Online shopping is experiencing an amazing boom right now, with traditional retailers all scrambling to jump on the digital bandwagon.  But does buying stuff online make sense for everything? Does it actually make sense to buy something like tyres online?

Save on Tyres is a new site launched to sell you tyres (and wheels) for your car via their website. Sounds simple, and it is. But how does it compare in terms of simplicity and price?

First up, the site lacks one key feature – the ability to choose by car, not by tyre size. The average consumer would have no idea that their Commodore Omega takes a 225/60R16, so you’d actually need to head out to the car and check the existing tyre to get the correct details. Admittedly, the site shows you where to find that information, but it could be significantly simpler if they simply recommended which tyre might fit your car, allowing you to price check, before insisting on confirmation during the buying process.

Once you establish the tyre you need (and I did do this comparison based on the VE Commodore Omega standard fit 225/60R16, which as a common vehicle so should offer competitive pricing) you get a price right up front.

Save on Tyres Website

Right off the bat I had no idea of $135 for a set of Falken tyres was a good deal.  So I rang my local Bob Jane T-Mart and asked for a price on that exact same tyre.

Bob Jane price – $259 Fitted and Balanced.  So $1036 and I’m out of there.

Save on Tyres will deliver 4 chunks of rubber to my house for $540.  But they’re pretty useless sitting on my doorstep.

Save on Tyres suggest your local mechanic will fit and balance them for you.  I rang two mechanics randomly off a local business directory.  Both said they didn’t do that, and that I would need to go to a tyre shop.

Awkward!  Dear Mr Bob Jane or Mr Jax – Please fit these tyres which I bought online to undercut you and potentially in the long term put you out of business.  A difficult one for the average consumer to tackle.

However, my local Jax tyre store told me they would happily fit them for $25 a tyre, making the total bill $640 – a $396 saving. I called Bob Jane back, and while they couldn’t offer me the Falken Tyre any cheaper they would do a Bridgestone for me at $180 fitted. Total cost is $720.

No matter what, the Save on Tyres website option is cheaper.  Is it really a better option though?

Consider first the size of tyres. Many cars couldn’t even fit 4 tyres in them to take to the local mechanic for fitting, unless you put them on the back seat which raises the question about whether you really want the smell of rubber in the car.

It’s certainly not for everyone. But with savings like the ones I’m seeing here it is hard to argue that this is not a compelling option for a lot of people. A few hundred dollars here and there will make a vast difference to the family budget.

Interestingly, in talking to the local Jax store, it appears the future of tyre retail is about to change anyway – Jax will soon launch a full online system where you can not only look at prices but also order, pay and book the fitting time all online so all you need to do is turn up.  Frankly, that’s more likely the way I’d go – but if you really want to ‘save on tyres’ there is a very real option now available online.

Web: Save on Tyres