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Price is right at independent tire dealerships

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Independent tire dealers came out on top in a price-competitiveness test appearing in the November issue of Consumer Reports (CR).

CR asked a number of tire-buying sources in 10 states if they stocked five specific touring tire brands and, if so, what they charged for the tires. The five tires were the Cooper Lifeliner Touring SLE, the Dunlop SP Sport A2, the Goodyear Eagle LS, the Michelin Energy MXV4 Plus and the Yokohama Avid H4.

Four of the distribution channels carried all five tires: independent tire dealers, large chains, car dealers and mass merchandisers (represented by Sears and Wal-Mart). Mail-order retailers (The Tire Rack, Discount Tire Direct) and warehouse clubs (Sam's Club, BJ's Wholesale) sold some of them.

Independent tire dealers had the lowest prices on Cooper, Goodyear and Yokohama tires. They came within $1 of the lowest Dunlop price, and $2 of the Michelin price.

Interestingly, the mail-order retailers, whose pricing included roughly $9 for shipping, had the lowest Dunlop and Michelin prices, and were price-competitive on the Goodyear and Yokohama pricing. They did not sell the Cooper tire.

The warehouse clubs contacted did not sell the Cooper, Dunlop or Yokohama tires.

Mass merchandisers had the highest prices in all five cases.

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