There are 3 good reasons to buy used tires:

  • They are cheaper
  • They can be in good condition
  • It is environment-friendly.

Buy Used Tires and Save Your Money

Used tires usually cost 30-50% cheaper than new ones, even if their condition is almost as good as new tires. The fact they were once mounted on a vehicle lowers the price of the tire itself. So you can get the best deal possible if you find a used tire, or even a full set, in good condition.

For example:

Buy Used Tires and Help the Planet

When you buy used tires, you do a form of tire recycling, decreasing the harmful impact of thrown away rubber. About 30 million used tires are sold annually in the US, freeing landfills from toxic garbage. However, many manufacturers still encourage their consumers to buy new sets, because of their business concerns, lack of used-tire guarantees, and other reasons.

Used Tires Can Be in Good Condition

When you buy used tires, you can expect to get 40%-70% of tread left, which gives you a considerable mileage for the money you pay.

Some of the common reasons why used tires can stay in good condition are:

  • Many drivers are talked by manufacturers into buying new tires even before theirs are totally worn out.
  • Repair shops also like to recommend changing tires prematurely. Firstly, they usually have a disposal fee for keeping tires; secondly, they can resell the tires.
  • Thousands of tires are taken off the cars that were totaled in accidents. Surely, tires that were badly damaged are not resold.
  • Used tires also come from the cars totaled due to floods. In such a case, there is usually nothing bad with the tire, as floods rarely damage them.

You can buy used tires that have at least half a tread left without searching for too long. To be sure in the quality of the purchase, you need to know how to inspect user tires.

Things to Check Before You Buy Used Tires

A date code on a tire
source: utahcarcents.com
  • Learn about the age of a tire.
    You can find this information on a tire sidewall – it’s four last numbers after DOT. The first two numbers mean the week, and the last two – the year of manufacture. So, 3514 will mean the tire was made during the 35th week of 2014. According to manufacturers, after 6 years of frequent usage, the rubber starts to break down and dry too much. The US Department of Transportation suggests up to 10 years the maximum age of a working tire in case of excellent maintenance. Usually, on the 7th year, the rubber starts to deteriorate, so be cautious and look for cracks from dryness.
  • Mind UTQG code.
    The Uniform Tire Quality Grade Standards (UTQG) rating can tell you how fast the tire will wear out. The smaller the “Treadwear” number is, the faster the process will be. There are some tires under UTQG 100 that wear really fast, yet there are tires with UTQG 450-600 that will last for a really long time, but often as the expense of performance.

    The tire condition penny test
    Penny test (source: nbainsurance.com)
  • Check the tread depth.
    The simplest way to сheck the tread depth is to insert a penny into the tread with Lincoln’s head upside down; if you see the whole head, the tire is worn out. You can also use a quarter, or a tread depth gauge, or look at the tread indicator on the tire.
  • Learn about the tire’s past.
    Before you buy used tires, find out about the vehicle they were used on, the weather conditions they were exposed to, etc. If the tires were not used for long, ask about the conditions they were stored in. Every detail is important, every problem encountered, every repair, every udner- or over-inflation. Such details usually influence the condition of a tire, its treadwear, etc.

    Signs of tire wear
    Signs of tire wear (source: lexusofroyaloak.com)
  • Look for uneven wear.
    Inspect the tire for uneven wear: if you notice any, the tires might have been under or over inflated, imbalanced, etc. Such treadwear can expose the cords or cause liner damage that leads to tire collapsing.
  • Look for details on beads and sidewalls.
    Pay attention to the condition of the sidewalls and beads, whether there are any cracks, cord exposure, or cuts. Bumps on sidewalls can mean the belt is separated or there’s another internal damage. Bead chunking won’t allow the tire to be sealed properly, which can lead to serious consequences.
  • Beware improper repairs.
    Watch out for improper repairs that can make the tire look good for a while. Tire repair has to be done very carefully, and not all repair procedures work at all.

Places to Buy Used Tires

  • Local tire dealers.
    You can find a good used tire at a tire dealer’s store in your city. There, you will be able to check the condition of the rubber right away. Besides, bigger local dealer chains can also offer discounts for certain models of tires. If there’s a specialist on site, the tire(s) can be installed at once. A potential pitfall is that the price of used tires in brick-and-mortar shops can be higher, as some owners include a percentage for the facility rent and other expenses into it.
  • Big-box retailers (Walmart, Costco, Sears, etc.)
    You can buy used tires at large mega markets that have both new and used tires of a large number of brands. While Walmart offers a wide variety of tires made by famous brands, Costco and Sears also have tires of the so-called “house brands”. Big-box retailers can offer a range of auto procedures, including tire installation. A potential issue – you never know how much money you will eventually spend. The price on an advertisement may differ from the out-the-door price you will have to pay.
  • Online services (Kijiji, Craigslist, eBay, Amazon, etc.)
    Online shopping services give you more choice, as people from all over the country post their deals there. You can buy used tires with less tread or some repairs but for small price as there are no taxes or rent expenses involved. A potential con of such deals is that it’s easy to be fooled and pay for nothing. Sometimes people don’t get what they order or get a wrong size/condition.
  • Specialized online shops.
    You can buy good used tires without the risk of being fooled on such websites. Besides,  you just need to enter the size of your rims, the brand and model of your car, and the website will immediately show you all available options. A potential drawback is that you need to take some time to pick a reliable online tire dealer.

Are Used Tires Good to Buy?

The idea to buy used tires is good for people on tight budgets and those who know how to inspect them. It’s possible to get tires in good condition at half the price of new ones – just make sure the condition is really good.