Selling and recycling your used tires is a great way to earn a little over $100 a day in almost any populated area of North America.  Old tires can be used for a variety of purposes including the creation of retreaded tires or for creating tire swings.  Selling your used tires can even help cover the costs of purchasing new tires, or it can simply become an easy secondary source of income.  In fact, many sellers of used tires claim that it is a great way to make a little extra money part time whenever they feel like doing it.

Before taking your used tires to market, you should assess the current condition of the tires you have on hand.  Look to see if the tread is slightly worn or if they are bare.  By taking a good look at the tires will help you formulate an honest description about the condition your tires are actually in and will give you a good idea of where you might be able to sell them.  Try to be as honest as you can so that you can develop a good rapport in the community and with the retailers you wish to sell your used tires to.

While selling your used tires can be somewhat lucrative it is important to note that it is not legal in all states to sell retreaded tires.  A tire that has been retread means that a piece of rubber with tread was secured to a used tire so that is looks like new.  Not all states allow retreaded tires and therefore in some areas selling used tires is actually illegal.  Look into your state and local government’s laws and regulations about selling used tires.  If it is legal in your state aware that there are typically used tire selling seasons such as late summer and early fall that may pay you more than in other times of the year.

How to Sell Used Tires

Purchasing brand new tires is just not an option for some and in those cases, they typically turn to use or retreaded tires as an affordable alternative making them a popular item.  If you have used tires or are looking into acquiring some and are considering selling them there are a few steps you should complete:

  1. Contact local tire retailers and speak to them specifically about used tires.  Most garages that install new tires either charge customers to dispose of their used ones and will sell them at a low price or give them away.  Most retailers will let you keep the tires as long as you take them away.
  2. Next, inspect the tires for any holes or signs of extreme wear and tear.  Holes are often difficult to fix and can make tires nearly impossible to sell.
  3. You’ll also want to measure the tread on the tires with a device that can be purchased from any auto parts store.  Any tread that is an eighth of an inch or more is considered safe and usable.
  4. Make sure that you price your tires according to the tread depth.  In general, the more tread the higher the price.  For instance, of the tire has about half of its tread left price it at approximately 50% the price of a new tire.
  5. Take good photographs of your tires as they can provide a great advantage when trying to sell them to people who might be unable to see them in person.  Photos also serve as an accurate catalog of your inventory.
  6. Once these preliminary steps have been taken you can advertise your tires in newspapers and online at sites like American Classifieds, Ebay, and Craigslist.  Post detailed and accurate descriptions with photos and prices to make communication with customers go as smoothly as possible.
  7. If you find that it is difficult or too restricting to sell them to customers directly you can always find retailers that may purchase them.  Ask them what type of tires they will take, how much they will pay, and how many tires they will take at a time.  From there you can narrow down your list of retailers and sell to those with the best purchase price.

It is important to note that in some states such as Illinois, individuals who have over a certain number of waste tires on their property or who sell them at retail have to notify the local EPA within 30 days of the start of activity.  There may also be restrictions on where and how you can store your used tires.  Make sure that you check all local and state government guidelines before beginning any used tire sale venture.

Legal, But Is It Ethical?

In most if not all states selling used tire is legal, but is it always ethical?  Some say not and others say yes.  In either case it is good to be aware of the legal and ethical ramifications associated with selling your used tires.  Some philosophical and even ethical questions that may arise include:

  • Aren’t tire dealers in the business of selling new tires?
  • Don’t selling used tires devalue the technological advantages of new tires?
  • Isn’t the image of the entire industry sullied by the sale of used tires?
  • With many tire product liability suits why would anyone risk selling used tires?
  • How can the industry move forward with more advanced tires and stress the importance of tire care when they turn a blind eye to used tire sales?
  • When there have been studies that have shown most consumers neglecting their tires how can dealers sell used tires when they are unaware of the maintenance history?

Unfortunately for tire makers and marketers there is nothing they can do legally to control independent dealers.  No doubt tire makers would prefer that retailers stay out of the used tire sale business, but there is nothing that they can do legally to force them to do so.  Over the years retailers have had conflicting thoughts about the sale of used tires as some damage to tires may only be detected by a skilled examiner.  In general most retailers feel that if they are given tires that have been virtually unused then they would sell them with little ethical conflict.

