How to pack and send a tyre by courier?

In Poland, like in some other countries which experience snowy winters, twice a year car tyres become the hottest thing in shipping – in the spring, when everybody replaces winter tyres with summer tyres and in autumn, when the opposite action takes place. Consequently, a lot of tyres are being shipped by couriers then. It seems that tyre packaging is not rocket science, however, lack of experience can cost you quite a lot, and you may avoid some unnecessary costs thanks to the simple “tricks” below.

First of all you should consider whether sending tyres and (wheel) rims by courier makes sense at all? Is it worth it? Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes it’s not. The devil, as always, is in the details.

The easiest way does not mean the cheapest

The easiest way to pack a tyre for courier shipment is no packing at all. As most couriers recommend, a band made of wrapping tape with a shipping label attached is sufficient. Simple, easy, fast … and expensive.

A tyre prepared for shipment in this way is easy to carry and one would think easy to ship too. However, every courier company treats it as a non-standard (unsortable) parcel, which means higher shipping cost. That is because of the tyres’ shape.

Tyres in a sortable package

Automatic sorting lines can only do their job perfectly when fed with rectangular boxes. So one trick to send tyres by courier is to pack them in a cardboard box. Only in this way are you able to prepare sortable packages (suitable for automatic sorting), which are the cheapest to ship.

Of course, the size and weight of the package must also fit within the specified limits. While methods of measurement can vary considerably among courier companies, the weight of a sortable package stays similar – about 30-31.5 kg.

We measure, weigh, count

To prepare tyres for shipping you have to weigh and measure them first. In the case of 13- and 14-inch tyres, the weight of a tyre without a rim is usually less than 7 kg, so in theory you can pack four tyres into one cardboard box and your package will not exceed the magic limit of 30 kg. However, you should also remember to fit them in the recommended size of a sortable package – otherwise you will pay extra.

Also, you cannot forget about the dimensional weight, which is not the actual weight of the package, but its volume expressed in kilograms. To calculate the dimensional weight of a package you should multiply its dimensions to obtain its volume and then divide it by a coefficient which, depending on the company, may range from 5000 to 10000.

Here is an example. One courier allows a maximum package size of 76 x 76 x 100 cm into which you may easily fit 4 passenger car tyres and the actual weight of the package will not exceed 30 kg. However, if you calculate the dimensional weight of this package applying the 5000 coefficient, you will get the following result:

(76 x 76 x 100) / 5,000 = 577 600 / 5,000 = 115.52 kg (dimensional weight)

If the actual and dimensional weight are different, the higher one is chosen as the basis for the price valuation – in this case the dimensional weight would be four times more than the actual one.

Actually, it may turn out that it would be cheaper to send two bulky packages (two tyres in each) instead of one big oversized one. If you first calculate carefully your options and check the dimensions and prices of different couriers, you will avoid a lot of trouble and unnecessary costs.