Do you want road hazard coverage for those new tires?
Buy something electronic and the store will try to sell you an extended warranty. Buy tires and you may be encouraged to spend a little bit more for road hazard coverage.
With this coverage, the store will repair or replace a tire damaged by a road hazard during normal driving, such as a flat caused by a nail or some other sharp object in the road.
Some stores, like Costco and Sam's Club, provide this coverage for free, but many other charge $40 top $75 to cover a set of four tires. Is it worth the money?
"This is really protection that you don't need to buy,” said Kevin Brasler, executive editor of Checkbook.org. “If you get a nail in your tire, that's a quick fix. Most places will charge you $20 or even less to fix that small problem. This isn't something you need to buy, an insurance policy, and that's basically what they’re doing, trying to sell you a mini-insurance policy."
Some of these hazard coverage plans include roadside assistance. If that appeals to you, Brasler says, consider joining AAA which offers various benefits in addition to roadside help.
Regardless of where you buy new tires, keep in mind that maintaining the correct balance, good alignment and proper pressure are key factors in how long your tires will last.
For the winter edition of Puget Sound Consumers' Checkbook Magazine, Checkbook's secret shoppers got price quotes from 50 tire stores in the Puget Sound Area. As a special courtesy to KOMO listeners and viewers, the complete Checkbook report on Tire Shops will be accessible until Feb. 20, 2018.