Advantages and Disadvantage of Buying Used Tires

Buying a new set of tires can be a major cost. New tires aren’t cheap but if you need to replace the tires on your vehicle you may feel like you have no other choice. But instead of investing a good chunk of cash into new tires, you can save money by purchasing used tired instead.

This is a great way to save money or replace only one tire instead of buying a whole new set. And although there are some advantages to it, there are also disadvantages to be aware of and look out for. But if done right, buying used tires can be a great solution if you need new tires but can’t afford new ones at the moment.


There are definitely some advantages to buying used tires, and that’s why some people do it. Buy used tires isn’t like buying new tires, so keep that in mind when shopping around. It may take longer to find good used tires that are in good enough shape that you can still use them for a while.

Save money

Possibly the best advantage to buying used tires is that you save money. This is the most obvious reason to buy used tires. You can save anywhere from 30-50% off from new tires when you get used ones. Because of this, buying used tires is very appealing.

Reduce waste

Another great benefit to buying used cars is that it causes less waste. Reusing old tires helps cut back on the amount of waste created by throwing away old tires. If you are particularly conscious of cutting back on your own waste or helping preserve our environment, this may be a big motivation behind your reason for wanting to buy used tires. If everyone always bought new tires, the number of old tires wasted would be enormous.

You don’t need to buy a full set

If you only need to replace one tire on your car, buying a used one is a good way to avoid purchasing a full set. If your other tires are still in good condition and you can find a used one that is in decent shape as well, this may be the ideal solution for you.


Along with the advantages of buying used tires, there are some disadvantages to consider. Depending on you and your unique situation, these disadvantages may or may not be enough to persuade you to not buy used tires.

Previous wear

Obviously used tires are going to come with previous wear. Depending on where you buy them from, they could have a lot of wear or not. The hard part is that it’s sometimes hard to tell. Sometimes you can see the wear and other times it’s not as visible. You just don’t know how much the tires were used by the previous owner.

Difficult purchasing conditions

Especially if you’re buying used tires online, it’s hard to make a good judgment on the condition of the tires. If you can’t see the tires in person before purchasing, then you may not be 100% of what you’re getting. All you can do is take the seller’s word for the condition of the tires and their history.

Unknown history

You simply don’t know what the tires have been through, even if you do buy them in person. You can’t guarantee how many miles they’ve been used for, or what kind of driving conditions they’ve been in so it’s difficult to assess how good of shape their in. You can’t always tell by looking at used tires just how much they’ve been through and what kind of stress was put on them.

Harsh weather conditions

If the tires were stored or used in harsh weather conditions, such as extreme sun or heat, the tire’s internal structure may actually break down over time. And you can’t really tell if the tire was kept or used in these conditions or for how long.

You don’t know how long they’ll last

Because you don’t know what kind of wear they’ve been through, there’s no telling how long used tires may last you. You could get lucky and they may last you a couple of years. Or you may purchase them and then need to replace them within a few months. So, in the long run, it may not even end up saving you any money if you must replace them again quickly.

What to Look for in Used Tires

If you are considering buying used tires for your vehicle, there are certain things to look for that well help make sure you get tires that are still in good shape. It may be extra work to look for these things, but it will be worth it if you can find quality used tires at a fraction of the cost of new tires.

Depth of tread

The depth of the tread is the measurement between the top and the bottom of the tread pattern on the tires. One study showed that when the depth of the tread is lower than it should be it causes more accidents. You can check this with a simple penny test. Take a penny that has Lincoln’s face on it and insert it into the tread. If most of Lincoln’s face is still visible, the tread is too low. The depth of a tread should never be less than 1/16th of an inch.

Aging signs

There are some clearly visible signs of aging that you’ll want to look for. When tires are new, they have a crisp black color. As they age, the color fades and wears out. Be careful though, because some sellers may try to hide this by cleaning the tires or painting over faded patches. You can check how old the tires are by looking at the four-digit number printed on the tire. The first two digits indicate the week and the last two digits indicate the year in which the tire was made.

Large punctures

Look for punctures in the tire, especially large ones. Even though they may have been repaired, you don’t know how well they were repaired or how long they will hold up. Large punctures that have been repaired can still make the tire wear and may cause a leak in air pressure.

Bead damage

Look out for large chunks of rubber missing or other damage to the tire’s bead area. This could prevent the tire from sealing properly it would make it unsafe to use. The bead area connects the tire to the wheel and is essential for keeping it together. Damage to the bead area is a bad sign.

Cuts or cracks

Check the tire’s surface for any visible cracks or cuts. This could indicate how much the tire has been used and may cause it to be unsafe to drive. If you see any large cuts or cracks, it’s probably not safe to buy them.

Is It Worth it?

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if buying used tires is worth it or not. You may be able to save money and get by with used tires for long enough if you need to save up the money to buy completely new tires for your car, ATV, golf cart or other vehicles. This can be a good option if new tires simply just aren’t in your budget right now.

If you do decide to buy used tires, make sure that you check them as much as possible for any damage or warning signs. Remember, purchasing used tires isn’t like buying new ones. They aren’t built for quality or performance, so you can’t treat them like you would treat the tires on a fancy new racecar. You want to make sure you buy your used tires carefully and proceed with caution while driving them.

Also, if you decide that buying used tires is the best option for you, you want to make sure you buy them from a trusted source. You never know if the seller is lying to you or hiding problems from you. Because there aren’t a lot of regulations on used tire sales, you need to use your own judgment and make wise decisions. If you purchase tires that are unsafe, you could be putting your own safety at risk as well as the safety of others on the road.


There’s no denying that there are advantages to buying used tires. They can be a great, cheaper alternative, especially if you have an older car that you don’t plan on using much. Or if you need to get used tires to hold you over until you can buy new ones. Investing a large amount of money into new tires may not always make sense, but when looking at used tires, keep in mind the important things to look at that will indicate whether a tire is still good or not. It is possible to purchase used tires that still work well, but you need to put in the effort and check them out before you buy.