Buying used tires can be an affordable option for those who are on a budget, want to save money or need a spare tire. And, if you find used tires that can still be safely used, it’s also an environmentally friendly option to get the most out of rubber before purchasing a new set.
But how do you know if the used tires before you are safe to drive on? And will it save you money in the long run? If you know what to look for when purchasing used tires, you can save a lot of money and still ensure your safety. Our team is experienced in assessing used tires and are ready to offering you tips on what to look out for when buying used tires.
Check tire age
Determining the age of a tire is quite easy. Every tire should have a Tire Identification Number (TIN), which is like the tire’s serial number and identifies the week and year the tire was produced. These four numbers will often come after a series of letters beginning with DOT, which stands for Department of Transportation. DOT is followed by letters and numbers that represent the manufacturing location, tire size, and manufacturer’s code.
But the numbers you want to look at are the last four digits. The first two are used to identify the week and immediately precede the last two digits that are used to identify the year. If the number is not there or the tire is more than six years old, then you’re better off leaving them behind.
Evaluate tire tread depth
While the age of a tire is important in determining the quality of used tires, perhaps they have seen a lot of driving time within a short period. Therefore, you should always check the tire tread depth to see how much life the tires have left in them.
For accuracy, you can purchase a tire tread depth gauge for quite cheap. Don’t buy anything under 4/32nds. This is the minimum that dealerships require to trade-in your vehicle, so it’s a good standard to go by. Using a tread gauge can also help you decide how much you should be paying for the tires. For example, if 50% of the tread is left then you wouldn’t want to pay more than 50% of the original retail price.
If you don’t have a tread gauge, no problem. You can also do the penny test. Place a penny into one or more of the tire’s grooves to check whether the tire is legally bald and if you should be driving on them or not. Simply, place the penny so that Lincoln’s head goes down into the tread. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, the tire is no good and should be recycled.
Avoid uneven tread wear
Once you’ve checked tire tread depth, you should then scan over the entire outside of the tire and try to discern if there’s any uneven wear. If the previous vehicle has bad alignment, the inner edge could be more worn than the outside. Even if you’re vehicle is properly aligned, the tires will continue to wear unevenly and have a shorter life span. If the wear isn’t that bad, it’s important to also consider extra costs like balancing and alignment.
Look for liner damage, patches, and defects
Tires age from the inside out, so it’s important to also look at the inside of the tire when assessing its safety. Here you want to check for any exposed cords or other damage to the inner liner. If it looks like there’s a ring of wear around the inside, bubbles in the sidewalls, patches on the tire, any missing chunks, holes or anything that seems out the ordinary, there’s a risk the tire is not safe and will need to be replaced again soon.
Consider the overall situation with your vehicle
The choice to purchase used tires or not can also be determined by case. If someone just wants to get their car on the road for one or two more years, it probably doesn’t make sense to purchase new tires. But if you plan on investing in a vehicle for the long haul, it might make more sense to buy new tires out right.
Where to buy used tires?
If you’re ready to purchase used tires, where can you get them? There is a number of options available to you. If you’re living in Cincinnati and the Northern Kentucky metropolitan area, why not visit Bessler’s U Pull & Save. At our self-service salvage yard, you can buy used tires anywhere from $16 to $40 per tire depending on their size and grade! We don’t price based on brand names, just size and condition.
Ready to save money on used car tires? Call 859-586-6877 or visit us today.