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#3396872 - 06/13/14 06:50 PM inspecting used tires
yonyon Offline


Registered: 03/06/12
Posts: 3492
Loc: NJ, USA
I saw something recently that brought up this topic elsewhere. Sometimes people find themselves in a situation where they must replace one or more tires and can't afford to buy new ones at that time. Sometimes a new tire just plain isn't readily available at any price. At that point, used tires can look like a good idea. Buying used tires isn't something I'd want to do but I often see people driving around on obviously damaged or inappropriate tires later to find out they recently bought them used.

I'd like to start a discussion here about what to look for. Some used tire dealers can be pretty shady and from what I've seen, some of them are very irresponsible. The bad guys tend to be particularly bad when selling to people who don't speak the language, people who appear to be poor, and to a lesser degree, very young or very old women.

I'm not the most knowledgeable person here on the topic of tires, but I've seen quite a few bad ones in use and I brought it up so to get the ball rolling:

Always inspect used tires with your own eyes before they're mounted and again after they've been mounted but not yet installed on the vehicle. If the seller won't allow this, leave. Don't buy anything from this seller. Some things to look out for before the tire is mounted:
-correct (or suitable alternate) size and load rating
-no tires marked NOT FOR HIGHWAY USE on a road-going vehicle
-no trailer tires on a car or truck
-no plugs or patches in a non-repairable area
-note any repairs that you can see from the inside and mark them so that you can check for leaks after it's aired up.
-no cuts, even minor looking ones, in the bead area
-no defacement on the DOT number

Once the tire is mounted, look for:
-the tire has no visible bumps or bulges in the tread or sidewall
-any repair noted before mounting should be checked for leakage
-the bead area should also be checked for leakage

If the tire costs more than you paid for lunch, get a receipt so that you can return it if it goes flat by tomorrow morning.

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#3396883 - 06/13/14 07:00 PM Re: inspecting used tires [Re: yonyon]
901Memphis Offline


Registered: 08/14/10
Posts: 5641
Loc: Northern Kentucky
Some people just don't understand the importance of their tires. I get the feeling most average non BITOGers would run all 4 steel belts showing down the highway at 85 mph without thinking twice.

Maybe this would be a good post to share on Facebook?
_________________________
1999 Ford Taurus 145k (Vulcan v6) - M1 High Mileage 5w30 | Fram Ultra XG 3600
2002 Buick Century 102k - PU 5w30 / Fram Ultra XG 3980 / Filter mag

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#3396918 - 06/13/14 07:32 PM Re: inspecting used tires [Re: yonyon]
71Chevyguy Offline


Registered: 07/10/11
Posts: 378
Loc: Martinsburg West Virginia
I have bought many single used tires and full sets from a place in PA called VYC tires (not affiliated with them in any way , just a customer). They sell them on ebay and provide many good pictures so you can see what you are actually getting. Not saying this is the best place to buy them but just mentioning my experience with them since I have purchased many times. I used to work at a used car dealer and we used to get tires from them all the time. You just have to be smart about what you get. Since it sounds like you are looking for something in particular they will probably have it. In general when I am looking for a set of tires I try to buy some that are a recent addition to the brand so you know they are not very old. Most used tire places online will not tell you the date on the tire. Sometimes in the pics if you look close enough you can see the DOT numbers but it can be a gamble. I have bought many sets of tires from them and while there have been a few bad ones, they gave me an immediate refund or sent another right away to replace it without any issues. It can be a huge savings because at times when they are overstocked they let them go cheap. If you plan ahead you can grab a set real cheap. The last set of 4 that I got were all at 9/32 Goodyear Viva Authority fuel max 205/55/16 and I think I paid around 160 for all 4 shipped. They have about 30k on them now and still no problems, the set of tires I had on it before were also from them and I paid about $140 for them and got almost 50k out of them (not quite to the wear bars), also used Goodyear assurance tires. Can't really complain for that price. Their prices are usually not that low unless you really watch for a set that they want to get rid of or just have too much of. Most of the tires they have that are like new and go for about $50-60 shipped each in the popular mainstream sizes. At work they used to sometimes buy the ones that were very worn to save money and just manage to pass inspection but many of those failed quickly due to age and rot. I just don't see paying 10 bucks less for a bald tire because it is cheaper. I prefer to pay a bit more and have them for years. Give it a look, you may be surprised.
_________________________
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#3396935 - 06/13/14 07:52 PM Re: inspecting used tires [Re: yonyon]
KitaCam Offline


