How Tire Pricing Has Changed in 16 Years

Bob Ulrich
Posted on July 16, 2019
This ad ran in the Sunday, June 29, 2003, Toledo (Ohio) Blade.
This ad ran in the Sunday, June 29, 2003, Toledo (Ohio) Blade.

I was going through my files at home the other day and ran across a Toledo Blade newspaper article from June 29, 2003. The article isn't important; on the back of it, however, was an ad for Michel Tires Plus.

Many of you probably remember that Michel Tire and Tires Plus were two of the largest independent tire chains in the country. Larry Morgan acquired Michel Tire's 57 stores in 1998, then Tires Plus's 82 stores in 2000. Both chains became company-owned stores when Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. purchased a majority interest in Morgan Tire & Auto in 2001.

The ad was celebrating the 4th of July with tire specials at five Michel Tires Plus locations, including the store at 5154 Monroe St. in Sylvania. One of the big specials was a 4 for $99 deal for size 155/80R13 Executive tires (for the life of me I can't remember who made the Executive line, but I am guessing it was owned by Bridgestone). That's $24.75 apiece. The tire featured a 40,000-mile limited tread wear warranty. The mounting and balancing and valve stems were free.

Compare that to the same store 16 years later. The Sylvania store -- Michel has officially been removed from the Tires Plus sign -- only has one tire in that size on its website. Four 155/80R13 Primewell PS830/850 tires, backed by a 40,000-mile warranty, sell for $163.96, or $40.99 each. Including computerized wheel balancing ($39.96) and valve stems ($8.00) the cost is $211.92.

$211.92 vs. $99: That's a 114% increase. And, quite frankly, a better tire pricing business model. The tire by itself increased in price 65%, from $24.75 to $40.99 -- about $1 a year.

Here's another comparison. There was also a size 225/60R16 Bridgestone B420 with a 65,000-mile warranty for $78.99 in the 2003 ad. Again, mounting and balancing and valve stems were free. Today, the Tires Plus store sells three tires in that size and with that warranty:

1. Toyo Extensa A/S, $80 (only $1.01 more).

2. Firestone All Season $96 ($17.01 more).

3. Falken Ziex ZE950 A/S, $96 ($17.01 more)

The new prices do not include free mounting, balancing and valve stems.

Finally, there was a coupon in the ad for an oil change and filter. If you completed the Tires Plus credit card application, the cost was $9.99; if not, then I don't know what the cost was. The standard oil change price today for the Tires Plus store is $24.99.

The average price of a replacement passenger tire in the U.S. has increased 78% since 2003. But as you can see, it depends on the tire.

Related Topics: B.O.B., consumer tires, Falken Ziex ZE950, Firestone All Season, Larry Morgan, oil changes, passenger tires, tire pricing, Toyo Extensa A/S

Bob Ulrich Editor
Comments ( 1 )
  • Brian

     | about 22 hours ago

    Inflation from 2003 to today was 39.4% so that would make the 16" $110.14 and the 13" $34.51 with just inflation calculated in. The rest of the comparisons are hard because tires and cars have changed. I did see an interesting comparison done with car prices vs tire prices in the last 20-30 years tire prices have not increased as much as car prices have

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