Used Tires

The sale of used tires is a booming business in North America and offers an affordable option to brand new tires.  They can be reused in a number of ways including as construction materials, artificial reefs, shoes, and as in paving and roadways.  But none is more popular than the sale of used tires to be used again as vehicular tires.  So how can you make sure you are purchasing used tires that are safe for you and your family?

How to Purchase Safe Used Tires

The biggest issue with purchasing used tires is the fact that they are not subject to any kind of legal standards and the process of collecting, inspecting, and reintroducing them to the market can vary.  Some used tire sellers are experts that can closely inspect their inventory and makes sure that the tires are safe and others are not quite as careful.  If you are looking to purchasing used tires there are a few things you, as a consumer, should look for:

  1. Tread Depth:  When purchasing used tires make sure you bring a penny so you can perform the penny test.  Simply place the penny upside down in one or more the grooves of the tire.  If you can see all of Lincoln’s head then the tire is mostly or completely bald and should not be driven on.
  2. Exposed Cords:  Look at the entire surface of the tread.  Look for irregular wear that can expose the braided steel cords that are inside a tire.  If you can see the cords or even just a few wires sticking out it is a sign that the tire is unsafe.
  3. Belt Separation: Inspect the sidewall of the tread for bumps, waviness, and other irregularities as it may indicate that an impact has forced the rubber to delaminate from the steel belts.
  4. Bead Chunking:  Look at the bead areas or the two thick rings of rubber where the tire touches the wheel.  Inspect for signs of missing chunks of rubber or other damage that would prevent the tire from sealing properly.
  5. Liner Damage:  Look inside the tire at the liner for damage or exposed cords.  When tires lose air the sidewalls collapse and at some point the sidewalls will rub against themselves.  In this rubbing some of the liner may rub off and damage the sidewalls beyond repair.  Signs of this rubbing include a stripe of wear around the sidewall that is softer, or if there is rubber dust.  If you see these signs it means that the tire is not safe for driving.
  6. Improper Repairs:  Also remember to look for punctures inside and out that have been repaired.  A proper repair includes a full patch on the inside of the tire.  Even if it is not a complete deal breaker it is a good idea to stay away from damaged tires that have been patched with a plug.  Plugs are not necessarily unsafe, but patches are much safer.  Avoid any tires with large punctures or repaired punctures within an inch of either sidewall.
  7. Aging:  An aging tire will deteriorate from the inside out thus making it difficult to determine how safe they are.  First check that there is a Tire Identification Number on the sidewall since some retailers will scrub it off.  If there is not Tire Identification Number it is a safe bet that the tires are unsafe and you should avoid purchasing them.  Be suspicious of any tire that is more than 6 years old according to their Tire Identification Number and DOT.  Look at the sidewall and tread for signs of cracks at flex points or in between tread blocks.  This can be an indication of dry rot.  Also, be aware that some retailers may paint used tires to make them appear newer than they actually are.
  8. Haggle and Negotiate:  If you have decided that the tires are safe then you can begin to negotiate the price with the dealer.  As with purchasing anything used be prepared to walk away if they are unwilling to budge.  Chances are they’ll lower their price if you walk away.  If you are speaking to a dealer on the phone wait to negotiate until you meet them in person.  Once you’re physically present you will be able to assess the condition of the tires first hand and determine your best bargaining chips.

These are just a few of the major issues to look for when purchasing used tires and if you see anything else out of the ordinary or just do not get a good feeling it is probably best to go with your instinct and not purchase the tires.  There are plenty of other retailers and used tires out there for you to buy.

How Safe Are Used Tires

Now that you have established how to purchase used tires it is time to determine if they are safe enough even to consider purchasing.  Some say to stay away from used tires completely since you don’t know where they have been or how they have been used.  Used tires could have been driven overloaded with weight or even under or over inflated which can lead to invisible internal damage.  No one really knows how unsafe used tires might be and in the event of a recall those in possession of a used tire may not even know that their tires have been recalled as new tires are registered to the buyer for notification in such instances.  If you purchase used tires there is no direct link between the consumer and the tires that they have purchased.

