Why Are Tires Expensive? (11 Reasons Why)

Why are tires expensive? If you own a car, you might have asked yourself this question, maybe more than once.

Whether you need to replace one or all tires, you’ll get a pricey quote from most tire dealers and manufacturers. What’s worse, the price has been going up over time. So, why are they these costly? Here are the top 11 reasons why.

Why Are Tires So Expensive?

Tires are so expensive because of different factors, such as manufacturers are now making tires that are long-lasting, durable, long-lasting, that come with better mileage on the road. Trends such as custom tires are also contributing to higher prices. In some cases, tire dealers increase their costs due to supply issues and trade tariffs.

If you want to know more about how these factors affect tire pricing and why keep on reading!

1. Companies Are Doing More Research

All tires are not made the same, and each company has its own unique formula. Due to increasing competition and the influx of companies in the industry, tire manufacturers have to spend more time on research.

Each company has hired researchers and scientists to experiment on different materials and tire compositions to make the best tire.

With their set of skills, they create tires that last longer on the road, wear out less, and meet the customer’s needs.

However, these research projects don’t come cheap; because the company has to pay for new tech and salaries.

Therefore, the manufacturer has to transfer the costs to the consumer to cover the cost of research and resources.

When buying high-quality brands with new features, remember that they are expensive because of the work that has gone into them.

2. Innovative Manufacturing Processes

Tires are expensive because it is costly to manufacture them. Manufacturers are constantly reinventing the way they produce their tires to keep up with market demands and competition.

A tire is composed of rubber compounds, steel, and chemicals, which are also costly to purchase.

There’s more demand for performance and sporty tires, which cost a lot more to manufacture. Additionally, these types of tires are made with more layers which are costly.

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To strengthen the tires, manufacturers also add steel rods and beads. All these components come at a fee; therefore, tire companies have to factor in the same on the total cost.

Tires that need more intense processes are more expensive. This is why performance tires tend to be a bit pricey than your regular tires.

3. Vehicles Have Bigger Wheels

3. Vehicles Have Bigger Wheels

According to a 2019 Consumer Reports survey, drivers spent about $137 on a sedan, coupe, hatchback, or minivan tire, while the SUV tire was $162 and pickup trucks at $175. Keep in mind that this cost doesn’t include the cost of installation.

Based on these numbers, drivers are paying more for their tires because their cars come with bigger wheels.

Therefore, premium tire brand makers such as Michelin and Goodyear are pricing their sporty utility vehicles and sedans with larger diameter wheels at a higher price.

If your car has these types of wheels, expect to pay more when shopping for new tires.

In addition, there’s more demand for these types of tires. Therefore, companies are taking advantage of this and pricing them higher.

4. Tires Have Superior Handling

Tires are one of the leading causes of accidents. Therefore, manufacturers are now focused on making alternatives that have superior handling to boost safety.

Manufacturers today spend more time on developing prototypes, so if a tire is faulty, they won’t sell any of them. However, if they do, the company enforces tire recalls.

To avoid such issues and potential lawsuits, tire companies check for leaks and treadwear problems and correct them before the product goes to the market.

Once the prototype is ready, the manufacturers take the wheels on a test drive to check for any difficulties in steering or if the car veers off the road.

In case of a problem, they have to go back to the drawing board and use more materials to create an expensive new product. These costs are passed on to the customer when the tire is ready.

5. Tires Are Less Noisy

Tires can be noisy on the road, which is irritating to most drivers. To reduce this problem, tire manufacturers have invested in noise reduction and cancellation techniques to make their products superior.

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You’ll notice that less noisy tires are more expensive.

Making a quiet tire involves a lot of research, and engineering is expensive. Due to the specialized demand, companies that make quiet tires will increase their price to cover their investment.

6. Supply Issues

On some occasions, tire dealers will hike their prices when there is a supply issue. If you shop online on e-commerce sites and at local tire shops, you might notice that the prices fluctuate a lot.

This happens depending on the availability of some brands. If the customers are purchasing specific brands, they are likely to run out faster than the restock.

