Canadian winters can be harsh and at times dangerous. We all know that having winter tires on is a great way to ensure some extra safety and traction while driving in unpredictable conditions.
Did You Know?
In 2016, the Ontario government created a new rule that pushed insurance companies in the province to provide a discount to drivers who buy and install winter tires. This discount is not just about saving money, but more about reducing potential danger on our roads. By having winter tires on your vehicle, both yourself and the insurance company benefit. That is why insurance companies offer a 5% discount if your vehicle is equipped with winter tires.
To take advantage of this discount, call your insurance company and ask for the following details:
Visit Ontario.ca for more information!
Tire Changers featured in national tire magazine, TireNews by Autosphere (page 18 &19).
Nationwide, the automotive industry is taking notice: mobile tire changing services are a welcome alternative to the typical garage experience.
Check out the full article below!
Furthermore, after 4 years the savings add up to $280, definitely not pocket change!
So if you're one of the smart ones out there with winter tires on separate rims, you can now tell your co-workers that you're saving a pile of money and you have the added convenience of having Tire Changers come to your home :)
We called our local Canadian Tire to get prices for averaged sized steel rims, the cost was about $200 for 4 steel rims, aka 'steelies'. The charge for a tire changeover on separate rims was $40 and the charge for a tire changeover with one set of rims was $100.
The cost for a tire changeover with one set of rims is higher because mounting tires on a single set of rims take a much longer and is more labour intensive.
Each off-season tire would need to be removed from the rim, then the in-season tire would have to be put back on the rim, and then the tire and rim would need to be re-balanced (balancing is a process by which small weights are added to the rim so that the complete tire and rim roll smoothly).
Let's see how much it will cost after a few years in both cases...
It’s no secret that the price of tires in the Unites States are cheaper than here in Canada; the real question is ‘How big of a discount are we talking here?’ and then ‘You had me at ‘big discount’, how to?’.
To make it easy I’m going to select a popular tire size (215/60-16) for my comparison. You may have a different tire size but the end results will likely be similar.
I live in Ottawa, ON and the closest American city is Ogdensburg, NY, which is about a 50 minute drive. Similar results will apply if you live in any Canadian city close to the US border.
To buy tires from the USA, I usually head over to these popular websites: TireRack.com, DiscountTire.com and Walmart.com. Obviously there are plenty other options, but these three tire retailers will make my point.
If you’re buying from Tire Rack or Discount Tire, you will need to have the tires shipped to an American address. Businesses that can act as your US address, like the UPS store in Ogdensburg, will accept parcels on your behalf for a small fee. If you’re buying from Walmart.com, they will ship any item on their website to any American Walmart store for free (they call it ‘site to store’).
Getting back to the tire price comparison. I mentioned a popular tire size of 215/60-16. I’m also going to choose a very popular winter tire, General Tire Altimax Arctic. It was pretty easy to find this tire/size combination across every website for the comparison.
Next, I’m going to compare tire prices from our American friends to the tire prices at Canadian Tire. Keep in mind that this chart should serve as a general reference, as every store has sales and discounts from time to time. The table below includes all of the costs associated with buying tires in Canada and in the USA.
Some interesting things to note are that Tire Rack adds a delivery charge and NY sales tax at checkout, while Discount Tire does not charge for shipping and does not charge state tax. All prices have been converted to Canadian Dollars for an apple-to-apple comparison (exchange rate at time of writing USD/CDN: 1.09).
Furthermore, if you want to have your tires mounted and balanced, the American Walmart store will do it for $15/tire, watch out though, they will only install tires that are sized according to car manufacturers guidelines. So it’s good to call ahead just to make sure. If you buy from Tire Rack or Discount Tire, bring them home, any local garage can mount and balance for about $20/tire.
So there you have it, buying tires from the USA can save you over $300 for one of the most popular tire brands and size. And now you know how to do it for yourself.
To help you make it even easier to see the potential discount, I have added a calculator that includes all of the fees and costs required to purchase from the USA. Simply enter the price for one tire from each retailer as advertised and see if it’s worth the effort to buy from the USA.
Drop some feedback below and let me know how much money are you able to save on your tires!
Tires deteriorate over time due to UV and air exposure in a process called outgassing. As the tire ages, the rubber becomes harder and more brittle which can eventually lead to major tire failure like tire-tread separation. Definitely not a good thing. Experts say that tire-tread separation can cause drivers to be involved in serious crashes that could result in death.
Checking a tires age is actually pretty easy and fun to do.
Every tire has a “manufactured-on” date. It’s a 4 digit number found right on the side of the tire. To find it, look for a marking with the letters ‘DOT’, there should be a 4 digit number close by. Something like 1411.
The first 2 digits indicate the week of the year the tires were made, so 14 means the 14th week in a calendar year, which would be sometime in April. The last 2 digits indicate the year the tires were made, so 11 would mean there tires were made in the year 2011.
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