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 ( 2 )
  • See all comments
  • Joe Casebere

     | about 23 days ago

    Of all the 'Tire Publications' you are the best at revealing and sharing historical topics within the industry. I look forward to your blogs and join you in several of the past facts that many folks have put behind them, sometimes to their regret. Keep the history flowing because it does have purpose!

More Stories
Hamaton has expanded the valve stem range for its U-Pro Hybrid 2.0 TPMS sensor with the addition of the Gun Metal Grey Clamp-In valve.
Product

Hamaton Introduces TPMS Valve in Gun Metal Grey

In response to the increasing popularity of gun metal grey alloys, Hamaton Inc. has released a TPMS valve for its U-Pro Hybrid 2.0 dual frequency, configurable and programmable sensor that matches the wheel’s distinctive finish.

Here I am in the old ITRA Training Center teaching a commercial tire service class. Based on my waist and hairline, I’m guessing it’s around 1998.
Article

Retreads -- and Retreaders -- are Better Than Ever

This year marked my 37th in the tire industry. I started what seems like a century ago, at age 15, stacking tires when I wasn’t cleaning whitewalls at our family tire dealership. By the time I was 18, I was running road service calls all over the Chicagoland area.

Figure 5: Installation of a snap-in sensor/valve assembly.
Article

TPMS: Chevrolet HHR and Malibu, 2007-16

The tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) on certain models of the Chevrolet HHR and Malibu (2007-2016) alerts the driver of a large tire pressure change in any of the four tires while the vehicle is being driven. The system also will display individual tire pressures and their locations on the driver information center (DIC).

In the past, European drivers wouldn’t go on summer vacation on all-season tires.
Article

Demand for All-Season Tires Grows in Europe

All over the world, people are talking about “climate change.” In Europe, this is hardly surprising, as over the last couple of years there has been some pretty erratic weather here.

Be the First to Know

Get the latest news and most popular articles from MTD delivered straight to your inbox. Stay on top of the tire industry and don't miss a thing!