I admit it: I’m into rubber. Just to clarify, I do care about what boots my cars wear. Right now I am at that stage where I am scouting around for rubber and I just wondered how you went about the whole process.
There are so many options that I reckon it’s best to combine telephone calls and the interweb. I won’t go into the pounds and pence detail, but it is very important to speak to a human being at some point. That’s because on the face of it you can find yourself looking at tyres that are supposed to be fitted to vans and 4x4s.
The man I spoke to when trying to buy new rubber could not source an identical tyre. To his credit, he didn’t take the easy and cheaper way out, either, as the alternatives had lower speed ratings. That's something your insurance company might be interested in should there be a claim.
As for online, although some sites make you tick boxes to confirm the tyres are identical, you could still buy wrong or inappropriate rubber, which isn’t good.
After panicking that the tyres I wanted no longer existed, I phoned a main dealer. They could supply and fit tyres, at a price plus VAT. Then an online outfit said they could supply and fit at the same price including VAT, on my premises.
Meanwhile, my local, usually competitive independent garage never got back to me. Typical.
Buying bits for cars is never straightforward, but it is all part of the fun. So how, exactly, do you shop for tyres? And – most importantly – who gives you the best deal: local, main dealer or internet?