truck driver convinced me to try retreads. I expressed some reservations, since everyone I know gets new tires. He assured me that he had used them himself without any issues. And once he told me the price — around $20-40 — I really couldn’t argue with him.
So, instead of the $200 I was ready to fork over to Sam’s Club, I ended up spending $60 for two used tires. They worked perfectly well for over a year. Who knows how long they would have lasted if that idiot hadn’t hit us.
This time, I did a little online research, and found that there weren’t a lot of used tire detractors. Obviously, they’re not going to last as long as new ones, but retreads can easily last 2 or more years.
Another bonus: Retreads are eco-friendly. It’s a matter of using a resource to its fullest. Rubber isn’t exactly something you can throw in a compost bin and the vulcanization process isn’t great for the environment. So it kind of makes sense to be sure existing tires get a full life.
And while I decided on used tires because I’m a cheap bastard, it’s nice to pretend that I have a purer motive, as well. Which I guess I kind of do. But, really, saving green has always mattered to me more than being green. It’s an attitude I’m trying to turn around.
Tim went out today and got two new (to us) tires for $95. That’s less than 2/3 the price of a single new one. Kind of a compelling argument, no?
Of course, I don’t blame people who prefer new tires for the peace of mind. (Especially because the phrase “used tires” doesn’t exactly inspire a burst of confidence.)
Then again, a nail in the road won’t really care what condition you bought those tires in. Something to think about.