Car owners know that the tires are one of the many aspects that need to be replaced regularly. As one of the most essential aspects of safety, a properly installed good set of tires is crucial.
Getting tires from the first place you come across isn’t always a wise option. Some low-budget shops may not store the tires properly or sell you an old set. In both cases, that may compromise the tire’s structure, and you end up with a tire that won’t perform as intended. You may even have a set of unsafe tires installed.
With this in mind, purchasing a set from a reputable retailer is essential. Thanks to the growth of the tire industry and modern technologies, we have plenty of options today.
Among the many retailers available on the market is Tire Rack. It’s a company that works as an online-only tire shop that offers a complete tire purchasing and replacing experience. On top of that, some people may find a few other aspects of it useful.
So, is Tire Rack really that good, or is it just marketing? Let’s find out.
What does Tire Rack offer?
An obvious question, with an obvious answer. Tire Rack, hence the name, is a company that sells tires. In terms of that, there is a quite a good variety of options available. It means that you have a lot of brands to choose from.
Tire Rack has 26 available brands:
- Dick Cepek
- General Tire
- Power King
As you can see from the list, there are plenty of options that range from the cheaper segment and go all the way up to the premium ones. To be fair, Tire Rack doesn’t have the widest option choices. Discount Tire, for example, has over 60 available brands.
With that said, I’d still put Tire Rack near the top as a tire retailer with a very good option choice.
Despite being a tire retailer, Tire Rack also offers wheels. I won’t get into the specific list, but with over 50 wheel brands, you can expect to find a little bit of everything. The company took a similar approach as with the tire brands, meaning that you can choose between the cheaper and the more expensive options.
In addition to wheels and tires, Tire Rack also has a wide variety of car parts and accessories. In general, you are getting an option to purchase parts that you replace commonly, like batteries, brake pads, suspension, lights, etc. As a bonus, if you’re into tuning, you can upgrade your intake or exhaust by searching through the company’s database.
Searching through Tire Rack’s database
Since there isn’t an option to go to a store a talk to a salesman, you will need to rely on Tire Rack’s search option. Actually, you can talk to a representative, but I’ll explain that in another section.
There are multiple ways to search for tire models, but in general, they boil down to either tire size or car type. If you know your tire size or want to size things up, you can use that option.
To be fair, not everyone is versed in the tire world, so searching by car type is an excellent option. You can enter the details and get the possible results. Keep in mind that this may provide with a variety, as the tire sizes can sometimes depend on the trim and engine options.
Regardless of which option you choose, you will undoubtedly get plenty of results for your next set of tires. With that said, Costco, for example, has one nifty feature for people that don’t want to bother too much. The service has a search by license plate option, so you won’t have to remember the tire size or car specifics.
When it comes to prices, there are several aspects that I need to cover. On the one hand, you have the tires, and on the other hand, you have the tire installation.
Starting off with the prices for tires, they are more or less what you’d expect to find with other retailers. Sure, there may be a difference of several dollars, but that’s about it.
If you’re the type of person that goes after discounts, Tire Rack has a special offers section. There you can find some deals on specific models, or you can get credit cards for an additional discount for specific brands. Tire Rack isn’t the worst in this regard, but I think that if you are a regular discount chaser, you may have better luck with other retailers.
One way that you can get an additional discount is if you pick up the tires yourself. If you live near one of the warehouses, you don’t need to wait for the tires to be delivered. Even though the delivery is free of charge, you can knock a few bucks off the total price in this situation.
Now we come to the tire installation price. Since Tire Rack works online only, there isn’t a shop where you can have the new tires fitted. Instead, there are over 9000 independent shops that Tire Rack recommends. There are some positive and negative sides to this.
On the positive side of things, with over 9000 shops, you can be sure that there will be one near your home. Going for this option means that the shop works according to Tire Rack’s recommendations, and you will get the tire appropriately installed. If you decide to take this route, Tire Rack can also deliver the tires to the shop, and all you’ll need to do is schedule a date and time for the installation.
The only negative thing about this approach is the price for replacement. As each shop charges differently, you won’t know the price until you ask. Even though the differences between shops aren’t tenfold, you may run into shops with different prices.
When you purchase a set of tires, the next step in the chain is the shipment. You can either have the tires shipped to one of the recommended shops, or you can have them delivered to your home. Regardless of which option you choose, you can expect them to be delivered in a few days. As for actual shipment, the company can deliver your new set of tires or parts anywhere across the US.
As a bonus, Tire Rack also has an overseas shipping option, making it a multi-country supported retailer.
In terms of warranty, I will skip the part with the manufacturers’ warranties, as each one has different conditions.
As for Tire Rack, you get some additional warranty, but don’t expect too much. An option to return the tires is available, but as long as they are not used.
On the support side of things, I think that Tire Rack is among the best in the industry. Remember in the early days how the company’s website initially did tire reviews? Well, it continued the trend, and there are tons of articles and videos with various tire models.
There is also a plethora of articles that help people choose the right set of tires. They are pretty extensive and cover topics that some people wouldn’t even think of. Occasionally, you may even find some specific recommendations for tires based on your needs. Regardless if you want a tire with excellent performance, or a comfortable touring one, Tire Rack will offer plenty of advice.
People that want to get their hands dirty can also utilize a portion of Tire Rack’s articles section. To be specific, there are guides on replacing the tires yourself. Keep in mind that some additional tools will be required. Despite that, having the option and guidance to install them yourself is a nice touch.
The last piece of the puzzle in terms of support is the call center. If you’re not sure about the tires or just want to talk to a professional about some recommendations, then this is an excellent option. Tire Rack’s team consists of highly trained professionals eager to help customers to the best of their knowledge.
Tire Rack History
Tire Rack has a fascinating history, especially in terms of why the company exists. Peter Veldman and his son-in-law Mike Joines opened the retail location because Mike had difficulties finding tires for his car.
Initially, the store was physically opened for a while, but the owners quickly closed it due to popularity. Yes, you read right; Tire Rack had so many orders that they couldn’t keep up.
Once the store was closed, the company continued selling tires, but only by mail. In many ways, this was the origin of the company as we know it today.
Tire Rack’s first website was born in 1995, where the company was publishing reviews of the tires that it was selling. The first online order was in 1998, making Tire Rack one of the first companies that started online tire sales.
From that point on, the company continued growing, and the only physical location was the warehouses. These are the location where the tires and the rest of the products are stored.
Today, Tire Rack is an online ordering service with 8 warehouses across the US. From there, US residents can order tires and accessories to every location in the country.
If you haven’t guessed already, I quite like Tire Rack and the services that it offers. It may not be the best of the best and the most feature-rich, it’s a retailer that I always come back to.
As a person that doesn’t have a problem with tires and the knowledge surrounding them, the search option works like a charm. A good amount of people I know aren’t as knowledgeable, so the car type search option is excellent for them.
Inexperienced tire purchasers can rely on Tire Rack’s skilled professionals or the guide section. Both options are excellent, and you won’t need to worry about making a mistake.
In terms of available models and brands, Tire Rack doesn’t lack at all. Despite not being the most option-friendly, there are more than enough brands for anyone’s needs.
I cannot say that Tire Rack is the absolute best service for tire purchasing, but it’s among the top. The overall experience is positive and would satisfy most people’s needs.