Tire Kingdom ad for Buy 2 get 2 free!!1!

One thing that's bugged me a little is the penchant for tire places to have great buy three, get one free tire deals, but recently Tire Kingdom blew them all out of the water with its BOGO replacement: Buy two, get two free deal.

I don't get it. Either we're getting robbed when we buy a single tire -- which, I'm afraid to admit, I've been trained to do over long decades of watching a particular role model do the same -- or there's something fishy about these BTGO and now BTGT offers.

There isn't a ton of red tape on the Tire Kingdom deal. Here it is:

For a limited time, buy two select tires, and get two free when you purchase our Value Installation Package on all four tires
Valid on purchase of select in-stock tires. Purchase of Value Installation Package at regular price required on all four tires. Charge for additional parts/service if needed. Plus up to 10% shop fee based on non-discounted retail price not to exceed $35 (where permitted). Local, state and/or tire disposal fees where applicable. In instances of a staggered fitment vehicle, the purchase combination must include four (4) qualifying products. Discount will be taken off the lowest-priced tires. Not valid with other discount offers. Eligibility may vary depending on tire size and model

Okay, so we've got a shop fee for 10% of the tire, which is a little high. It's fair to say that we're only getting a 90-95% break in the freebees.

But the only super serious issue here is "when you purchase our Value Installation Package on all four tires". At its worst, we might something like this post suggests they found:

Buy 2 tires, get 2 free..

2 tires, installed, costs $465, and that's if you only buy the 2 and don't get the other 2.

Now, if you get the 2 free and get those installed, it's $950.

But let's pretend installation fees aren't the scam for a second. What's going on? I think I figured it out.

Tire places : Zombies :: Used Tires : Brains

I recently had a nail in the wall/edge of the tread of a tire, and dropped it off loose to my usual tire place to get a replacement. Got a call later that they only had one new tire in stock at that size... and one used tire.

I kinda wanted a nicer tire with a longer warranty than they were offering, but didn't want to wait carless for the two or three days it'd take to come in. I also had, pre-nail, four fairly old tires, with one bald enough that it really did need replacing soon. Naturally, this one with the nail was one of the tires with a decent amount of tread left. But it couldn't be repaired because of the nail's placement, so off it went.

(Did I rotate the tires? No, I'm afraid I didn't, so one was much worse than the others, I'm afraid.)

Against my better judgement, I went with the used tire, pretending that I'd only use it until I got all four tires in to one of those crazy buy 3 get 1 deals. That is, I was, in my mind, replacing trash with trash until I could get all the trash out.

Used price: $55 + installation New price: $110 + installation

Apparently margins on new tires at retail aren't great, but the margins on these used tires are. Why? Because when they replace all four tires, the shop gets a ton of good, free used tires from you. I started getting suspicious that the tires on my car that I thought looked okay really were okay, and later decided to replace the bald tire with a brand new one.

When I went in recently to repair a busted radiator, my local shop gave me this as part of their generic vehicle checklist:

image showing tire wear on my tires

So tell me which was...

  1. The new tire
  2. The used tire I'd recently purchased
  3. The first and second four year-old tires that are left.


  1. New Tire: Right front, exactly where you guessed.
  2. "New" Used: Right rear! As bad as my worst remaining old tire!
  3. Four-year old tires: Both lefts!
    • One painfully better than my "new" used.
    • Of course the one I'd replaced was a rear tire that looked just as good...

So if I'd gone ahead and gotten four tires just to replace the bald right front, pre-nail, I would've given that tire company at least two great used tires, and probably a third they could've used too. That's $110-$165 at retail I would've handed right back, plus installation fees, to the tire company. That is, I've already given them back more than the free tire they'd "give" me. Plus that fourth tire cost them less than the $110 retail price. Plus I'd pay them installation on that "free" tire that.

Your car is a veritable gold mine of resalable used tires to tire companies. That's one reason why they want to entice you to install all at once, which also means likely replacing a few early. If you rotate tires and drive them all equally down to the nubs, congratulations. You win with this deal.

I'm betting that's the minority position. ;^)

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