The Must-Know Tips for Buying Used Tires


Used tires are great replacement parts, but novice mistakes can make the investment less successful than you might hope. Don’t worry; learning the basics of finding good used tires is simple and straightforward. Use the must-know tips for buying used tires below to get the most out of your purchase. 

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Inspect the Tire

Whenever you buy any tire, check the tread depth. Balding treads lack sufficient traction, making the tires dangerous to drive on. There are two ways to check this measurement properly: a designated tire-tread gauge or the classic “penny test.” A penny test involves sticking a penny headfirst into several tread grooves. If you can see most or all of Lincoln’s head, the tread depth isn’t up to safety standards.

Next, analyze used tires for holes, scrapes, chunking, loose cords, and signs of wear. They are used tires, but that doesn’t mean you should settle for a set on the verge of breaking, bursting, or otherwise failing you. Inspect the tire treads, sidewalls, liners, and beads. Every nook and cranny should be ready to perform successfully. There are several types of tread wear, but thankfully, they are avoidable if you monitor and maintain your tires consistently.

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Learn the Age

Another of the must-know tips for buying used tires is to learn their age. Even if a tire looks good, don’t invest in one nearing the end of its lifespan. To learn your tire’s age, check the writing on the side and locate the “DOT.” This stands for “Department of Transportation” and will sit beside a series of letters and numbers, including a four-digit numerical code.

Reading the Age

This four-digit number might look random, but it’s actually telling you precisely how old the tire is. The last two numbers indicate the year of manufacturing, while the first two numbers specify the exact week. For instance, if the code near the DOT label reads, “3009,” the tire has been around since the 30th week of 2009.

Avoid buying used tires that are over six years old. If the tire isn’t too old and doesn’t show any signs of damage, then you’ve found a good one for the road. Make sure to get your used tires only from reputable sellers. 

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