Why Are Tires So Expensive? Here Are The Main Reasons

Why are tires so expensive is a question many car owners have asked themselves more than once. The answer is due to the high production costs, rigorous research, and intricate performance technologies implemented.

Expensive Tires for Car ~ Ran When Parked

Sometimes, supply issues can cause tire costs to rise. We’ve discussed these and more reasons below, so read on to be fully informed.

What Makes Tires So Expensive?

What makes tires so expensive is the high production costs involved. The tire manufacturing process uses numerous materials, which cost money and time to obtain and process. Much research and testing are also involved, but sometimes, the high prices could be needed for customized tires or supply issues.

Whether you need to replace one or all of the four tires on your car, you’ve probably received crazy offers from different dealers. And if you’re buying tires for the first time, you need to understand why they cost that much. The worst part is that tire costs never seem to come down – they increase over time.

See more of the most common reasons why car tires cost almost an arm and a leg:

Production Cost Is High

The tire manufacturing process is energy-intensive and quite expensive. Manufacturers continually reinvent how they make their tires to keep up with competition and market demands. On top of that, the process involves using enormous machinery, which costs large sums of money.

To accommodate all customers’ needs, manufacturers make two types of tires – economy (cheap) and performance (expensive).

Production Cost of Tires ~ Ran When Parked

Both use multiple layers of materials in their production. The cheap tires use fewer layers to make them cheaper and affordable to most car owners. On the other hand, expensive tires use more layers to make them more durable and wear-resistant and facilitate better vehicle handling.

Steel rods and beads are also used in manufacturing to give the tires (all types of tires) the strength and rigidity necessary.

Obtaining and processing all these materials is costly. The cost will also increase if more processing is needed, particularly for the performance tires. Moreover, tires are bulky items, making transportation and storage expensive. All that dictates how much a tire will cost eventually.

Numerous Materials are Used

Unlike many people’s perception, tires are more than just rubber. They are a combination of materials supported by continuous testing, science, and ongoing engineering design improvement of the shell and tread. A typical tire can contain over a hundred components, including synthetic and natural rubber, steel, nylon, and steel.

For example, body plies form the foundation of the tire structure and offer the strength needed to withstand inflation pressure. The plies provide the tire strength and flexibility.

Bead ensures an air-tight fit to the car wheel, while steel belts are required to stabilize and strengthen the tire’s tread area. A rubber inner liner is used to retain the inflation pressure inside the tire.

On the sidewall, a rubber compound covers the body plies to provide protection against road and curb damage. Finally, a tire must contain a well-defined tread pattern formed by rubber material to provide grip and traction.

So, while the outside tires look like molded rubber, they are layers of a set of materials. As stated, oil is included, meaning that the world price of a barrel of oil also affects the cost of tire production.

Rubber itself isn’t very expensive. What makes tires expensive is the wide range of materials involved in manufacturing and the energy needed to combine them.

Rigorous Research Is Involved

All tires aren’t made the same. Each brand uses a unique formula and recipe in manufacturing. As mentioned, every company commits to making the best type of tire to get an edge in the competitive market. To produce an ideal tire, the companies must invest in rigorous research and testing of the various materials and chemicals.

Changing Tires in Car ~ Ran When Parked

That involves hiring researchers and scientists. The process may begin with a weather handling test, especially for all-season tires. The researchers and scientists will also carry out hydroplaning-resistance tests. They also check the tire’s braking and cornering abilities and test the vibration and noise level during a ride.

The most critical part is determining for which vehicle a type is made. All these tests and research must yield flawless results before the tire becomes the final product. If the testing is approved, the mass production can begin. With their top-notch skills, they produce tires that wear out less and meet the customers’ needs.

This research and testing costs a lot of money, and manufacturers must transfer these costs to the consumer. So, when buying a set of high-quality tires, remember that they are expensive because of the time and effort invested in their production.

Tires May Be in Low Supply

As stated, different manufacturers use unique formulas and recipes. As a result, people perceive that some tire brands are better than others. If most car owners buy specific brands, the tires will run out faster than restocked.

So, sometimes, tire dealers will hike their prices when the supply of certain brands is low. If you shop at local tire shops and online retailers (e-commerce sites), you may notice that tire costs fluctuate constantly. It’s always wise to consider an alternative just in case your favorite brand gets too expensive.

