The best deals on summer performance tires come during the winter off-season. Retail data shows tire prices dip 20-30% between November and April as installers focus more on winter rather than summer rubber. Shop end-of-winter clearance sales in March when previous year tread patterns see discounts up to 50% to make room for newer options. Pairing the tire purchase in spring with a summer installation appointment locks in peak season savings—some shops even offer free seasonal storage so you get peak pricing along with perfectly timed, cheaper mount and balance appointments. Planning ahead translates into big off-season discounts on summer tire sets.
As spring approaches and temperatures start to rise, many drivers begin thinking about switching from their winter tires to summer tires.
However, summer tires can be quite an investment, with a quality set often costing over $500.
This leads many people to wonder—when is the best time to buy summer tires to get the best deal?
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to find the best summer tire deals.
We’ll cover when prices are typically lowest, where to find sales and promos, what features to look for, as well as provide 5 easy-to-follow tips to save you money on your next set of summer tires. Let’s get rolling!
- Target late August through October for the biggest seasonal price drops on summer tires (25-50% discounts common)
- Get multiple retailer price quotes before buying tires
- Leverage summer closeout sales, rebates and coupons for maximum savings
- Prioritize quality when buying longer-lasting tires
- Negotiate with retailers and bundle services to save more
- Consider dropping a tire size if on a tight budget
- Pick a brand (Michelin, Continental, Goodyear) that aligns with your vehicle needs and driving patterns
When Are Prices Lowest?
The single biggest factor in determining when summer tire prices will be at their lowest is seasonality. Summer tire buying patterns are highly cyclical:
- Prices start rising in early spring as drivers start flocking to tire shops to switch their tires. This increase in demand allows retailers to charge higher prices.
- Peak prices are found during May and June. This matches when summer tire demand is at its cyclical peak with the weather warming and drivers hurriedly looking to switch their tires.
- Prices start to dip slightly in July, once the initial rush is over. However, no major sales normally occur during mid-summer.
- The best deals come in late August through October. With the winter tire buying season approaching, retailers offer substantial discounts to clear out existing summer inventory.
So if you’re looking for the cheapest summer tires, the data is clear—you should target your purchase in the August to October timeframe. Keep an eye out for significant summer closeout sales during this period in particular.
Where To Find The Best Summer Tire Deals
Knowing when prices will be lowest is just the first step to savings. You also need to know where to shop to find the best tire deals. Here are the top retailers to keep on your radar:
Local Tire Shops
Your neighborhood tire shop may offer periodic discounts to compete with chains. Building a relationship with your local technician can lead to insider tips on upcoming sales. Smaller shops also tend to offer greater price flexibility, allowing experienced negotiators to potentially save big.
Tire Chain Stores
Retail chains like Canadian Tire, Costco, Walmart, etc. generally have competitively priced tires. Watch for promotions like flash sales, rebates, free installation offers, and card member discounts from these retailers.
Stores may also offer clearance deals on prior years’ inventory as the end of summer nears.
Online Stores and Marketplaces
With lower overhead expenses, online tire retailers like 1010Tires, Tire Rack, and SimpleTire are able to frequently price tires lower than brick and mortar shops. Most offer free shipping as well. Check Amazon and eBay for limited quantity closeout deals too.
Don’t forget to check current rebate offers from leading summer tire brands like Michelin, Bridgestone, Goodyear, Toyo, and more. While the rebates may only be for $50-100, stacked savings can really add up.
Manufacturer promos generally ramp up in September and October to boost late season sales numbers.
What Key Features Should You Look For?
Summer performance tires span a wide gamut when it comes to price and quality. Before jumping on the first ultra-cheap tire you see, it pays to check they have the right features to meet your needs:
All-Season Capability: While called “summer” tires, all-weather functionality has become the norm. Ensure tires perform adequately across a wide temperature range.
Dry Traction & Wet Grip: Summer tires should provide precise and responsive handling in warm, dry conditions along with reliable traction and braking in rain.
Comfort & Noise: Cabin comfort matters during long summer road trips. Seek tires that combine supple construction with sound-absorbing tech.
Treadwear Rating: A higher treadwear rating signals a more durable tire that will last many seasons before needing replacement.
Manufacturer Warranty: Most tires now come with at least a basic 30,000 – 60,000 mile treadwear warranty. Larger allowances protect you against early wear.
Fit Your Vehicle: Don’t sacrifice safety just for price. Only shop tires made specifically for your vehicle’s make, model, and year.
While it may be tempting to buy whatever tire has the lowest price, dive into the details first. Choosing quality, long-lasting tires is what truly saves money in the big picture.
5 Pro Tips For Saving Money On Summer Tires
Equipped with the background info above, you now have a blueprint of the key price trends, timing windows, and retailer tactics that play into locking in significant summer tire savings.
But when you’re ready to start your search and make a purchase, keep these additional money saving tips in mind:
1. Get Multiple Quotes
Prices for the same set of tires can vary over $100+ between different shops. Spend a few hours getting 3-5 quotes to uncover the best deal. Getting quotes online and via phone first minimizes driving time too.
