Cars

Should I Buy a Tire Protection Plan?

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You stroll into a tire center and get a set of four new tires for your vehicle. There are some labor costs and taxes added to the total. But the tires themselves cost the same as you saw when you looked online.

As you check out, though, the salesperson offers you a tire protection plan. What if you drive through a construction zone, run over a nail and get a flat? Tires aren’t cheap after all.

Is it worth shelling out the money for a tire protection plan? Or is it just a way to get more money out of your wallet?

Should I Pay for a Tire Protection Plan?

Should I buy a tire protection plan?

That’s what a listener recently asked money expert Clark Howard.

Asked Brian in South Carolina: “Should I buy a tire protection plan? It’s 10 to 14% of the purchase price. For example, [a specific tire shop] wants $141 on my set of four tires.”

America seems to be pushing back on hidden costs. Airbnb has started including cleaning fees in its price listings so it’s easier to comparison shop. California passed a law banning hotels from charging hidden junk fees.

The idea that your price could go up 10%+ at checkout because of a hidden protection plan doesn’t sit well with Clark.

His favorite store, Costco, offers a five-year “road hazard warranty” that’s included in the price of the tires.

“So Brian, Brian, Brian. It’s simple. The answer to every question is Costco. I don’t care what the question is,” Clark says.

“What does Costco charge for road hazard, that kind of thing? It’s included in the purchase of the tires. Period.

“The tire business is in the [dictionary] next to bait-and-switch … There’s a lot of games and gimmicks where people shop the price of the tire. But then there’s this and this and this added onto it.

“And so compare the total price of tires and paying $140 extra for road hazard when you can get it free somewhere else? Wow.”

Clark didn’t say the name of the tire shop where Brian got his tires on the podcast, even though Brian mentioned it when he submitted his question.

But Clark did ask Brian to “go read reviews of what people have said about them online,” citing “mixed opinions.” So the most recognizable names in the tire shop industry aren’t always the best places to buy tires.

Final Thoughts

Tires aren’t cheap. It’s a good idea to comparison shop and take the time to find the best combination of price and quality.

If you want a tire protection plan, Costco is a great place to buy tires, Clark says. You get five years automatically included in the price you pay to purchase tires at Costco.

This post was last modified on December 22, 2023 8:04 am

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