With a perceived recession going on and the prices of used tires being a fraction of the cost of a new set, buying used tires might seem like a great way to save a few bucks on car maintenance. But there’s more to buying tires than finding a set with plenty of tread at a good price. In fact, buying used has dangers that don’t always meet the eye.
Buying used tires may make the tree hugging drivers feel more eco friendly, preserving natural resources by giving a used set of tires a new lease on life. And with their ready availability through online auction sites and classified sites, finding a set in the right size for your car can be easy.
Remember though that you don’t know where they have been or how they’ve been used. The tire could have been driven overloaded, underinflated, or to excessively high speed. Any one or a combination of these factors could lead to internal damage not visible from the outside. In short, the used tire could be unsafe.
Also, remember that all tires age and can degrade over time. Even an unused spare tire can be unsafe to drive on if you’ve had it for a number of years. Some tire manufacturers recommend replacing tires, regardless of wear, 10 years or more from the date of manufacture including the spare.
All tires are stamped at the factory with a Department of Transportation (DOT) code on the sidewall, indicating the date of manufacture. Even when buying new, it is worth checking the date code to ensure the tires are not more than a couple of years old, as they may have been sitting around a warehouse for quite some time before being delivered to your local tire store.
The tread on any set of auto tires is extremely important. Since new tires tend to have a full and unblemished amount of tread, most people give this aspect little attention other than possibly considering the design of the tread. However, with used tires, you want to focus less on the design and more on the amount of tread that remains on each tire in the set.
If you really need to stick with used tires, here are some tips to consider:
- Before purchasing used tires, be sure you are buying from a reputable seller that you know and trust.
- Find the correct size
- Find the recommended size and type of tire that is best for your car by checking the owner’s manual or the inside driver’s door panel, or by researching online.
- Avoid visible belts, cracks, bulges
- Don’t buy a tire if you see the belts showing through the rubber, deep cracks, or bulges.
- Look at wear pattern
- Check the tire to see that there is an even wear pattern across the entire width of the tread.
- Test the tread depth
Test the tread depth by inserting a penny into the tread groove with Lincoln’s head facing down. If you see Lincoln’s head, the tread is too worn and the tire should not be purchased.
Vehicles are essential to our livelihoods and independence, so we mustn’t take any aspect of auto care for granted. If you wish to purchase used tires, make sure they are reliable and the right kind for the make and model of your car. Observing these tips alongside other simple tire care rules will keep you and your car safe and on the road for a good long while.
In the end, budgeting for a new set can be a worthwhile investment to avoid the unknown history and potential danger of a blowout at speed, and the cost of replacement can be a good point for haggling the price.
Another post you may enjoy: The 5 Myths You Must Know About Tires