Shipping wheels on the cheap!

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Pepper your Angus
Jan 25, 2011
I recently had to ship my BMF Novakanes back because of the crappy chrome failing. I was dreading it because UPS and Fed Ex like to rape people for shipping wheels/tires. I found this article and used it to ship mine. Went to a u-haul and bought some boxes. I've done this with other things as well. It works out well for me because I have a Fed Ex distribution center 15 minutes from my house. Figured some other people could find this useful.

It cost me 45 bucks plus the price of my boxes.... not bad :crazy:

Have you ever seen one of those awesome deals on a slick set of wheels with tires on them, damn near brand new, no curb rash, 90% tread left on the tires, selling for about two thirds of what they are truly worth? You get all excited about it right? Start asking the seller if he will mail them to you because you live 1500 miles away. Then you get the shipping quote, $300.00! Man, now it's not even worth it, you could get the same wheels brand new down the street at that price.

Why do people charge so much to ship wheels? Why do they charge even more when there are tires on the wheels? How can I ship wheels for less than what UPS quotes me?

Let's start at the root of the problem: the carrier (typically UPS or Fed-Ex).
Most shipping companies will make you pay extra if they know you are shipping wheels. They justify the price increase by saying that an automobile wheel is odd shaped and easily damaged, they call it an insurance charge. They will charge you even more still if there are tires on these wheels because of added weight and the probability of a punctured tire. I've even had a sales representative at a UPS store tell me I need to remove the valve stems from the wheels before I could ship them. I never got an explanation as to why, but I'm sure it made no sense.

Because of the difficulties when trying to package and ship wheels/tires at carriers store, people tend to get discouraged. Most sellers will refuse to ship their wheels because of the hassle involved. Some will just jack the price way up to compensate for all the extra work involved. It doesn't have to be that way.

Here is a step by step method for shipping wheels AND tires (with the valve stems still on them) for under $100.00 And just to further prove my point, I am going to make my example wheels a little heavier than normal. I'm also going to ship them a long distance, from Indianapolis to Sacramento. I will be using UPS to ship my imaginary wheels.

The first thing you need to do is secure a commercial address that has a daily pickup. This is a simple task. You can ship them from your place of work, which is what I do. Most businesses have a daily UPS or Fed-Ex pickup/drop off. You just hand the packages to your driver and he takes it form their. If you don't have a daily at your place of employment, bring your packages to the UPS distribution center closest to you. DO NOT BRING THEM TO A UPS/FED-EX STORE! If you do this, you will screw yourself and end up paying big money. Distro centers have customer service buildings that will take your packages as long as they are 100% ready to go, this means sealed up and labeled. It will also help if your buyer has a commercial address they can pick the wheels up at. UPS charges less to ship to a commercial address than they do to a residential address.

Next, you need a UPS online account. Go to to sign up. Also, you will need a place to print off your labels, so if you don't have a printer, head for the library!

Now that you got the particulars out of the way you are ready to package up some wheels and tires! Damn, these wheels are heavy bastards - 55 pounds a piece. You will need four boxes, one for each wheel. You can get these from a mover (uhaul sells boxes) U-Haul: Moving supplies: Medium Moving Box
for less than 3 bucks each. Staples and Office Max also sell boxes for around that same price. Make sure your wheels fit snugly inside the boxes, don't pick huge boxes for your wheels. I am using 18x18x16 inch boxes. I am going to cut the height down to about 10 inches so my wheels fit more securely in the package. So far I have spent around $12.00 to package up my wheels. I just used old news paper to fill in the empty space inside my boxes. Also, don't worry about deflating your tires all the way, just bring them down to about 10 psi.

Now that I've got my boxes all weighed and measured, I can get my labels printed off at Four boxes at 60 lbs a piece, and I am shipping them from Indianapolis IN, 46228 to Sacramento CA, 95843. I packaged them up myself and I am using UPS ground to get them there. My cost is $56.52 and it should only take 4-6 days for them to arrive at their destination.

It's a little more if they are going to a residential address, but not much. About $64.53 to ship to someones home.

You can calculate your own shipment here:

Now I just print out my labels, secure them to the boxes with clear packaging tape, and either give them to my daily pick up or drop them off at a distribution center near me. DO NOT TELL THEM YOU ARE SHIPPING WHEELS!!! If the carrier finds out they are wheels and tires, they will hit you with a back charge.

I spent less than $70.00 to ship my imaginary wheels, and they were extremely heavy and going across the country!

I hope this helps some people out there when they sell or buy their next set of wheels. Remember, package your own wheels and tires, print your own labels, try to ship to a commercial address, and don't tell the carrier what is in the box!

How To: Ship wheels and tires. - Scion xB General - Scion xB Forum
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