Updated January 13, 2015

Study: Best Place to Buy Tires Online - Tire Rack vs Discount Tires Direct vs 1010Tires

Ordering your tires online is not only hassle-free, but offers better prices. Here are the best websites to get the best deals on top tires.

It's that time again. No, it's not time to go to the dentist, but it is time for new tires. We are talking not just about new tires, but good tires. Good tires that will ensure your dream car has that added touch, or your in-between junker makes it from your home to point B (whether that's the mountains, your job, or your kids' school).

Not only is wasting gas a downside to driving around looking for these good tires at an affordable price, it can take up several hours of your valuable time. Luckily, the age of online buying eliminates the time it will take you to find the right tire at the right price.

We've made it even easier for you by researching the topic. We found three exceptional companies: Tire Rack, 1010Tires, and Discount Tire Direct (DTD), and explain how they stack up against each other.

Roundup Methodology

Here are the main factors we considered when comparing the companies:

  1. Cost
  2. Accessibility
  3. Customer service

Best Place to Buy Tires Cheap: Tire Rack

  • Cost: Best prices overall. Sells top brands - Michelin, Goodrich, Yokohoma, Dunlop - and offers rebates. 5/5
  • Accessibility: Sometimes the site freezes during searches. Trim size needed for sub-model option. Although the homepage is busy, it's easy to search the site for tires and accessories, and you can use it to locate installers near you. Tire comparison page is cleaner than the homepage and easy to navigate. Compare option available between products. 4/5
  • Customer Support: Contact by phone available Monday - Saturday at certain times. Closed on Sundays. Can contact by email, mail, and fax. No live chat. Has high rating for customer service. 5/5
  • CreditDonkey Score: 4.7/5

It's hard to imagine that a company that started out in 1979 taking orders over the phone would become the leading online tire store today. Selling more than 2 million tires a year, Tire Rack also sells rims, suspension, and brake parts.

It's no wonder Tire Rack appears on the top of reviews for best online tire resellers. Sean Phillips from About.com indicates, "I advise customers who are looking online for tires to always look at Tire Rack first, because even if they do not end up buying there, Tire Rack will give them the best advice available, both online and over the phone."

What We Like
Tire Rack makes your online search worthwhile as a one-stop shop: The site has some of the lowest prices on name brand tires and carries an eclectic selection of tires, rims, brakes, and other car accessories.

Best of all, Tire Rack allows you to search for installers near you.

Its Downsides
The homepage of the site is a bit cluttered and can be confusing at first glance. Although you're able to choose the make and model of the vehicle initially, you may have to choose a trim size for vehicles with sub-models.

For example, when we searched for a 1984 Chevy Camaro, we were unable to select the sub-model, Z28, so the website needed the trim size to match the right tire to the right vehicle.

Who It Works Best For
This site is for those looking for the best deal on name-brand tires. The site is also for those looking to do more than just tire shop.

Best Discount Tire Website: Discount Tire Direct (DTD)

  • Cost: Prices close to Tire Rack, but some tires are more expensive. Offers rebates on some name brand tires. 4/5
  • Accessibility: Website easy to use. Can search by make and model. 5/5
  • Customer Support: Contact by phone available Monday - Saturday at certain times. Closed on Sundays. Can contact by email, mail, and fax. Live chat available. Great customer service reviews. 5/5
  • CreditDonkey Score: 4.7/5

Not far behind Tire Rack's prices and excellent customer service is DTD. In addition to selling Michelin, Bridgestone, and Goodyear tires for cars, trucks, and SUVs, this company also sells tires and accessories for ATVs, UTVs, and trailers.

And if you don't have the funding to purchase the tires or rims you've been saving for, you can take advantage of this seller's in-house store credit, called CarCareOne. But after you browse through the extensive selection, you may have to restrict how much you order.

The neatest part about DTD is that it offers free shipping on all tires and wheels to customers who live in the lower 48 and Canada, and it hosts contests that gives customers a chance to win merchandise and prizes from top brand tires like Goodyear. No purchase necessary.

What We Like
The site gets you where you want to go fast, and the interface of the homepage is impressive. There's limited lag between searching, and you can search for tires by year, make, and model.

DTD allows customers to pay through PayPal, giving you another payment option. Customers who purchase tires and wheels together get free mounting and balancing, and customers can use the site to locate installers near them. And most visitors (at least those in the contiguous U.S. and Canada) get free shipping.

Its Downsides
This was a hard one to find, but some of the name-brand tires are priced higher than Tire Rack's prices. DTD's warehouse doesn't stock as many name brand or winter tires as Tire Rack.

Who It Works Best For
If you want excellent deals on name brand tires and want to save on shipping, DTD works best. Also, this company is great for ATV, trailer, and UTV owners.

Best Tire Website: 1010Tires

  • Cost: Top brands like Bridgestone, Goodyear, Dunlop, and Falken are available, but some tires are more expensive than those at Tire Rack. Generic tires are cheapest on this site; not all vehicles have generic brand matches, however. 3.5/5
  • Accessibility: Website easy to use. Can search by make and model or trim of tire. 5/5
  • Customer Support: Contact by phone available Monday - Saturday at certain times. Closed on Sundays. Can contact by email, mail, and fax. No live chat. 4/5
  • CreditDonkey Score: 4.17/5

One of the newest kids on the block of online tire sellers, 1010Tires offers some of the lowest prices not only for compact vehicles but also for trucks and large size cars. If you don't mind purchasing off-brand tires, you have the option to buy tires for $22 each. That's a whopping $88 for four tires. And with a 100% guarantee, the site is giving customers a risk-free reason to try them.

Why We Like It
1010Tires has an impressive website, which lets users search by car model with limited lag. Along with its great interface, 1010Tires offers tire packages, giving you a better deal on already low prices. On the checkout page, 1010Tires provides a list of recommended products similar to items in your cart.

In addition, 1010Tires displays the reviews and best weather for the tires all on the same page. You'll also be able to do comparisons between several brands.

Its Downside
1010Tires doesn't carry tires for cars older than 1990. You'll have to use another site to gauge the tire type and size that fits your vehicle.

Since 1010Tires is based in Canada, standard shipping fees to U.S. residences will vary. The bad news is if you're located in Alaska, Hawaii, Yukon or Northwest Territories, you're limited to expedited shipping. Standard shipping of four tires is between $50 and $90, so you can expect to pay more than $100 for the expedited option.

Who It Works Best For
This site is best for those who want low cost tires and aren't worried about the brand. It is also great for consumers looking for the best deal on tire rims, nuts and bolts, and other tire accessories.

Other Options to Consider

Other notable sites that sell affordable tires online include Performance Plus Tires, Tire Monkey, and Tires-easy.com. Another smart option for bargain tire shoppers is to go to any major retailer's online store, e.g. Walmart, Goodyear, and Tire Choice, and see if they will ship tires for your make and model to a store near you. The plus side to this is that you'll be able to not only price match, but once the tires arrive at the store, you'll be able to install them there.

Write to Natasha P at feedback@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

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