Driving Lessons – Buying Tyres

The problem is most people I would suspect, end up paying much more than they need to, sometimes double, just because they’re relying on, trusting, a stranger. It’s sad really, when you realise you have to be so careful not to get purposely ripped off by a fellow human being. But money makes the world go round and I guess they will try and get as much as they possibly can from you.

I needed to buy 3 new tyres for my car yesterday. The first time I have needed to do so with this particular car. I have a dealer I know and trust and have bought tyres from him for 11 years now after first meeting when buying a car from him. Last week whilst reading the local newspaper I came across a ‘buy one get one free’ voucher for a local national garage. Although I’m loyal to my usual tyre dealer, as anyone would when you need 3 tyres I thought I’d check this deal out. Luckily for me I know a little bit about tyres and their prices as being a driving instructor you tend to go through them quicker than normal.

So on calling I explained the tyre and make I required. The tyre I go for is what would be described as ‘mid-range’, i.e. a very good tyre but a little cheaper than the more well-known makes. I go for these tyres on my learner car as sometimes they get bumped on the kerbs and if they get damaged it’s far less painful for my pocket. Strangely I was promptly told this is a very expensive tyre, unsurprisingly that it wasn’t included on this particular ‘buy one get one free deal’ (which I’m certain no tyres they have actually are) and then advised the tyre I actually did need. This one was on offer for 98. The tyre offered I know to be a good one but far more expensive than I wanted and needed to pay. Now, what if I didn’t have that knowledge? I’d have spent the best part of 300 on three tyres. For some cars that would be a good price for 3, but not when all you’re fitting them too is a little Renault Clio with small 15 inch wheels.

After then calling my usual tyre dealer I was quoted by him a price of just 54 for the tyre I wanted. In fact, then without any prompting from me, he actually then explained he had these different tyres in, which were the same spec as the ones I usually have and asked for (he always remembers the tyres I have and the needs I have for them concerning my job) and they were a little bit cheaper! So after my initial quote of 300 from the national garage, I ended up paying just under 150 – half the price!

The problem is people don’t ring around enough. I’m sure you will almost always find the local ‘one man band’ garages to be cheaper, and you will experience a far better customer service. It’s always worth a few calls and the large national garages will, in my experience, be far more expensive and far less willing to give you the cheaper option tyre.

Jason Vines