The way South Africans shop has changed significantly in the past year. Yet, the way people buy and have tyres fitted seems to have stayed the same.
With the tread depth reaching its minimum levels on my daily driver, and not a single fitment centre in my surrounds able to locate stock, I was left with little option but to explore the possibility of buying tyres online.
South Africa is blessed with a range of fitment franchises that never seem too far away. For the most part, customers enjoy the comfort of speaking to a consultant to get advice and the best “deal”.
But as I found, everything that makes places like Takealot attractive – such as stock availability, pre-booked delivery slots, and good prices – can be found if you’re buying tyres online.
Both have fitment services – typically at a fitment partner – available in the leading centres in South Africa.
Tyres.co.za offered mobile fitment at my chosen address included in the total, which swung my purchase in their favour.
Ordering was simple: tap in the tyre size found on the sidewall and a wide selection is presented on a single page.
There’s no driving around to tyre shops for the better part of a Saturday, and the comprehensive selection has almost every car covered.
There are brands you’ve heard of and some that you haven’t, which means it does require a level of research unless you know which tyre you want.
I wouldn’t go on price alone. Being a pedant for brands I have confidence in, I opted for two new Continentals.
After opting for the mobile fitment, all that was left was to select a fitment slot and complete the payment.
Everything was confirmed shortly after that, including WhatsApp messages which provided regular updates until the job was completed.
The outsourced mobile fitment partner confirmed my address details the day before and shared the name of the fitment professional that would be visiting my home.
Sure enough, with the precision of a Swiss watch, the mobile unit arrived – and it’s a set-up to behold.
A fully-equipped VW Crafter came complete with all the jacks, wheel-balancing equipment, and compressors that would be needed for the job.
After a quick chat, Gavin, the friendly technician, sprang to work.
He worked methodically and neatly. In three-quarters of an hour, he had removed the old tyres and fitted and mounted the two new Continentals.
I was surprised when he revealed a black box, complete with a mobile wheel laser alignment system.
No sooner had I interrupted his process with a host of questions, and he had completed the report – which he emailed to me shortly thereafter.
And that was that, the tyre change was complete. It was the least amount of hassle I had ever encountered in my 20 years of driving and maintaining cars.
Buying tyres online came with a dose of initial trepidation.
Have I bought the right size type? What happens if they bring the wrong ones?
But this was soon put to rest.
I continued working from home while the tyres were fitted in my driveway, so my day continued as usual.
The frustration of driving around to multiple outlets and comparing prices was also removed.
Best of all, the cost of the tyres including fitment was less than I was quoted for the exact tyre at any fitment centre.
If trends in Europe are to be followed, buying tyres online and fitting them at your office or home will be the smart thing to do for those who seek convenience.