Last winter I was looking for a set of cheap steel wheels to mount winter tires on, but I couldn’t find them fast enough so I just decided to mount the snow tires on the factory alloy wheels as the tires were getting close to worn out anyways. I thought to myself, when the warm weather comes around I’ll just buy some new wheels and tires as a package so I don’t have to keep flipping tires off one set of rims (the bead can only take so many mounts/dismounts).
I had bought the snow tires down the road: a set of four 16″ snow tires was $900 installed (remember, this wasn’t including wheels). Yikes! I didn’t remember snow tires being so expensive!
Wheels And Tires On The Cheap(ish)
With the warmer weather upon us it was time to spring for new wheels and tires. For a set of really nice 17″ wheels (bigger is more expensive for wheels AND tires) and a set of decent tires my total cost was around $1,550 CAD (which I bought from a US company and picked up in the US)… Which sounds okay, until you factor in that if I had bought the same wheels and tires here in Canada, my cost would’ve been quite a bit higher. Each wheel, including shipping, from an eBay store which has decent prices would’ve been $310 EACH. So the wheels alone would’ve been $1230 CAD. For a decent set of all-season tires comparable to the ones I bought might be $800 (still cheaper than the snow tires I bought). So we are looking at perhaps $2,000. So how did I save so much money?
I used a very popular online discount wheel and tire store, TireRack.com (not a paid advertisement). It’s a great site and you can even picture the wheels on your car with their handy tools. The entire package (wheels and tires) was $1120 USD including shipping to a US address (and they mount the tires and balance the wheels before shipping). Shipping to a Canadian address would’ve been $260USD, versus shipping to a US address which was $90USD. So I had them shipped to U.S. Address Inc – which is a business that just accepts deliveries for a fee and holds them for you (all you have to do is email them with your request to be set up to accept packages, provide your full contact details and that’s it – they send a confirmation message and you are all good to go!). The holding cost was $40USD. Add in the gas to get there (for me it was maybe $20 since I work in Oakville and Buffalo is right across the border). So I ended up saving an additional $190 (CAD) by having them shipped there and driving across the border to pick them up.
I still had to pay duty crossing back which was roughly $170 CAD. Total cost (including gas to get there) was roughly $1550 CAD. So in all, almost a 25% savings.
The picture above (if you are reading the feed, you’ll have to visit the site) are the actual wheels I picked and I love them. They look great, and I paid a lot less than I thought I would.
…but the best part
But the best part was that on the way back as I was getting out of the car to go in to pay the duty, one of the border guards pointed at me and said, “Preet Banerjee!… From the blog!” I was totally taken back, and I bet I was WAY more excited than he was that he recognized me. Turns out he’s a regular reader of Million Dollar Journey and only knew about me from one of Frugaltrader’s links… oh well, no accounting for taste…:) JUST KIDDING FT! You’re the best! :)
I have to give credit and thanks to Ancaster Sasquatch (not his real name, but it could be). Not only was he the source of the inspiration behind finding U.S. Address Inc., he also single handedly swapped my wheels and tires in his driveway (I was wearing a suit and have become a wuss since once being a mechanic many moons ago). We ended up going out for dinner and had a great time catching up on old times… Thanks you sexy beast! :)