Tyre buyer beware when shopping online
Updated 19 Feb 2021
Online shopping is a modern phenomenon and unsurprisingly has extended to motoring.
Most of us are quite relaxed about going online to schedule a car service, contact dealerships, arrange finance or order licence plates that say MON6REL, PAID4, V8POW3R or something of similarly searing intelligence.
However, reticence still exists in some areas and one of them is buying tyres online.
It's baffling how we can take our tyres for granted.
It’s only when we suffer a flat, or the car begins skating around like some precariously polymered version of Torvill and Dean, or we receive a stern warning from the police, that many devote more than the slightest attention to their well-being.
Trouble is, their well-being is essential to ours.
As the only part of a vehicle that actually touches the road surface, the choice, condition and maintenance of our tyres has ramifications across safety, reliability and performance.
For the purposes of this article, we’re assuming you know your vehicle needs new tyres, you're all over the specs and you've decided to buy online.
The good news is that in our time-poor world, the internet is rich with options.
All the brands, retailers, mechanics and prices are there.
So too are all the added incentives. You know the type of thing – order four, pay for three; pay for four, get the spare for gratis; buy this brand and enjoy a half-price lunch with Trev the fitter.
While going online makes tyre comparison instant and easy, and presents opportunities to save some bucks on your boots, it doesn't remove the need to be diligent.
Neither are you less immune to the sharks and shonks waiting to prey on the gullible.
The old adage of "buyer beware" carries extra relevance online.
That bargain price may look terrific, but does it include the cost of freight, delivery, fitting and balancing?
How long will it take for the tyres to arrive?
When can your favourite outlet fit you in to bung them on?
Why have I never heard of that brand?
In other words, that dirt cheap set of tyres from that country you've never heard of and with the T&Cs you couldn't decipher even if they were spelled correctly, may not be the wisest online buying choice.
Reputation, reassurance and reliability cannot be discounted.
The advantage of dealing online with established names such as, for example, Bob Jane T-Marts, Bridgestone, Beaurepaires, Tyrepower, Goodyear, Dunlop, Yokohama, Hankook and JAX is that they've been around for yonks, they all offer big ranges, incentives and deals, and they also run actual stores that you can go in rather than log in.
Many stores have cookies, but the good kind.
Finally, check out customer reviews online.
While many manufacturers and retailers post testimonials on their websites, these will have been carefully curated. Amazon is a good place to start for a broader range of online opinions.
You can buy anything and everything online these days.
With tyres, the key is to be aware that some are cheap for good reason, some deals are too good to be true, and compromised safety and performance for the sake of a purported bargain does not and should not compute.
Through AutoGuru, you can easily get a quote to supply and fit your new tyres from a range of local tyre experts.
All you need to do is let us know what kind of tyre you're after, and we'll do the rest!
Michael Jacobson is an award-winning Queensland-based writer.
His appreciation for motoring began as a young journalist covering racing from Simmons Plains in Tasmania.
Over the years he has interviewed many Australian and international motoring greats.
He has also been driven around Lakeside Raceway at ferocious speed, circumnavigated the Gold Coast Indy circuit at more than 200kmh and managed to squeeze 365,000 kilometres out of a Toyota Starlet.