|Studless: $60-$550+||Studded: $75-$550+||Winter Performance: $100-$500+|
There are three basic types of winter or snow tires: studless, studded and winter performance. Prices for each depend on type, quality and size. Most standard passenger-vehicle wheels are 15"-20" in diameter, although they can be 14" or 22" or more.
Related articles: Tires, Wheel Alignment, Wheel Balancing
- Expect to pay $60-$550 each for studless snow tires that have biting edges and are made with a soft rubber compound that remains flexible in cold weather. On a typical car studless snow tires average about $100-$150 per tire or $250-$600 for a set of four; and on a SUV or light truck it's typically about $200-$400 each or $600-$1,200 for a set of four. For example, the Bridgestone Blizzak WS70 Studless Ice & Snow Tire for passenger vehicles costs about $85-$110 each with a 15" wheel diameter and $195-$230 each for 18".
- Studded tires for prolonged use in heavy snow and extreme cold have built-in metal teeth that bite into ice, and typically cost $75-$550 or more each. The Nokian Hakkapeliitta 7 Studded Snow Tire designed for "Nordic" conditions can cost $150-$500 ($450-$2,000 for a set of four) with wheel diameters of 14"-20".
- Winter performance tires (for sports cars and high-performance sedans) are designed to be safe in cold weather at high speeds or on wet or dry pavement, but not to plow through ice or snow-packed roads); they typically cost $100-$500 each, or $300-$2,000 for a set of four. The high-performance Michelin Pilot Alpin PA3 costs about $180-$245 with 17" wheels or $250-$365 each for 19".
What should be included:|
- Installation typically includes removing the old tire from the wheel and installing the new tire, with wheel balancing (if needed).
- Experts say winter or snow tires should always be installed on all four wheels. When two wheels grip and two wheels don't, the vehicle can easily pinwheel out of control, according to ConsumerSearch.com .
- Studded winter tires are illegal in some areas; AAA provides a summary of studded tire laws .
- The typical prices above do not include wheels. The options are to have one set of wheels and do a semi-annual tire swap (typically about $40-$80 each time for re-mounting and re-balancing four tires) or to have the winter or snow tires permanently mounted on a second set of wheels, making it a relatively simple matter to switch the entire tire-and-wheel-assembly twice a year. A set of wheels can cost $120-$500 or more new for a set of four, or a used set can be as low as $40-$80 About.com explains the options for a second set of wheels .
- Federal regulations now require tire pressure monitoring system sensors on new cars, and prohibit tire shops from mounting winter tires that disable the existing TPMS sensors, according to Consumer Reports . TPMS sensors can cost $50-$125 per tire, depending on the make and model of vehicle.
- Some studless snow tires have optional metal studs for an additional cost (typically $15-$25 per tire).
Shopping for snow tires:
- Most retailers offer a discount on a set of four tires. For example, Firestone periodically advertises a "buy three, get one free" tire special.
- The recommended tire size, speed rating and load rating for a vehicle will be listed on a placard in the doorjamb, glove compartment, trunk lid or fuel-filler door, as well as in the owners' manual and marked on the sidewall of each tire. Discount Tires explains how to read a tire code .
- Snow tires are available through tire dealers like Big O Tires , Firestone or Goodyear ; in automotive departments at retailers like Costco , Sears or Walmart ; or through online retailers like TireBuyer.com or TireRack.com .
- When comparing prices, always ask for the "out the door" or "all in" cost. Some shops automatically include a valve stem, tire mounting and wheel balancing in the cost of the tire, while others may charge an additional $2-$25 per wheel for these needed installation services. The "all in" price should include these services plus any any state or local environmental fees as well as sales tax.
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