Website: Tire Rack
What Follows is my Own Person Experience with Tire Rack
I love Tire Rack for doing Tire Research. The User Reviews are extremely valuable for comparing one brand/model of tire vs another and figuring out exactly what the strong points are in a particular model of Tire. For example you may prefer tires that have really low noise ratings because you Travel frequently on highways at high speeds. Another person may not care about the noise because they are looking for an agressive tread pattern because they live at the end of a muddly gravel road. Where else can you find this information? I have purchased 1 set of Yokohama Tires for my Van from Tire Rack because no one else had the "XL Rated" (41 PSI instead of 35 PSI) that fit my Chevy Van. Sadly my 3/4 Ton Chevy has 5 lug wheels and won't take a 16" truck tire. So the XL Rated tires help a lot when loaded or cornering. For my other vehicles I have purchased tires from Costco, America/Discount, and Les Schwab over the years. I prefer the prices of Tire Rack and Americas and the convenience of Costco. I no longer buy from Lew Schwab because there supposed high end tires (The model that fits my vehicle) is manufactured in China. They also refused to mount a tire once because I didn't buy it from them. So much for service?
I know buying tires online sounds crazy doesn't it? The shipping costs, the inconvenience of having to find an installer (Actually they have you taken care of on this), the hassle... on and on. That's what I used to think. Then I realized something that you will probably realize. You can't always get the best tires for the way you drive from the local shop and you can't always trust the local sales guy to give you the best advice.
It's not just about saving money... even though the prices are cheaper. It's about finding the right tires! Saving is a big bonus. Not one tire store I went to locally carried the "XL" rated tires I needed for my Chevy Van. I've mentioned this twice now I know... but it really made a difference for my Van. Not one tire sales guy could give me real facts on real world testing... they all just tell you how great their tires are. At Tirerack you can read their real world test reports, and you can read the reviews of real people... ordinary people who tell it like it is.
Knowing that you are driving on tires that give you true comfort, low highway noise, traction in snow (If you live in snow country you know what real traction is all about), and really do last is a very nice feeling. I've purchased a couple of sets of Yokohama All Season Radials from TireRack at prices much cheaper than I could find locally (But the real issue is I felt like I got the most tire for my money after reading the reviews). I've been very happy with them... they must be doing something right to sell a product online in an industry that is dominated by local outlets.
Tire Rack is an online specialty retailer that sells direct to the public at warehouse prices. If you have never been to their website; or never thought much about tires then prepare to have your eyes opened. Quickly learn what tires are available for your specific vehicle, then read the ratings for that tire by a number of different criteria. Tire rack stocks nearly every major brand at prices significantly lower than most Big Tire outfits; plus they offer road hazard insurance so you get the best tires for your vehicle with no worries.
Finding the "Right" Tire at Tire Rack is easy... here's how you do it
I own an early 90's Chevrolet G20 Custom Van. The manufacturer specifies a Load Rating of XL on 15" rims. Nearly ALL Chevrolet 3/4 ton vans ship standard with passenger rims which are not rated to handle the additional PSI required to run a truck tire. Chevrolet did this for "comfort" reasons. Passenger radials will have a smoother more comfortable ride than truck tires. People purchasing custom vans expect them to ride like cars. But they are trucks! So Chev/GMC specified the XL (Or Xtra Load) tires for these 15" rims. XL tires run at 41psi NOT 35psi.
Here is where the story gets more interesting and why I turned to Tire Rack. Living in a large metropolitan area you would think that XL rated tires would be easy to find? WRONG! I visited the Big Tire outfits in the area and NONE of them had them and they ALL tried to sell me passenger tires. Tire shops sell what hey have not what you need. Keep that in mind when you buy tires. It's a big money business and they are looking to sell what they have.
So I visited Tire Rack and found the Tires I needed. Yokohomas for anyone that cares. I then shopped around and called the Big Tire stores again. Only one place told me they could get them and the price they quoted me was $40 higher than Tire Rack. That's PER TIRE higher!!! So for $160 less I ordered them. I paid about $10 per tire to have them balanced and mounted after they arrived. Yes it's not quite as convenient. But it makes a REAL difference in the Handeling of the G30 Vans. And the tires I selected are radials with the same tread pattern as passenger car tires, so I get the best of both worlds, comfort and extra stability when cornering. Next to Bilstein Shocks (Or Monroe Sensatracks if your budget doesn't allow Bilsteins) there is no better investment than the tire that is exactly right for your vehicle and the way you drive.
Tire Rack features all the Top Brands complete with Real World user tests, laboratory tests, survey results and more. They sell a number of other quality name brand products as well:
- Suspension Parts
- Floor Mats
- Air Intake Systems
Yes I know everyone isn't a home mechanic, but if you love your Van and you Want the BEST; then you owe it to yourself to check Tire Rack FIRST. Even if all you do is check to see if you are getting a good deal locally.
Highly Recommended... I know I know you see this a lot, but how many people that say it have actually purchased from the company the recommend?