Tire prices set to tip the scales

If you're kicking around buying new tires, you'd better make up your mind quickly. That's because if you wait too long -- until January -- it can wind up costing you quite a bit extra.

A new 35% tariff on Chinese-made car and light truck tires being imposed by the Obama administration is forcing wholesalers to raise prices on tires sold to retailers, who are sure to pass that "extra" onto consumers. How much extra?

Some say even the most affordable tire will cost about $50 more. Brand name ones are expected to jump as much as $80 per tire.

Tires imported from China aren't the only ones going up. Domestic wheels like Goodyear and Michelin are also expected to get a price hike.

David E. Long of Heritage Tire Sales in Syracuse, N.Y. says many wholesalers and retailers are trying to stock up on pre-tariff tires in the hopes of saving themselves a headache -- and their customers some big bucks.

But that's becoming increasingly harder to do. Long says many importers stopped shipping tires in mid-August, in advance of the tariff.

"They feared they'd have tires stuck on ships because wholesalers would cancel their orders once the prices rose," he told WalletPop.

As a result, Long says distributors are quickly running out of tires at the 'old price' making it harder to find deals. So the "old prices" will only be available while supplies last.

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