Can I Ship Tires?

Learn about shipping tires, how you need to package them for shipment, and how to save the most money doing it
Best practices for shipping tires
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If you think you need to roll your tire to wherever you need to send it, think again! You can ship a tire with pretty much any shipping carrier out there, although one carrier in particular offers the best rates and service for sending a tire.

Table of Contents

UPS is the Best Carrier for Shipping a Tire

When it comes to choosing the right shipping carrier for your shipment, look no further than UPS. The fact of the matter is, tires are bigger and more oddly-shaped than most of the shipments that USPS offers, so the Postal Service will charge a heavy premium for handling these shipments.

UPS, on the other hand, offers the most affordable rates and quick delivery times for bulkier items like tires. In fact, when doing some rate shopping for the same package across different carriers, prices from UPS will blow prices from other options like FedEx out of the water.

Properly Packing a Tire for Shipment (or Not)

Before you go looking for boxes for your tire, stop! You actually don’t need to pack your tire into a box or use any special kind of packing material in order to ship it with UPS. Instead, packing a tire for shipment is a fairly straightforward process, and we’ve listed out the steps here:

  • Apply pressure-sensitive tape through the center of the tire, and then completely around the body of the tire. Make sure the tape attaches to itself, and repeat this process several times. You want to make sure the area on the tire that the tape covers in about six inches wide.
    • If you don’t have any pressure-sensitive tape on hand, duct tape will work fine! Just don’t use flimsy tape, like Scotch tape or blue painter’s tape
  • Affix your label to the strip of tape where it covers the tread of the tire
  • Protect your label from damage by covering it with clear tape. This will keep the barcode and address information intact on your label if the tire rolls (which it undoubtedly will)

UPS Ground is the Best UPS Service for Shipping Tires

Out of all the UPS services, one of them stands out as the best for sending a tire: UPS Ground. Since tires are heavier and bulky, it’s easier for UPS to transport them on their trucks than it is on their airplanes—hence the cheaper rates for Ground.

Ground may be the cheapest service that UPS offers…but that doesn’t mean it’s the slowest! UPS typically delivers Ground shipments between 1-5 business days to any destination in the United States, and delivery may take place sooner than you think. In fact, UPS will deliver some Ground packages overnight, if the destination is close enough to where you’re shipping from!

Learn more about UPS Ground, and how it compares to the Postal Service’s ground service.

Mark Your Tire as an “Irregular Package”

One thing to note about shipping a tire: UPS considers them as “irregular packages,” which isn’t that big of a deal. Since this is the case, you’ll just need to designate it as an irregular package when you buy your label, or else they’ll hit you with an unexpected surcharge after you ship it. This really only matters when you’re entering your package information yourself with any online shipping software…which we’re about to get to in the next section.

Save Money on UPS Labels with Shipping Software

As is the case for shipping any other kind of package, you shouldn’t go to your local UPS Store to buy postage. You’ll end up spending an arm and a leg if you do! Instead, save money on your UPS label by buying it with online shipping software.

When you use online shipping software, you get access to the same level of discounts that shipping carriers like UPS reserve for huge commercial shippers. In some cases, these discounts can save you up to 50% off of what you’d pay to ship the same package with UPS Ground at the UPS Store. When it comes to sending a relatively large item like a tire, all those extra savings make a huge difference.

Another great benefit is that shipping software doesn’t just help you save money; it also gives you the gift of time and convenience by allowing you to print your postage right from the comfort of your own home. The best shipping software companies also allow you to schedule pickups with UPS for your packages right from your front door…so you never even have to leave your house, if you don’t want to!

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  1. John

    This is 1000% inaccurate. UPS has announced on their earnings calls that they want “Better not Bigger” packages in their network.

    Fed-Ex, UPS and USPS consider tires either “non-compatible” or “non-machinable” for their network which equals higher shipping costs in the form of accessorial charges such as “additional handling, packaging (not encased in cardboard).

    • Adam

      Nothing about it is inaccurate. I work for ups and ship tires every day. Everything said in the post was true.

  2. Frank

    What do you recommend to ship multiple tires together? Is strapping acceptable? If not, what are the drawbacks of that method vs alternatives?

  3. Jim

    Tires (commercial lawn mower) arrived squashed into triangle shape. Won’t this damage the sidewalls? I have a picture.

  4. This site is an incredible resource. I learned a lot…about to ship four (4) tires across the country, info on this site cleared up some mysteries for me. Thanks for the info.

  5. ADMIN

    This is a very good thing to keep up on. Safe tires, save lives . everyone
    can benefit from more options on this one

    • Virginia

      It would really be beneficial to have to see replies. I’m shipping 4 tires, thinking UPS ground, see you don’t have to package them?! Is this true?


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