Tires are an essential component of automobiles, but if you’ve ever had to replace one, then you know just how staggering the prices can be. Why are tires so expensive?
Tires are expensive due to the engineering time and raw materials required to manufacture a vehicle tire. Modern tires require a mixture of rubber, synthetic rubber, steel, nylon, silica, polyester, carbon black, petroleum and other chemicals. Fact is, making tires is a complex process that requires a lot of resources.
Truth is, tires are not just rubber put into a mold. There’s a lot more that goes into them than people realize.
In fact, Bridgestone claims a tire can contain up to 100 different components. Additionally, the engineering and testing time plays a big role in the overall cost of a tire as well.
However, recent studies have shown that rubber plays one of the biggest roles in how much we pay for tires.
While you might not think rubber as an expensive material, keep in mind rubber requires oil. So the world price of a barrel of oil plays a huge factor into the cost of manufacturing tires.
Let’s dive in to see just what is driving up the prices that we pay for tires. It all turns out to be a pretty complex equation, given the technology and manufacturing methods used for modern tire production.
Why are tires so expensive – let’s find out!
The Reasons For: Why Are Tires So Expensive?
The development of a car tire takes time, research, raw materials, and specialized machinery. It’s far beyond throwing rubber and metal together.
Every detail needs to be meticulously worked out. From chemical composition, tread style, the width of the tire sidewall, to the precise measurements for both curved and flat areas.
Not to mention the regulations also set by federal motor vehicle safety standards. Which require a tire manufacturer to meet or exceed certain tire bead and strength tests.
Fact is, tire material formulations need to sync perfectly with each car model, and its intended use on terrain or weather conditions.
And when you add up all these factors, you begin to understand why tires are so expensive.
Costs of Raw Materials Continues to Increase
It’s pretty obvious that companies who manufacture tires need to account for the cost of raw materials in their price point. What may surprise you is just how many resources are involved in the process.
Rubber, synthetic rubber, steel, nylon, silica, polyester, carbon black, petroleum and other chemicals are all required components in the manufacturing process.
And they are used to give tires the structure, design, strength, and protection needed to meet manufacturers specifications.
Of course, some economic tires are manufactured with fewer materials, which is reflected by the lower purchase price.
Performance tires, on the other hand, are designed with more layers (and thus more materials), which is why they tend to cost more.
In both, steel rods and beads in the tire help strengthen it. The cost of the steel, rubber, and chemicals needed to make the magic happen isn’t cheap, and when you factor in shipping and retailing, the price of tires suddenly doesn’t feel as extreme.
Tire Research and Development is Costly But Essential
Not all tires are created equal, and tire manufacturers need to invest a lot into researching the optimal formula for strength, durability, and performance.
Doing so is costly and done on the company’s dime. The constantly evolving process of improving tires is a massive part of the company’s overhead, reflected in the cost of the tires themselves.
Because it’s not just raw materials or chemicals that add to the cost. It’s also the tire pattern, structural design, and engineering.
Engineers synthesize many different materials to achieve the desired performance level of a tire.
As an example, adhesives play an important role in formulating compounds, offering added strength and fuel savings. And now with more tires specifically designed for electric cars, the formulations are more complex than ever.
Plus, decades upon decades of scientific testing has determined the best measurements for appropriate speed ratings of a tire.
In addition to all this specific tech work, road testing is performed to validate the tire’s responses under extreme driving environments.
Cost to Install and Balance Tires Also Plays a Role
Changing a tire isn’t an inexpensive task. Aside from purchasing the tire itself, you have to factor in the cost of installation and balancing the tire.
And don’t forget the waste or recycle fee for your old tires.
Overall, installation can really impact the overall expenses when buying several tires. So just keep this in mind when budgeting for new tires.
Final Thoughts: Why Are Tires So Expensive
Tires are essential, yet costly parts of a vehicle. The reason they’re so expensive is that the price of manufacturing them isn’t cheap.
Tire manufacturers are constantly investing in research and development to improve their products and get the edge over the competition.
Plus, the global cost of oil and raw materials is the biggest contributor to why tires cost so much.,
Loves anything with a motor and wheels.
Christopher is an internet technology expert and mechanical engineer. When he’s not at the local autocross event, he can often be found working on one of his cars. He loves nothing more than taking something apart and putting it back together again–better than before. Learn more about us