Top 11 Best Cheap Tires in 2021 (Under $100)
While getting specialty tires on a budget remains an arduous task, there are a couple of fantastic best cheap tires if you are planning to spend $100 or less per tire.
Reputable manufacturers such as General Tires, BFGoodrich, and Falken, have worked hard to ensure the features of their best buy tires nearly match those of premium tires.
Here we bring you the most affordable quality tires for your car including all-season tires, summer tires, best touring tires, and more.
Go through our review of the best inexpensive tires in 2021 and grab yourself an awesome find.
The Best Deal on Tires in 2021
Best budget all season tires
Best mud tires for the money
For more noise free tire options, see our other review of the best tire for comfort and noise in 2021.
A Buyer’s Guide for the Best Buy Tires
Just as you have plenty of choices to think through when looking for new shoes, you need to consider a couple of issues when shopping for budget tires.
To help you land the right tire for your vehicle, here are the key factors to consider:
(i) Size and type
You don’t want to waste time (and money) returning the tires because you ordered the wrong size and type.
The way out here is straightforward- just check your car’s owner’s manual for information on the perfect tire size and the best tire type to use for your machine.
But don’t worry if you haven’t retained the manual (or the information placard) this long…the manufacturer’s website will likely have such details.
If not, contact the nearest dealer and request them for specifications on whether to go for all-season, all-terrain, snow tires, or performance/ultra-high performance tires and the correct size.
(ii) Understand the tire terminologies
The easiest way to approach tire buying is to select the exact model you have been using as long as you have been happy with its service.
But if you’re upgrading due to one reason or another, it’s important to be familiar with the common tire codes (found on the sidewall).
Below we look at them in the respective sequence as guided by this example: P215/65R 15 95H M+S (in the respective order)
- The first letter/number– indicates the vehicle’s primary function. For example ‘P’ implies a passenger car while ‘LT’ means for light trucks.
- 3-digit number- denotes the tire’s width. In our example, it’s 215 showing that it is 215mm wide.
- 2-digit number- this represents your tire’s aspect ratio. In our case, it is 65 meaning that the tire’s height equals 65% of the width.
- The next 1 letter- tells you about the construction type. Here ‘R’ means radial.
- 2-digit number- shows your wheel’s diameter. In this case, it is 15 signifying a diameter of 15 inches.
- 2 or 3-digit number (optional) – highlights the tire’s max loading capacity (tire load index). 95 (in our illustration) indicate that it holds up to 690 lb. (1,520 kg).
- The following 1 letter– stipulates tire’s speed rating, while carrying the maximum load. This varies a lot. For example, H shows it will reach 130 mph (210 km/h) on Sport Sedans and Coupes.
- Series of letters– these are mainly ‘M+S’ or ‘M/S’ to tell you if it will navigate in mud and snow or just one of them.
This is a no brainer- a manufacturer offering a longer warranty shows he trusts his brand and will not have problems giving a replacement or refunding you if the tire doesn’t deliver what it promises.
For this reason, concentrate on budget tires with longer warranty terms.
Having said that, most of the best tires for the money offer a warranty of anything between 40k-80k miles meaning anything below 40k miles should set your alarm bells ringing.
Some further give you a limited trial period to allow you to get a feel of the tire before making the purchase.
(iv) Treadwear and tread design
Traction is crucial in automobile tires and it will heavily influence your purchase decision.
This takes me back to the sidewall and this time you should check for the treadwear number- overall, the higher it is, the longer your tire lasts.
As a guide, the minimum you should accept is 300 regardless of the manufacturer.
Don’t forget to inspect the tread design while still there.
This impacts traction and overall tire performance and since it’s not coded, the easiest way to determine if it will meet your needs is by perusing the reviews left by other buyers on the website.
Lastly, a useful value to check here would be the UTQG (uniform tire quality grading system).
Now, UTQG assesses the tire’s quality (excluding winter tires) by looking into considerations such as treadwear, temperature (heat dissipation), and traction.
Look for tires with UTQG rating of at least A for traction to be on the safe side when comparing budget car tires.
(v) The extras
Also, keep an eye on the extra charges- some retailers play games here and can raise the price above $100 if you’re not keen.
Among others, ask about the installation charges, applicable disposal charges for the old tires, sales tax, and the price of replacing the tire stems (recommended each time you purchase new tires).
Moreover, find out how much it will cost you to rebuild or reset the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) if due and if you’ll be charged to fill the tires with nitrogen.
Best cheap tires: FAQs
This section answers some of the questions you may have about the best affordable tires.
Q. Should you always buy expensive car tires?
Well, while most of the expensive tires tend to be very well made and excel in traction, temperature dissipation, handling, braking, and more, sometimes you stumble on tires retailing at scarcely believable prices that perform nearly as well.
Therefore, it’s not a must for you to always shell out a large amount of money to secure a good-quality car tire as long as you are keen when comparing inexpensive tires.
Q. Are cheap tires safe
Generally speaking, yes.
You see, because of technological advancements that have dramatically brought down the cost of producing tires, manufacturers can now afford to include premium safety enhancement in budget tires.
For instance, the reinforced silica compound used in many of them improves cushioning and thus ride comfort.
Similarly, inventions like reactive contour technology help the best cheap tires adapt to adverse driving conditions to provide better control.
Q. What is the difference between all season and all terrain tires?
All-season tires work for many vehicles as they perfectly balance traction between both dry and wet roads.
Subsequently, this category of tires excels on a wide array of conditions including highways, light winter driving, and wet roads (unless the conditions become extreme).
All-terrain tires are, on the other hand, the stars of off-road conditions and harsh winters on the account of their more aggressive tread patterns.
They are however quite versatile and also perform well when driven on tarmac.
Q. Does Walmart mount and balance tires for free?
Unless when running a promotion, Walmart doesn’t offer free tire mounting and balancing service.
Their basic package is however cheap and starts at just $15 per tire.
Q. What’s the best time of the year to buy tires?
To encourage car owners to buy tires before winter, most sellers have crazy offers in the month of October and you’re likely to save significant bucks.
If you miss, try to order auto tires in April – the weather is now warm and people are just about to embark on fun road trips and adventure and retailers again knock down the prices.
Q. Is it better to put new tires on the front or back?
If you have just purchased a new pair of tires, it’s always advisable to install the brand new tires on the back axle.
This helps boost your car control especially when wet because of the deeper tread (resists hydroplaning).
Q. Why and how often should you rotate your tires?
As you might be aware, rotating your car tires helps produce an even wear leading to extended tire life.
Needless to say, it’s also vital for your safety on the road.
Experts suggest that you rotate your tires after every 5,000-8,000 miles.
Buying tires in 2s or 4s ensures that your vehicle’s axles are on a matching pair and it could go a long way in ensuring that your car drives smoothly all the time. And you don’t have to pay a dime for them as we’ve seen there’s a good number of cheap tires with superb features.
Additionally, be sure to have a professional install your brand new tires- Sam’s Club and Costco are quite affordable- it again keeps a plethora of issues at bay.
Finally, observe all the tire’s maintenance procedures including checking for optimal air pressure, rotating them after every 5,000-8,000 miles, and visually inspecting the tire after hitting potholes or any road debris.
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