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Why Are Tires Expensive? Solving the Prize Puzzle

  • Wheels and Tires
  • Sara Sam
  • 5 minutes

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Maintaining the vehicle you own is an expensive affair, let alone buying it. You can certainly find yourself scratching your head on a day that demands a tire change. Even though it might seem like a matter of rubber and metal, certain factors contribute to the high cost of tires. So, why are tires expensive? We find out here.  

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Why are tires expensive? 

Tires are parts that are durable but require regular maintenance. For instance, touring tires have a longer lifespan, and their usefulness can be extended up to five or six years. After that, however, the rubber begins to harden, and the tires’ overall performance begins to suffer. On the other end of the scale are performance tires, which, if you utilize them like they were designed, can have a tread life of three or four years, certainly depending on the usage. 

 5 Reasons Why Tires Are Expensive 

Tires are expensive due to a combination of factors that contribute to their manufacturing, distribution, and overall quality. Here are 5 exclusive reasons why tires are expensive.  

Cost of Manufacturing 

Production equals money. In other words, procuring raw materials for manufacturing tires is laborious and expensive. For example, the prices of rubber, oil, and metal, in addition to the fluctuating oil prices, can be a reason for the spike in production costs. Similarly, the shipment to retailers is also a pricey affair.  Therefore, switching to a domestic brand, one that is made in your country, can be more cost-effective than an overseas brand unless your car demands it.  

Research and Development 

Tires were not what we see today and may not be what we see tomorrow. Constant research and development are done for a smooth tread on the road. For example, tread patterns, designs based on the weather conditions, and tires with threads of varying thickness in different permutations and combinations consequently result in the durable tires we use.  

Know how often you should change your tires if you don’t drive regularly! 

Meeting the Specific Requirements 

As a result of the research and development, some tires are bigger than their predecessors. In other words, to meet the requirements of a car, climate, and other driving conditions, we go with the fact that the bigger the tires, the better. However, bigger tires mean more threads, hence, a higher price.  


Inflation affects the cost of production, including expenses like energy, machinery, and labor. For instance, the prices of raw materials used in tire manufacturing, such as rubber, steel, and chemicals. If the cost of these materials increases, tire manufacturers will need to adjust their prices to cover the higher expenses. 

Similarly, it can force companies to maintain their profit margin by increasing the prices, making tires expensive.  

Supply and Demand 

The increasing popularity of SUVs in the United States has also increased the demand for tires specifically designed for these vehicles. These tires tend to be more expensive than those designed for smaller wheels traditionally used on passenger cars such as sedans. 

According to a survey conducted by Consumer Reports in 2019, the typical customer spends $137 on a tire for a sedan, coupe, hatchback, or minivan. This price does not include the cost of having the tire installed. Even more pricey than the SUVs, which cost $162, were the pickup trucks, which cost $175. 

How to save money on tires 

Here are some hacks that will save you money on your tire budget. 

  • Choose brands that suit your car type, the road, and weather conditions.  
  • Compare the price and features of the different brands available.  
  • Choose tires with a very long tread life rating. In other words, all-season tires can last up to 8 years.  
  • If you buy tires with a warranty, you will receive reimbursement if a replacement is required during the warranty period. 
  • Purchase second-hand tires with enough tread life. 
  • Prevent tire damage on the road by avoiding sudden acceleration, tight turns, potholes, speed bumps, and other road hazards. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

How often do we need to change car tires? 

If your tires are over six years old or the tread has worn down to less than 2/32 of an inch, you might want to consider replacing them. Alterations to how your tires perform could indicate that you need to replace them with new ones. Similarly, tires that are worn out frequently lose their traction and need to have their air pressure continually adjusted. 

Why are tires black? 

Carbon black, a substance that acts as a stabilizer, makes the tires black protects against damage caused by ultraviolet light, removes heat from vehicle components that have the propensity to heat up while driving, and increases the longevity of the tires. 

Why are tires expensive now? 

Extensive research, bigger wheels, new manufacturing processes, and noise cancellation, in addition to the longer tread life, contribute to the hefty tire prices.  

Why are Tesla tires so expensive? 

Tesla doesn’t manufacture tires. Since not all shops are not equipped with the right tools for a Tesla tire replacement, the average tire installation cost can range between $100 and $350. Tesla OEM tires have an inner foam liner exclusive to Tesla cars. Similarly, the high costs are due to freight charges and the selected brands making tires for Tesla.  

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