Therefore, if the tire is too expensive, you can check an alternative if the demand is not too high.

7. Tires Have A Longer Tread Life

7. Tires Have A Longer Tread Life

Tire tread is one of the most important parts of the tire. In fact, the tread depth has a legal limit of 1.6mm.

Treads determine how long the tire will last and how fast it wears out. Some parts, such as the groove, impact the grip and traction on the road as well as fuel efficiency.

If your tire has no tread or it’s gone below the limit, you’ll need to buy new tires immediately. This is because it affects your steering, braking, and overall performance.

Therefore, manufacturers are now producing tires with a tread depth that lasts longer so that drivers can use them for longer.

To make up for the lost revenue they get when you buy new tires, companies increase the price of tires with a better tread depth.

8. Demand For Custom Tires

Most drivers like to modify their tires after buying them. Therefore, they’ll buy tires that are several sizes larger to cater for the customization.

On the other hand, some buyers order these custom tires directly from the manufacturer. These tires need special attention and will require more money, labor, and time.

When the final product is ready, the manufacturer adds all the costs incurred, which increases the final tire price.

9. Tires Have Better Gas Mileage

Gas is expensive; therefore, drivers prefer to drive a cost-effective vehicle that does not consume too much fuel.

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Drivers are also looking to reduce their carbon footprint; so, they need a car with reduced gas mileage.

Tires with better gas mileage are more expensive than regular ones because there’s more engineering involved.

For a tire to be fuel-efficient, it has to have good handling abilities and have a well-designed tread.

If you combine all these factors, the final price will be definitely higher than standard tires.

10. Tires Are Designed For Different Seasons

10. Tires Are Designed For Different Seasons

Whether it’s summer or winter, you’ll get a specific tire meant for this season. Manufacturers are now focusing on creating tires that can handle the hot and cold seasons without reducing the performance.

For these tires to be effective in these seasons, they need to have the required tread to grip the road without skidding or blowing out.

During winter, drivers need tires that can drive through snow and ice without sliding. On the other hand, summer tires need the right rubber compounds to prevent overheating and blowouts.

11. Demand For Off-Road Tires

Off-road tires are in more demand and tend to be costly because they can handle challenging terrains compared to regular tires.

When driving off-road, the tire is under immense stress; therefore, it needs to be made using high-quality materials for durability.

Since they are specialized, the tire manufacturers price them higher than other alternatives.

To know more about tires, you can also see our posts on how long do SUV tires last, how long do Toyo tires last, and how long do mud tires last.


Tires are expensive because of how they are manufactured to be more durable and the demand and supply factors.

Drivers are focusing more on custom and sporty tires, which tend to be expensive. Additionally, the tires that can handle off-road terrains and be used in different weather conditions are also costlier than standard tires.

When shopping, you can save money by getting second-hand quality tires or using seasonal tires to reduce the wear-out rate. If you didn’t know why tires are so expensive nowadays, now you know!

2 thoughts on “Why Are Tires Expensive? (11 Reasons Why)”

  1. Vehicles have bigger wheels but the outside diameter is still the same, so isn’t there less material used? So why wouldn’t it be cheaper?

    • Exactly, I think this has been sponsored by the tyre brands. Note: “the costs need to be passed to consumers”. This isn’t the case. Tyre manufacturers invest a proportion of their annual profits into R&D to remain relevant and competitive. The reason tyres are so expensive at the moment is that companies are taking advantage of the stock market oil price hike to increase their list price to consumers (even though manufacturing costs have only slightly increased). Tyre company Procurement and Engineering teams are targeted annually on reducing production costs across their ranges to deliver a higher return to shareholders. With the many new entrants in the markets, you have choices. Each tyre is given a rating for grip, wet performance and noise. A budget tyre is never going to give you the same level of tyre wear as a premium (over the life of the tyre). However a mid range will be comparable, with the opportunity to halve the cost. Shop around, do some research, look for a comparable mid tier brand who is aggressively buying market share and you can make some great savings.


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