Registered: 11/16/12
Posts: 1531
Loc: SunnySouthFlorida
1st time I got "pull-offs" at a local used tire shop...
They still had factory "nipples" on them...the pair matched the 2 up front, made 6 months earlier in the same factory as the pair on the car and only 2 weeks apart.
They had a different name...I later discovered that that tire in fact has 4 different names in various parts of the US...they cost 1/3 local retail.

The 2nd time I got 5 used tires with 7-8/32 tread and I stipulated that...
They had no repairs or visible defects...
That they were no more than 3 years old.
They cost
I didn't expect any more "guarantees"...they are Hankooks and run balanced and true.
They cost 50% retail.


Edited by KitaCam (06/13/14 07:52 PM)
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#3396945 - 06/13/14 07:57 PM Re: inspecting used tires [Re: yonyon]
Chris142 Offline


Registered: 06/05/03
Posts: 11365
Loc: apple valley, ca
i have had zero luck with used tires. i had 8 put on my peterbilt and only 6 made the 60 mile drive home.the rest blew up over about a 2 month period sittting in my driveway. i bought one for my jeep and it had a huge bulge/seperation in the tread. the rest at the used tire stores were regrooved into the cords.

people tend to run tires until they are bald or ruined somehow. imo new tires are my only option here.


Edited by Chris142 (06/13/14 08:03 PM)
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#3396951 - 06/13/14 08:04 PM Re: inspecting used tires [Re: 71Chevyguy]
hypervish Offline


Registered: 04/20/10
Posts: 1491
Loc: new jersey
Originally Posted By: 71Chevyguy
I have bought many single used tires and full sets from a place in PA called VYC tires (not affiliated with them in any way , just a customer). They sell them on ebay and provide many good pictures so you can see what you are actually getting. Not saying this is the best place to buy them but just mentioning my experience with them since I have purchased many times. I used to work at a used car dealer and we used to get tires from them all the time. You just have to be smart about what you get. Since it sounds like you are looking for something in particular they will probably have it. In general when I am looking for a set of tires I try to buy some that are a recent addition to the brand so you know they are not very old. Most used tire places online will not tell you the date on the tire. Sometimes in the pics if you look close enough you can see the DOT numbers but it can be a gamble. I have bought many sets of tires from them and while there have been a few bad ones, they gave me an immediate refund or sent another right away to replace it without any issues. It can be a huge savings because at times when they are overstocked they let them go cheap. If you plan ahead you can grab a set real cheap. The last set of 4 that I got were all at 9/32 Goodyear Viva Authority fuel max 205/55/16 and I think I paid around 160 for all 4 shipped. They have about 30k on them now and still no problems, the set of tires I had on it before were also from them and I paid about $140 for them and got almost 50k out of them (not quite to the wear bars), also used Goodyear assurance tires. Can't really complain for that price. Their prices are usually not that low unless you really watch for a set that they want to get rid of or just have too much of. Most of the tires they have that are like new and go for about $50-60 shipped each in the popular mainstream sizes. At work they used to sometimes buy the ones that were very worn to save money and just manage to pass inspection but many of those failed quickly due to age and rot. I just don't see paying 10 bucks less for a bald tire because it is cheaper. I prefer to pay a bit more and have them for years. Give it a look, you may be surprised.


I've bought from them before. What a small world we live in.