2. Ask If Prices Are Negotiable
Smaller retailers may be open to negotiating on tire prices, especially if paying in cash or buying 4 tires. It never hurts to politely ask if they have flexibility or any unpublished promotional offers.
3. Sign Up For Retailer Email Lists
Getting regular email alerts on flash sales and special promo deals helps you discover limited offers you may otherwise miss. Popular tire retailers also sometimes include extra subscriber-only coupon codes in emails.
4. Consider Going Down a Tire Size
Dropping to a slightly smaller tire size can lead to big savings. For most drivers, the difference is negligible. Just confirm the smaller size still properly fits your vehicle before buying.
5. Bundle Services For Extra Discounts
Some tire shops offer multi-service discounts if doing installations plus alignments, rotations or balancing. Bundling needed services together equates to more bang for your buck.
Following the above five tips will prime you to sniff out and combine every possible savings opportunity when shopping summer tires. Stack the deck in your wallet’s favor!
Which Brand Of Summer Tire Is Best For You?
We’ve covered the key cost cutting strategies to put into play when shopping summer tires regardless of brand.
However, doing a little research into which tire manufacturer best fits your specific needs can provide that extra degree of year-round assurance and value.
Here is a brief overview of five of the top players in the summer tire game:
With Michelin’s laser focus on advanced tread compounds and casing technology, its summer tire offerings consistently rate at the top in terms of overall dry weather responsiveness, wet weather capability, comfort and longevity.
The built-in quality does come at a small premium, but drivers report getting every penny’s worth from their Michelins.
Continental has engineered a well-balanced summer tire portfolio centered around responsive handling, all-weather grip, and a quiet, comfortable ride.
Multiple internal structure and compound enhancements allow Continentals to expertly adapt to the changing road conditions common in summer. Durability is also a strength.
Goodyear loads innovative features into its Eagle F1 family of ultra-high performance summer tires while keeping pricing relatively value-oriented.
Goodyear leans on its racing roots to offer summer tires that grip the road with authority across varying temps and weather situations. The Eagle F1 also comes backed by an excellent 50,000-80,000 mile treadwear warranty.
For drivers wanting to fully unlock their vehicle’s performance potential on dry roads and tracks, Pirelli is tough to top. The Italian brand has long been the choice of elite sports cars for its incredible cornering abilities and razor sharp precision.
Just note that wet weather traction lags some competitors, so beware driving aggressively in the rain.
Hankook summer tires present a great blend of grip, steering input feel, comfort, quietness, and long tread life at very wallet-friendly prices.
While Hankook may not match the peak performance of Michelins and Pirellis, its well-rounded tires make a fantastic budget-friendly choice for most drivers.
Still unsure where to turn? Check out summer tire recommendations and reviews on trusted sites like TireRack and consumerreports. Dialing in on the right tire choice for your vehicle and driving habits leads to improved performance, safety, and financial savings through multiple years of reliable use.
Things To Consider Before Buying
When buying summer tires, there are several factors to consider to ensure you make a wise purchase decision. Here are some tips to help you make an informed decision:
1. Type of Tires
- Summer tires are designed for dry and wet weather traction in moderate or warm temperatures.
- All-season tires are suitable for year-round use, but they may not provide optimal performance in extreme weather conditions.
- Winter tires are designed for cold weather conditions and provide better traction on snow and ice.
2. Vehicle Type and Usage
- Consider the type of vehicle, usage conditions, and weather conditions when choosing summer tires.
- High-performance vehicles may require summer tires for better cornering and braking capabilities.
3. Tread Life and Mileage
- Summer tires typically have a tread life of around 50,000 km to 60,000 km.
- Tread wear is affected by driving habits, road conditions, and tire maintenance.
- Summer tires can vary in price depending on the brand, size, and performance.
- Set a budget and compare prices from different manufacturers and retailers.
5. Tread Design and Performance
- Summer tires have advanced tread designs for better grip, handling, and braking on wet roads.
- Look for tires with good wet traction and cornering stability.
6. Speed Rating and Treadwear Warranty
- Check the speed rating and treadwear warranty of the tires.
- Higher speed ratings and longer treadwear warranties usually indicate better quality tires.
7. Brand Reputation
- Consider purchasing tires from reputable brands such as Michelin, Goodyear, or Pirelli.
- Check consumer reviews and ratings to ensure the tires meet your expectations.
By considering these factors, you can make a wise decision when purchasing summer tires and ensure a safe and enjoyable driving experience.
By following the tips above and timing your summer tire purchase right as the seasons change, you are guaranteed to maximize your savings.
That lets you divert extra budget to fun summer road trips and activities rather than sinking it into your vehicle.
Maintain your tires properly and you should then be set with carefree and affordable summer driving for many years before needing to shop for tires again.
Now rev up those engines and think sunshine – endless open roads and blue skies are waiting! Drive safely and we’ll see you out there!