Should You Buy Used Tires? What You Need to Know

Should You Buy Used Tires?

A set of quality tires doesn’t come cheap. You can easily spend close to $1,000 on four new tires — more if you have a truck. Even replacing a couple of tires at a time can cost you a few hundred dollars.

The expense is well worth it since your tires are some of the most important elements on your car. Healthy tires insure that your car maintains good traction with the road so that you stay in control behind the wheel.

When you are shopping for tires in Albany, NY, you will find options for both new and used tires. Buying used tires can certainly save you a lot of money, but used tires can also put your care at risk if you aren’t careful.

History of the Tires

Consumer Reports advises against buying used tires because you just can’t be certain of the history of the tires. You don’t know how many miles have already been put on the tires, and you certainly don’t know the driving conditions those tires have been put through.

For example, the previous owner of those tires might have driven at top speeds for long periods of time or might have consistently driven through rough terrain, such as gravel and rocky paths. The tires might have been left consistently underinflated, or they might have consistently been stressed by carrying heavy loads.

Over time, the tires can wear down without showing visible signs on the outside. The internal structure might be weakened, but you’d never be able to tell. You can check the DOT codes to know a tire’s age, but you can’t do anything to know the history of the tire or to truly understand its condition.

Registration and Recalls

New tires are registered to you when you buy them so that the manufacturer can notify you if there are any recalls. When you buy used tires, that registration isn’t transferred. The tires may well have changed hands several times since the initial purchase, so the chain of contact is broken for notifications about recalls.

You can stay vigilant by reading the news or checking the manufacturer’s website for any information about potential recalls, but you aren’t likely to get the information you need in a timely manner. After all, are you really going to remember to check the website every week just in case there is a recall?

What is more likely to happen is that you never learn about the problem or that you only learn about it months after the recall is issued. You leave yourself vulnerable to serious injury caused by a problem with the tires — and you put others in danger at the same time.

Used Tires on Used Cars

When you buy a used car, the car automatically has used tires. Does that mean you should replace all the tires with new ones? Not necessarily.

Buying a used car is different than buying used tires a la carte. You have much more information about the car. You can see how many miles it has on it and what condition it’s in, and you can find out if it has been in an accident. While this information doesn’t always translate to the tires, you can be reasonably confident that if the car has been well taken care of, the tires have been, too.

Of course, you can always replace the tires if you are feeling nervous about their condition and you have the budget. You may even be able to deduct the cost of new tires when you are negotiating the sales price.

Inspecting the Tires

If you absolutely must buy used tires because of your lower budget, you need to carefully inspect the tires to make sure you are getting the best quality possible. You’ll never be able to know the condition of the tires for sure, but you can note some signs of health and quality.

First, you’ll need to look at the trim. It should be thick and well-formed. Put a penny in the grooves face down, and if you can see the top of Abraham Lincoln’s head, the tread is too shallow. If the tread covers the top of his head, the tread is thick and healthy.

Pay close attention to the sidewall of the tires. Look for any cracking, bulging or other irregularities. Damage along the sidewall will indicate a problem with the internal structure, which can cause major problems.

Check the date of the tires by looking at the DOT code printed on the side. The date is indicated by the last four digits of the code. The first two digits are the week, so they should be between 01 and 52. The last two digits are the year. Never buy tires that are more than six years old.

Brand and Store

What’s in a name? If you’re talking about tires or a tire store, it could be a lot. Name brands get to be well-known because of their quality. If you are looking at a name-brand tire, chances are it is a higher-quality tire and will last longer. However, that doesn’t mean that the tire hasn’t been put through the wringer, so it’s no guarantee.

Also shop at tire stores or dealerships that have a reputation for selling quality used tires. Again, it’s no guarantee you won’t get a bad tire, but you will protect yourself by shopping with someone who has built a reputation for quality merchandise.

Ultimately, you will always do better to shop for new tires since you can be certain of their quality, can register for updated information about recalls, and can have a warranty in case of any future problems.

DePaula Chevrolet offers some of the best deals on new tires in Albany, NY. Whatever your budget, we can help you find quality tires for your car or truck. Visit us today to browse our selection of quality tires.