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Tires January 15, 2020

Are Used Tires Safe? The Dangers of Used Tires

Are used tires safe?

Used books, used cars, used clothes—there are plenty of items we buy second hand to save a few bucks. But when it comes to buying used car tires, do the risks outweigh the benefits? We think so. Keep reading to find out why.

Are Used Tires Safe?

To put it simply: no. We never recommend buying used tires, and we’ll never sell our customers used tires. But don’t just take it from us: Consumer Reports agrees that vehicle owners should not purchase used tires.

Dangers of Buying Used Tires

When you buy used tires, you’re taking a big gamble on your safety. You don’t know where the tires have been or how they’ve been used. Used tires could have been:

  • Overloaded
  • Under- or over-inflated
  • Driven at excessive speeds
  • Punctured
  • Exposed to harsh temperatures/weather
  • Damaged from hitting curbs and potholes
  • Improperly repaired
  • Recalled by the tire manufacturer

A simple visual inspection may be enough to see why a used tire is unsafe. Cracks, bumps, deteriorating rubber, exposed steel cords, bead damage, metal objects in the tire and low tread depth are all reasons to avoid buying a tire second hand.

But not all tire damage will be immediately obvious. Hitting a pothole or curb, running under- or over-inflated tires, and improper tire repairs can lead to internal damage that isn’t visible from the outside.

Even if a car tire doesn’t have much tread wear, it could still be unsafe to drive on. Tires are made of rubber compounds, which age over time even if they are unused or slightly used. Think about an old rubber band: when you stretch it, the rubber cracks and it breaks easily. The same is true of the rubber in your tires. So no matter the tire’s tread depth, we recommend recycling tires if they are more than 6 years old.

Not sure how old your tires are? All tires manufactured after 1999 have a four-digit DOT code on the sidewall that tells you when the tire was manufactured. The first two numbers represent the week the tire was made. The second two numbers represent the year. For example, a tire with the code “DOT 3216″ was made in the 32nd week of 2016.

The Truth About Used Tires

We love a great deal as much as anyone, but if it puts your safety at risk, it isn’t worth it. When it comes to safety and reliability, new tires are the way to go. Your tires are the only part of your car that makes contact with the road, so it’s important to have quality, reliable tires to keep you safe on the road.

There aren’t any legal standards for selling used tires, so used tire quality and safety varies widely, even among tires sold by the same reseller. And though some used tire sellers meticulously inspect their inventory to make sure their tires are safe, there are those who regularly sell tires that are damaged and unsafe to drive.

Even if you believe the used tires are safe to buy, be sure to look at how much tread is left on them. New tires typically have a tread depth of 10/32” or 11/32”. At 2/32”, tires are illegal to drive and will fail a Virginia State Safety Inspection. Consider how much wear you will get out of the tires for the price you pay.

Read: How to Choose the Right Tires for Your Car

Buy New Tires at Virginia Tire & Auto

To ensure tires will perform safely and dependably, vehicle owners should work with a qualified technician who can recommend the best set of new tires for the vehicle.

If you’re considering getting a new set of tires, the experts at Virginia Tire & Auto would love to help you choose the safest tires for your vehicle. And with our competitive pricing and 110% Tire Price Guarantee, we’ll help you save money on your purchase, too. Shop for your next set here.

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