Most people don't have to buy tires too often. Tires today are built to last for around 50,000 miles (80,467 kilometers), so many people get new cars long before they get new tires.
If you buy a new car, odds are that the tires came from one of eight companies. In fact, eight tire companies provide the tires for all of the new car market in the United States. Michelin has the largest share, with Michelin tires going on 29 percent of new cars sold in this country.
If you're keeping your car and need new tires, you'll need to go to a tire shop or dealer. In 2009, 182 million replacement tires were sold in the United States. However, if you buy new tires for your car, you're no longer limited to the eight brands that most car companies buy tires from dealers. Of course, each tire brand makes specialty tires for every use imaginable, from track cars to rock crawlers, heavy-duty trucks to Smart cars.
And, making and selling tires can be fairly lucrative. In 2009, Bridgestone America sold $8 billion worth of tires. If you're buying new tires, the prices can vary quite a bit. The average retail price of a low-cost radial tire was about $75 in 2009. However, performance tires can cost hundreds of dollars.
Now, however, when you look at a tire's price, you won't just see the dollar amount. You'll see the parts, technology and assembly that went into building what puts the rubber on the road.
For more information about tires and other related topics, follow the links on the next page.