Not the greatest experience though. I called in about a specific set of tires, they said they had them. I told them I'd be in the next morning and they should hold them for me, even offered to leave a deposit or full payment. They refused and said they will be there. I get there next morning after an hour and half drive and they have sold the tires already. Boy was I furious. Having driven all the way over there, I took a look at their other stock. And settled on some Goodyear Wrangler HP's, bad move on my part having done no research on these tires beforehand. Not only were they rated poorly originally, but this specific set I bought had cupping.

So in summary, buyer beware!
_________________________
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#3396970 - 06/13/14 08:36 PM Re: inspecting used tires [Re: yonyon]
FL_Rob Offline


Registered: 06/03/09
Posts: 1378
Loc: gulf coast FL.U.S.
Always buyer beware... the guys i go to had 4 matching conti- procontacts with 80% tread for $160... OTD.

They know me pretty well,for used,i only buy top brands.

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#3396975 - 06/13/14 08:43 PM Re: inspecting used tires [Re: yonyon]
Panzerman Offline


Registered: 12/16/06
Posts: 2484
Loc: Daytona, Florida
Ive bought countless used tires. My last Dodge Ram, I had for 12 years and I never bought a set of new tires for it. I usually found tires in the local traders guide, that somebody bought a new pick-up new and wanted to put monster mud tires on it right away and I got the new factory tires. There seemed to be no shortage of these. Best deal though was, I bought a set of Continentals off a new Ford Explorer, this was when all the Firestone recalls were happening. The Continentals ended up having a recall on them and I went into the tire shop and got a brand new set of BF Goodrich installed free, this was after the Continentals were already half wore out. I had worse luck selling used tires. I sold a set of BF Goodrich tires to a guy for 200.00. They were Load E tires, lots of tread, 7 years old, there was nothing wrong with them, I just got a good deal on new tires and I knew I would never put them back on. Guy bought them and then calls me in three months and said one blew out, he wants his money back. I said no deal, I don't know what you hit, did, this isn't Sams Club, no warranty implied. Guy sent me about three texts a day [censored]. He finally stopped. Normally I would take care of a problem, but three months later, no that seemed shady, plus he didn't want to give the tires back, he said he threw them out because they were garbage. No deal.

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#3397041 - 06/13/14 10:26 PM Re: inspecting used tires [Re: yonyon]
Lillikai Offline


Registered: 06/10/11
Posts: 193
Loc: St. Louis, MO
Always take a tread depth gauge with you. Here in STL I know of several shady used tire places that sell tires with less than 2/32nds tread on them. So take a gauge and start stabbing treads. You'll most likely scare the guys selling the tires (which is a good thing). Anything above 6/32nds would be worth looking at, however try to get as close to a 8-10/32nds as possible. 10/32nds is generally a new tire.

Also look for any damage to the inside of the tire, any cords, belts, holes, knots, scratches, inside liner peeling, etc. Dont buy it. Take a flash light with you so you can see the inside easier.

Especially look at the bead and the side wall of the tire. Same thing applies, any scuff marks, cuts, belts showing, gashes, plugs of any kind. If so dont buy it. Ive seen some very subtle scuff marks turn into big eggs/knots on the sidewall when the tire is aired up. So beware.

Also if there is a plug/patch anywhere besides the first 3 columns/row patterns in the center of the tread. dont buy it b/c its unsafe. Legally (at least in MO) you can only patch the center 3 rows of tread, the last row on each side of the tire before you hit the side wall is technically a no patch/plug zone and would require a new tire. And again dont buy a tire that has a do it yourself patch/plug anywhere near or on the sidewall.

I wouldnt pay anymore than $20-30 for a standard 14, 15, 16, and 17 inch diameter tire (name brand) with 7-10/ 32nds. Anything less and its worth about $10, and anything less than a 4/32nds is not worth looking at. Tire seller wants more than $30 each, walk away. Unless its a 18-22 inch diameter, then run like the wind with it lol!


Hopefully I covered some things that others did not.


Edited by Lillikai (06/13/14 10:36 PM)
_________________________
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10 Ford Fusion Hybrid: M1 0w-20 & Motorcraft filter

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#3397045 - 06/13/14 10:35 PM Re: inspecting used tires [Re: yonyon]
HTSS_TR Offline


Registered: 04/17/06
Posts: 12901
Loc: Irvine, CA
I didn't buy any used tires but I sold few on Craigstlist.

