Rideshare and delivery drivers bear many expenses and often look for places to cut corners, especially with car costs. But are cheap tires worth it?
Let’s dive in.
Are Cheap Tires Worth It?
As a rideshare or delivery driver, you are responsible for maintaining your car, which means decreased profits each time your car needs something, including tires. It’s no secret that tires can get expensive, but the prices can vary greatly from $50 to $1,000 per tire.
So, how do you decide if you should purchase cheap or expensive tires?
SPOILER ALERT: you shouldn’t focus only on the price. While your budget is important, of course, there are many other factors to consider. If you have to splurge on tires, consider finding ways to save money in other places, like getting free gas.
Cheap Tires: Pros and Cons
Understanding the pros and cons of cheap tires can help you determine how much to prioritize for your tire purchase.
- You may save money upfront by buying cheaper tires
- Some cheap tires are of similar quality to premium tires
- Cheap tires don’t last as long as premium tires
- You may experience more road noise, have less stopping ability, or have a rougher ride
Expensive Tires: Pros and Cons
You might automatically assume expensive tires are bad because of the cost, but here are some pros and cons to consider.
- Expensive tires may have better performance and safety
- You may get more life out of expensive tires, reducing your ongoing costs
- Not everyone can afford the premium, aka expensive tires
- Not all expensive tires are better quality
Cheap vs. Expensive Tires: Comparison
Your definition of cheap tires versus expensive tires may differ from another person’s. You can find cheap tires for as little as $50 per tire.
This may seem like a great deal because you’re keeping your costs down, but there are many other factors to consider that you could be sacrificing by choosing the cheaper tires, which may cost you more money down the road.
Expensive tires can cost as much as $1,000 per tire, but many less expensive options exist. According to TireBuyer, moderately priced tires range from $100 – $300 per tire.
Many tires come with a manufacturer’s warranty. Almost all come with a tire tread warranty. This warranty states how many miles you should get out of the tires with regular use. If the tires fail prematurely, you may be eligible for compensation for a prorated amount of the tire purchase.
For example, if a tire manufacturer’s warranty states a tire should last 50,000 miles, but you need your tires replaced at 25,000 miles, you may be eligible for compensation of 50% of the tire’s cost. This only applies if the tire manufacturer has ample proof of proper maintenance and care of the tires, including tire balance, rotation, and proper air pressure.
Some tire retailers may offer a road hazard warranty at an additional cost. This warranty covers your tires if you experience a road hazard, such as hitting a pothole that damages your tire.
Each tire retailer has different rules regarding the warranty, what they will cover, and how much it costs.
Cheap vs. Expensive Tires: Factors to Consider When Choosing
Most people are trained to focus on price when buying something, especially a hefty investment like car tires. However, there are many other factors to consider as a rideshare driver.
Your car is your office and helps you make extra money, so here’s what to consider when wondering are cheap tires worth it?
- Handling: Everyone wants to be safe on the road, but rideshare drivers should pay even more attention to a tire’s handling because of the time spent driving. A tire’s handling capabilities determine how well it grips the road in dry and wet conditions. It also controls how well it turns and handles emergencies, even at high speeds.
- Durability: A tire’s construction determines its durability. The longer a tire lasts, the more money you save, which is why sometimes more expensive tires make more sense. The less frequently you have to replace or repair the tires, the more money you save. A tire’s durability is determined by the type of rubber it uses, whether soft or hard. Soft rubber has better performance but doesn’t last as long. However, tires with sidewalls that are reinforced may make them last longer.
- Comfort: Your tips rely on the quality of the drive you provide your riders. Since rideshare drivers keep 100% of their tips, anything you can do to make the ride more comfortable may increase your earnings, starting with the tires. More expensive tires often absorb bumps and shocks better, delivering a more comfortable ride.
- Braking Distance: A shorter braking distance means greater safety. The more room a tire needs to brake, the more challenging it is to keep you and your passengers safe in an emergency. While braking distance isn’t a major factor in tire design, it’s something to consider when purchasing new tires for your rideshare business.
- Tread: A tire’s thickness and tread pattern affect your tire choice. Tires with thicker tread handle better but may be noisier. The weather you drive in most often should determine your tread type. Winter weather and wet conditions typically perform better with thicker treads.
- Drag: A tire’s drag directly affects your pocketbook. The more drag a tire has, the less fuel efficiency you get because it makes it harder for your car to operate. This often means more frequent and expensive car repairs, decreasing your profits as a rideshare driver.
- Status Name Brands: Sometimes, you pay for the name, not the quality. Status name brands usually have a reputation for being ‘better’ and make people automatically assume they should purchase them. While a quality brand is important, it shouldn’t be the main focus, as there are many discount brands with similar quality to status name brands.
- Noise Level: Many other factors, such as the tread pattern and thickness, affect a tire’s noise level. Just as a tire that absorbs bumps and shocks makes for a more comfortable ride, it also decreases the road noise, which is more pleasant for the driver and passengers.
Wondering whether cheap tires are worth it is a common question I hear from rideshare and delivery drivers. Here are some more questions people have about cheap vs. expensive tires.
Are Expensive Tires Worth the Investment?
If you buy expensive tires for the right reasons, it can be worth it. Don’t pay more money just for a name brand. Instead, do your research and determine which tires offer the best handling, most comfort, and enhanced safety. When you buy tires that provide the most comfortable and safest ride, then expensive tires can be worth the investment.
Do Cheap Tires Make a Difference?
There are plenty of cheap tires that are good quality. Just like food and other items we buy that have non-name brand alternatives that are just as good as the name brands, tires are the same. Of course, many cheap tires aren’t good quality; it comes down to doing your research and ensuring you purchase the tire with the qualities you need.
Does the Tire Brand Make a Difference?
Some tire brands are better than others, but better brands don’t mean every tire they sell is suitable for your needs. Determine which tires have the qualities you need for a safe and comfortable ride, regardless of the brand. If you are brand loyal, consider shopping around to find the best deals on the tires you need.
Do Expensive Tires Save Money in the Long Run?
Expensive tires may save money in the long run only because they may last longer than cheaper tires. So you pay more money upfront but have to replace them less frequently, which saves you money. You may also need fewer repairs or avoid unexpected circumstances, such as an accident due to poor braking distance, by purchasing more expensive tires with better control.
Are Cheap Tires Safe to Use?
It’s important to check a tire’s ratings and ensure they are safe. If you buy less than safe tires, saving money can cost you your car or your life. Consider what a tire offers and compare it to a more expensive option to determine if you should sacrifice other expenses in your budget to afford the more expensive tires.
How Often Should I Replace My Tires, Regardless of Cost?
Most tire manufacturers recommend replacing your tires after six years, even if you haven’t reached the maximum mileage they can last. Over time, the rubber wears down, and the tire becomes more prone to damage.
Wondering ‘Are cheap tires worth it?’ is a common question rideshare drivers have.
Anywhere you can save money is important, but tire purchases typically aren’t a place to sacrifice. You put your safety and your passengers’ safety at risk, and buying cheap tires may even cost you more money.