1. Proliferation of Tire Sizes: In the olden days, we had three tires sizes: 13", 14", and 15", which were usually for compact, mid-sized, and full-sized cars, respectively. Few sizes meant that volume production could lower prices. And since dealers needed only to stock a few sizes, they could cut overhead as well. Today, we have so many Prescription Tire Sizes that it isn't funny!2. China Tariff: The Obama Administration signed a Tariff Order recommended by the ITC which added a 35-55% tariff to Chinese Tires. While this "only" affected the price of Chinese tires directly, the net effect is to reduce price pressure across the board. Since cheap Chinese tires are no longer cheap, other manufacturers don't need to cut tire prices to stay competitive. By the way, if you think slapping import duties on Chinese goods is a good way to "save jobs", go shopping for tires sometime. Imagine everything you buy going up in price by 50% in just a few years. Fun, eh?"
3. Price of Oil: Oil is a component in tire construction, and the price of oil has gone up in recent years.4. Rubber Shortage: Apparently, there is a rubber shortage in India.5. Demand for Cars in China: The Chinese are buying cars like mad, and it is the world's fastest growing car market. And all those cars need tires. So the demand for tires is skyrocketing, worldwide, as well.
1. Get a car with standard tire sizes: Esoteric tires sizes or "sport" package high-performance tires are always more expensive than standard passenger car sizes. 15" tires were the most common size, until a few years ago. 16" and 17" are now becoming the norm. 18" is an oddball size, and 19" and 20"+ sizes are also more esoteric. Ultra-low profile and "staggered" and unidirectional tires are also harder to find and thus more expensive. When shopping for a car, avoid oddball tires and high-performance tires. Most people don't need or want them!2. Rotate your tires regularly and check for unusual wear: Many cars wear tires in one spot or another, and rotating tires will even wear and extend tire life. If you find the front tires are "scrubbing" on the inside or outside, have your alignment checked. Cupping or other unusual wear is often a sign of suspension problems and can eat up perfectly good tires in short order.3. Check Inflation regularly: Even though new cars have tire pressure monitors, be sure to check your tire pressures regularly and make sure they are to factory spec. Under-inflation is the #1 tire killer!4. Shop Around and Shop Online: Online tire sites like Tire Rack have prices that are far below the "come on" prices that many tire shops charge. Most chain stores won't quote you a price until they have your car up on the rack - they hope to "persuade" you to buy whatever they have in stock, rather than let you shop around.5. Avoid Super-Cheap Tires: Modern tires have tread wear ratings, which are not an exact science. However, they give you an idea of the tread life of a tire. Unless you are really in the market for performance tires, look for a tire with a decent tread life and tread warranty. More expensive tires may be less expensive, in the long run, if they provide more miles of service. Cheap tires that last barely 30,000 miles are often not worth it.