I had Falken FK452 225/35-17 front and 255/40-17 rear on my S2000, the rear went down to less than 1/32" but the front was around 4/32". I replaced with Kumho 4X and instead of paying America's Tire $2.50/ea for disposal I kept it and sold on Craigslist to an Audi owner. He was going to sell his Audi within a month or so, 2 of his tires were no more than 1/32" the other 2 were decent and it happened to be the same FK452. He happily paid $50 for 2 (plus mounting and balance) to make his Audi looks a little better.

The other one was a 12 years old spare tire from E430, it was never touch the ground but America's Tire refused to mount if to replace the blown out tire. I had to buy 2 replacement tires for the same axle, dismount the spare and put one with 5-6/32" on the spare. I kept the unused spare and sold it on Craigslist for $50.

Instead of paying America's Tire $7.50 to dispose 3 tires I got $100 in my pocket.
_________________________
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'00 E430
'04 S2000
"Consumerism has accustomed us to waste. But throwing food away is like stealing it from the poor and hungry" Pop Francis

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#3397051 - 06/13/14 10:43 PM Re: inspecting used tires [Re: yonyon]
Lillikai Offline


Registered: 06/10/11
Posts: 193
Loc: St. Louis, MO
One more thing. Look at the last 4 numbers of the DOT number (found on the sidewall). The first two numbers is the week of the year it was manufactured, the last two numbers is the year it was manufactured. Honestly its a big debate on how long a tire is good for before it becomes too old and poses as a safety issue. I know that walmart keeps their tires in the inventory until they are 5 years old. After the 5 year mark they are sent back to the manufacture to be scrapped and remade. And thats for new tires. So just keep in mind that old age can pose as a safety issue when tires become several years old. They are made out of rubber after all.
_________________________
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10 Ford Fusion Hybrid: M1 0w-20 & Motorcraft filter

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#3397080 - 06/13/14 11:11 PM Re: inspecting used tires [Re: yonyon]
Doog Offline


Registered: 10/24/11
Posts: 3455
Loc: Ohio
I won't buy a used tire unless it is a take off from a custom wheel shop. Not worth the trouble or risk.
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#3397233 - 06/14/14 07:44 AM Re: inspecting used tires [Re: yonyon]
CapriRacer Offline


Registered: 02/22/03
Posts: 2500
Loc: Somewhere in the US
I am not a fan of used tires.

1) The people selling used tires are usually not the most honest and reputable. What you buy can be quite dangerous, but the sellers don't care.

2) The people most likely to purchase them don't know what to look for. This leaves them vulnerable to the guys I mentioned in #1.

3) Even the folks who know what to look for don't have X-ray vision.

4) And as YonYon listed, there are so many things to look for that it is easy to forget a few.
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#3397238 - 06/14/14 07:51 AM Re: inspecting used tires [Re: yonyon]
datech Online   content


Registered: 01/14/14
Posts: 429
Loc: us
If I got some new car take offs from someone I knew or trusted maybe ok, or if I just needed one tire for a year or two until I got a full set that might be ok.

I would worry about tire damage that isn't obvious. New tires don't really cost that much and they last a long time. I wouldn't want to spend more than 30-40 bucks, otherwise I 'd buy new.

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#3397278 - 06/14/14 09:11 AM Re: inspecting used tires [Re: yonyon]
stephen9666 Offline


Registered: 12/08/06
Posts: 2532
Loc: USA
I've only bought a used tire once, but I would again in the future. I bought a used tire because I bought a car with three very good tires and one worn out tire. I bought one used tire and it lasted thousands and thousands of miles until I replaced the full set.

It's not for everyone. I have some experience working with tires, so I guess I'm a little more familiar with inspecting tires than the average person.

I made sure to look for obvious damage, repairs, weathering and I checked the DOT production date.

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