Buying used tires can save you a lot of money, whether you’re just looking for a spare or a way to cut costs on a whole set. It is important to buy used tires in person and not online, as you will want to see and feel the tire you’re buying. You will want to make sure you check the size of tire that you need. You can either check your car’s owner manual or on the driver’s side door panel for this information, or you can look for the size of tire currently on your car. It is a good idea to double-check with the manual, however. Especially if you just bought the car, it’s possible the tires on it are the wrong size.
There are a few different ways you can find used tires for your vehicle; tire salvage yards, tire stores with a used tire rack, and the classifieds. Tire salvage yards will often have a lot of tires to choose from, in different sizes for a lot of different vehicles. Many salvage yards also test all their tires so you can at least have some idea what you’re getting. However, not all salvage yards do this and often the tires are sitting outside being exposed to the elements and other things. This is where the possibility of dry rot comes up. You should still inspect the tire thoroughly yourself and compare the prices. Tire stores often have used racks, but may not have a very big selection. The tires they have are usually not much less than 70% wear and are tested as well. However, price-wise they are probably going to be more expensive than a salvage yard.
Things to watch out for:
- dry rot
- any foreign objects stuck in the tire wall
- low pressure
- uneven tread
- evidence of patches or repairs
- any obvious signs of degradation
The other way to find used tires is to simply browse your local classifieds. Often car owners will replace tires with better looking or better performing tires and then sell the old ones themselves. Prices for these tires may be better and you can likely get an idea of how the tire has been used from the owner as well. The main drawback to classifieds is selection. You may not be able to find the type of tire you’re looking for.