Lessons from tire shopping


In other car-repair news, I learned a couple things about tire shopping recently. Two weeks ago, I ordered a set of new tires for the Volkswagen. I did my research and placed an order online at Sam’s Club for a set of Michelin MXV4 S8 tires at $112 each. Curiously, the same tire model — dimensions, ratings, and all — was available under two different SKU numbers. One SKU was $112 and the other one was $143 — 28% higher! Naturally, I ordered the less expensive ones.

When the tires arrived and I had them installed five days later, they charged the $143 price. Checking online, the exact tires, down to the SKU number, that I had ordered were indeed now available only at the higher price. I provided proof of my original order, and they adjusted the price without a fight.

Lesson 1: There are a zillion combinations of tire models and ratings, and it’s probably a nightmare for retailers to keep their databases current. If you are ordering tires, check thoroughly for similar models, because you may find an unexpectedly good deal.

Lesson 2: Tire prices apparently can fluctuate wildly in a short amount of time. So, if you know you’re going to need new tires soon, select a tire model, and then monitor the price for a little while. If you see the price go down, jump on it!