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Used Tires Safe?

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Tires. They’re one of those costs that always seem to creep up on your unawares. You take your car in for a routine oil change, and they tell you your tires are on their last legs. And these days, it’s not unheard of for a set of four new tires, mounted and balanced, to set you back close to $1000–especially if you drive a big SUV or any kind of sporty car with low-profile, Z-rated tires.

Used tires can offer an alternative for people who cannot afford a set or pair of new tires. However, that is not to say that buying a used tire is risk-free.

Inspect. Inspect, Inspect, Inspect!

You will need to carefully inspect any used tire that you are considering. Because of the need to look the tire over carefully, you should never buy a used tire online. An online seller may honestly represent the tires, but there is no guarantee. If you are struggling financially, you can not afford to buy a tire only to find out that it is in poor condition.

There are reputable used tire dealerships in nearly every town in America. The key is to know what to look for. First be sure of the tire size that you need. The size is in the owner’s manual and on the side of the tires. It will be a three number sequence like 205/70 R15. Maybe not those same numbers, but in a similar sequence.

Next, look for cracking, bulges, or uneven tread wear. You should also look for previous repairs to the tire. Any of these can be a sign that the tire will fail in a short amount of time. These can also mean that the tire will ride strangely or cause a shaking in your steering.

In the long run, used tires are not a very good idea. The average cost is more than 50 percent of a new tire and the risks are numerous. If you just cannot buy a new tire right now, you should look at a used tire as a very short term solution and plan to buy a matched pair of new tires within 60 days.


About the author: Jerry Coffey


Jerry Coffey is the financial expert here at A recovered "debtaholic," he now preaches frugal-living and sound money management here and at, where he is the chief contributor. He works for a major automaker.


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