Don’t go too cheap!
The cheapest, most entry-level tires will only save you money if you're selling your car in the very near future. As you might expect, ride quality, fuel economy, and traction are universally worse on the lower end of the market. But it's by a jaw dropping margin... and many of these tires are unlikely to last up to their limited warranty periods (30,000 to 40,000 miles). In other words, don’t go for the cheapies. And no matter what you do -- don't buy used.
Best time to buy tires? Holidays.
The 4th of July, Memorial Day, Presidents' Day, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving are the days and holiday weekends where tire shopping has the greatest impact on your bottom line. These are the times when manufacturers and retailers will ante up rebates that can often knock over $200 off the cost of a set of tires. But before you walk in and sign on their dotted line (which typically has several paragraphs of small print and gotchas), you need to plan ahead.
Do your price-matching online
The Tire Rack and Consumer Reports do a great job of separating the rolling masterpieces from the lumps of rubber. Use them to figure out what tire is best for where you live and how you drive. There's also a secret weapon you can use to your advantage that will save you big money. Just by searching online for the brand of your chosen tire and the correct size, which is located on the side wall (for example 195/70/R14), you can usually save about $20 per tire. Also, it's worth checking the current rebates at the websites of the major tire stores near where you live. Ultimately, that’s exactly where you’re going to go to get an even greater savings.