Intricate Tire Performance Technologies Implemented

Modern tires use different performance technologies to ensure efficiency and safety. These technologies are expensive to implement. For example, some tires are designed for high-speed conditions. That means they must grip the road better and prevent excess heating along the tread area.

Tire Performance Technologies ~ Ran When Parked

Also, tires for wet conditions feature more prominent tread elements and wide grooves, which require durable rubber materials. These variations increase the tire cost. Tires can also make a lot of noise on the road, which is annoying to most drivers.

To solve this problem, manufacturers invest in noise reduction and cancellation technologies. A less noisy tire will cost more because making it involves thorough research and engineering.

Manufacturers are focused on making models with superior handling to reduce road accidents. For that, they spend enormous amounts of money on developing prototypes and ensuring that the final product meets all legal requirements on safety.

Whether winter or summer, you’ll get specific tires meant for that season, whose production is costly.

Custom Tires Are More Expensive

Most people love having unique parts for their vehicles. They will purchase tires and then customize them in different ways. The tires may need several sizes more extensive than the typical ones to cater to such customization. The manufacturer is required to put in more labor, time, and resources, which adds to the final price.

Some buyers also order custom wheels directly from manufacturers. These tires call for special attention and time. Once they are ready, the manufacturer will add all the costs incurred, reflecting the final price. The more customized a tire is, the more expensive it will be.

Off-Road Tires Are More Costly

Off-road (rough-terrain) tires are designed to handle immense stress without ruining the tread life or suffering other damage. That need for durability and resilience means special attention is required in production.

Compared with regular tires, rough-terrain tires use top-notch materials in multiple layers to handle all kinds of challenging terrains without blowing up or springing a leak. That specialized manufacturing causes the prices to be higher than for everyday tires.

Off Road Tires ~ Ran When Parked

Besides, only some people go off-roading, which means the market is small. That also contributes to the high prices, particularly when demand increases during the off-roading season. So, if you’re buying off-roading tires, expect the prices to be expensive.

Besides all the discussed points, other factors also contribute to the high tire costs. For example, the current event and increasing shipping costs. Many have asked, Will tire prices go down in 2023? Probably not, due to situations like the Russian/Ukrainian war, which significantly impacted the supply of some types of tires in previous years.

Labor shortages within the manufacturing industry and the increasing shipping rates for raw materials will also likely cause a continued rise in tire costs. When will tire prices go down? With the inflation rate rising everywhere, it’s hard to predict a drop in tire costs soon.

The best you can do is buy tires with dependable quality to guarantee a more extended service and save money in the long run.

What Is the Average Cost of New Tires?

The average cost of new tires is about $240, depending on the tire quality. You can get an economy tire for as low as $50 and roughly $100 for the moderately priced options. However, the price of high-performance tires starts from $300 each.

Average Cost of New Tires ~ Ran When Parked

Different brands sell their tires at varying costs, so it is difficult to tell exactly how much you would spend on a new set of tires. As stated, you can get an inexpensive tire for between $50 and $150 each, but moderately priced tires range from $100 to $300 each.

Installing one tire will cost you anywhere from $15 to $45. That means the average cost of tires and installation (if you’re changing all four tires) can range from $260 to $860, depending on the tires you buy.

High-end tires, such as specialty off-road or ultra-high-performance, can cost as much as $1,000 each. So, you can pay over $4,150 to replace four such tires.

Consider shopping online, where you’ll likely get a favorable deal, and beware of seasonal sales. You can get great deals from Costco Tires, Tire Rack, and Walmart Tires, among other reputable tire dealers.

Some places provide free tire safety inspections after the tire purchase. It’s also essential to consider the warranty on different tire brands, such as Discount tires. Remember that practicing proper driving habits, keeping the tires adequately inflated wheels aligned, and ongoing maintenance can help prolong your tire life.


After reading our detailed article above, you’ve discovered why tires are so expensive.

But as our final thoughts, let’s put a few points in summary:

  • Many reasons make tires costly, including high costs, thorough research, and time-consuming tests involved in the production process.
  • Tire costs may sometimes be increased due to supply problems or the need for customized tires.
  • Specialized tires, such as the tires for off-roading, cost more because more time and effort are invested to ensure they offer optimal performance in challenging terrains.

That’s all you need to know about why tires are sold at sky-high prices. Remember when shopping for new tires, buy the best quality set from a trusted brand so they can serve you longer and save your money.


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