There are lots of websites out there promising discounted tires and wheels, but which one to choose? Questions abound. Are they getting quality merchandise? Do they have a good selection? What about customer service? Somehow a brick-and-mortar location engenders a lot more trust from customers, but there are some very good online discounters out there. Here's my list:
The Tire Rack is a very large online-only tire and wheel discounter. Their selection is extremely wide and includes nearly all the top tire manufacturers with the exception of Nokian. They sell a great many of the best aftermarket wheels available. On the other hand, they also sell Sport Editions.
Tire Rack's website is powerful and easy to use. The car selector, which lists the proper wheels and tires for a given year, make and model of car, is one of the best in the business. Comparison shopping is made thoughtlessly easy by their filter tools and the sheer amount of information they provide.
I've worked with Tire Rack for many years, and grown to greatly appreciate their selection and prices, but most of all I appreciate their customer service, which is absolutely second to none. I advise customers who are looking online for tires to always look at Tire Rack first, because even if they do not end up buying there, Tire Rack will give them the best advice available, both online and over the phone. The friendly staff there is expert at recommendations and fitment issues. They make dealing with the occasional defective or out of round tire extremely easy and painless, replacing such tires with a minimum of corporate obstructionism.
If you can't get it at Tire Rack, DTD is often your best second choice. Discount Tire's online presence sells many of the less expensive tires and wheels that Tire Rack doesn't. DTD's website is not quite as easy or extensive as Tire Rack's, but their staff are helpful and very friendly, and their prices are excellent. They stock fewer winter tires than Tire Rack, but you can occasionally find Nokians and Michelins at lower than usual prices.
I discovered 1010 Tires while doing the research for this article, and I'm already quite impressed. Their site is excellent, with good technical advice, a tire size calculator, and even an offset calculator, something I've not seen on other sites.
A thoughtful touch is the “Will These Fit? Button” that shows up on the page when browsing tires, and brings up the car finder application. Unfortunately it failed to find any tires at all for my car when I tried it, and I had to go back and search on my tire size.
They have a great selection of both wheels and tires, combining top-tier makers with some very respectable lesser brands, and their prices are excellent. They also have a selection of “winter wheels”, with some steel and some tough (presumably, hopefully) low-cost alloy wheels specifically chosen for winter driving. I don't know much about Sacchi or Touren wheels, but I can hope that they live up to what really is a great idea. They do carry Nokian tires, but only the Hakka 5 Studded and the Hakka R.
TireBuyer has recently revamped their whole website, and I recently took a second look at it. The change has done them good. A friendly and easy-to-use site with a pretty good selection of wheels and tires.
TireMonkey's website presents you with their car finder application immediately and offers no way to browse tires by brand. Their filter tools do include an easy way to see all winter tires for your car, but then their winter tire selection is almost nonexistent. They do offer Nokian tires, but only the WR G2.