On the other hand, some argue that it is really up to the consumer to use their own judgment when considering purchasing used tires.  If the consumer is able to fully inspect the tires and see that there is no notable damage or that the tires are nearly brand new then it may be a good purchase.  In the end it is up to you to use your own judgment and if you really need the cost saving benefits of used tires then it may be right for you.  Just remember to do your due diligence and fully inspect the tires prior to purchasing them to ensure that you are receiving as safe a used tire as you can tell.

Making Money By Recycling Used Tires

Recycling used tires can be a lucrative business and is popular throughout North America.  These used tires can be used as tires again and even as construction material or even artificial reefs.  If you are looking into recycling used tires there are a few things you should note.  The amount of money you can make will vary depending on how creative you are with the tires and the amount you charge for the used tires.  If you are looking to make a quick buck it might be a good idea to sell the tires to a retreading shop, but if you are willing to put in the time and effort to collect tires and do something more creative with them as a side job then be prepared to invest more time and money into the venture.

Selling to Retreading

  1. Collect used tires from gas stations, bus garages, and auto dealers
  2. Look in the phone book or online for local retreading locations that are open to purchasing used tires.
  3. Ask them how much they are willing to pay per tire and make a list so you can compare prices.
  4. Ask them if there is any limit on how many tires you are allowed to bring in at a time or any other restriction they may have.
  5. Build and maintain a good relationship with the shop so that you can continue to sell tires to them in the future.  Be aware that prices can vary per tire and per city.

Recycling Tires Creatively

If you want to do something more creative or up cycled consider making tire swings from used tires and selling them to customers.  It will take more time and investment, but it allows you to be more creative.

  1. Inspect tires for safety.
  2. Drill a few holes in the part of the tire that will be the bottom of the swing to allow for water drainage.
  3. Power-wash the tire with a scrubber and heavy duty detergent and then let it dry.  This will clean it thoroughly and will allow it to be a better swing for children.
  4. Use wide sturdy rope so that the swing can be hung safely.  You can even offer to hang the rope swing for customers.
  5. Another option is making a three-chain rope swing or old fashioned one-rope swing.  You can provide a variety of options to customers.
  6. Sell your hand crafted swings at craft fairs and flea markets as well as online.  Many customers are purchasing tire swings for their backyards and may even be willing to pay a little extra to have you come and set it up.


If you decide to sell your used tires as they are to retreading shops or to a retailer it is good to know how much to charge for your used tires.  The average price for most used tires is around anywhere from $25 to $75 per tire with a complete set selling from $100-$300.  It is important to accurately assess your tires so that you can ask for a reasonable price whether you are selling to a retreading shop or a retailer.  With this wide range of selling points it is a good idea to find out from each shop you want to sell to what they are willing to pay for a used tire in various conditions.  For instance, if you have a tire that has been barely used you will likely get a much higher price for it than one that has very little tread left.

The pricing of your tires also depends largely on the size of the tire and whether or not they come already mounted on a wheel.  Low mileage tires are obviously worth more than tires that are nearly worn out.  Large expensive truck tires usually sell for more than the common passenger vehicle tire.  Low profile tires and performance tires will also sell for a premium because of their higher initial price and residual value.

Whether you are selling to a shop or independently it is important to note that you should be prepared for some haggling and negotiation.  People purchase used tires for the cost saving benefits and are likely looking to negotiate the price down so make sure that you have an absolute minimum as well as an ideal selling price prepared to that you can negotiate the tire sale in your favor.

Selling used tires, like any other venture requires some research if you want to reach the maximum amount of return.  Explore the options closely and determine what avenues of sale are going to produce the most profit for you.  By evaluating these options and ensuring that you are completely honest with buyers will help you sell your tires in a short period of time and for a good price.  If you are still unsure of how much to price your used tires at visit some garages that sell used tires.  Look to see how much they charge for their used tires that are of the same quality as yours.  You can then use that information to negotiate the best prices for your tires.  The Best used tires salesperson is an informed one!