In a recent Consumer Reports survey, 95 percent of tire shoppers said they were happy with their retail experience, but more than half admitted they did not research their purchase in advance.
CR conducted a random, nationwide telephone survey and spoke with 2,028 adult respondents, who were filtered down to those who owned a vehicle, bought a tire in the past year and were involved in the tire purchase.
The publication interviewed 878 in full. Results show that 44 percent of respondents researched to find their tires. Only 39 percent of those under 35 years old researched their purchases compared with 49 percent of those aged 55 and older.
Sixty-nine percent of men were more likely to purchase tires themselves, compared with 41 percent of women. Women were more likely than men to ask a mechanic for advice.
The most popular research sources were: mechanic, 46 percent; online reviews and articles, 44 percent; online ads, 32 percent; friends and relatives, 30 percent; newspaper reviews and articles, 20 percent; newspaper ads, 18 percent; magazine ads, 9 percent; and television ads, 8 percent.
CR said there was a 10-percent satisfaction advantage to those who had done research.
The survey further showed that:
* Fifty-one percent of shoppers bought tires at a tire store, while a distant second place was car dealerships at 11 percent. Warehouse stores (9 percent) and department stores (8 percent) were the next most popular options, with online shopping accounting for just 2 percent.
* The most popular reasons for changing tire models were price (29 percent), availability (18 percent), tread life (13 percent), winter grip (9 percent), dry and wet grip (6 percent) and handling (6 percent). Only one in 50 respondents was motivated by improving fuel economy.
* Sixty-five percent said they replaced all four tires at once, 22 percent changed two and 11 percent just one.