5 Tips for Buying Used Tires Like a Pro

May 17, 2018 10:25 am Published by

Whether you’re doing it for the environment or just to save a quick buck, buying used tires instead of new ones is a smart choice for most vehicle owners. But purchasing anything second-hand comes with its own set of pitfalls, so it’s useful to take the following pointers into consideration before spending your hard-earned dollars:

  1. Find out the age of the tires you’re buying.

Tire quality is strongly linked to the number of years they’ve been in use. Tires that are more than five years old will generally have a much shorter lifespan, particularly if they were repeatedly employed in warm climates, where the sun’s radiation energy causes the rubber in them to oxidize more quickly. For this reason, inspect each tire to discover its Department of Transportation (DOT) code. The part of the code that’s four digits long usually indicates the date of fabrication, spelled out in weeks and years (WW/YY). Do not buy tires that don’t have a clearly visible DOT code on them.

  1. Look for signs of repairs and other modifications.

Tires that have suffered modifications of any kind will always be much more prone to malfunctioning, so take a good long look at each individual tire and try to identify anything that looks out of the ordinary. This can include various plugs and patches, some of which can be found on the inside as well. If you do notice these kinds of imperfections, be sure to mention them to your salesman so you can get a discount on the tires or better yet move on to other products.

  1. Test out the rubber’s integrity.

No matter how good a tire may look, it must pass the touch test before being truly worthy of purchase. This test involves pinching about three inches into the sidewall, and looking carefully for any signs of dry rot, discoloration or possible cracks. Always check both sidewalls of a tire and don’t be afraid to turn down any product that has blemishes. After all, even though you’re buying a used product, you still have the right to decent quality wares.

  1. Go for matched tires whenever possible.

Matched tires are a better buy than single tires because this way you know you’re getting identical products that often have similar tread wear and a similar tread pattern. When considering a matched tire purchase don’t forget to examine each individual product closely. Sometimes one tire will be considerably more degraded than the other, thereby forcing you to reconsider things. If you do decide to go for a single tire, then choose one that matches your existing tire from the same axle in both width and aspect ratio.


  1. Find a reputable vendor.

As with all used products, it’s the quality of the vendor you choose that ultimately determines the reliability of your purchases. Companies that have solid reputations across the U.S., such as leading auto salvage yard U Pull & Pay, are generally a good choice due to their proven credentials and past dependability. Still, always take the time to do some proper research before settling on a vendor.

As you can see, buying used tires isn’t exactly rocket science, but it can save you a pretty penny when done right. What’s more, by purchasing used tires you’ll be doing your part in recycling still-usable products, thereby avoiding the unnecessary waste of resources within your community.

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This post was written by Jonathan Kling

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