Tips on Buying Used Tyres


Sep 15th, 2020

Tips on Buying Used Tyres

Should you even consider buying used tyres for your car? If money is not an issue, by all means, buy new! 

Is buying used tyres a good idea?

A new set of tyres should always be your first option. There are two reasons for you to opt for used tyres – to buy them cheap and to help in the planet's recycling efforts – a false economy and a noble cause, in that order. 

It used to be that buying new tyres would cause a gaping hole in your pocket or your eyes to water, but not so much anymore. With the entry of Asian tyre manufacturers into the market, the prices of tyres have somehow stabilised. Competition has forced premium brands to make their pricing schemes more reasonable. 

Still, a decent set of four would cost you within the regions of $400. So, if for any reason you still would like to get partly-worn tyres, then these tips should be useful before you scour the market for the best used tyres you can find.

What do I look for when buying second hand tyres?

The ADR 23 (Australian Design Rule for passenger car tyres) specifies the standards and tests required before new tyres are sold, but there’s none for used tyres. In the absence of such regulations, watching your steps is entirely on you. You should at least know about the following before venturing into the market:

  1. Measure the tread depth – For tyres to be considered roadworthy, their tread depth needs to be at least 1.5mm, but that’s the bare minimum. If you're buying used, make sure to pick ones with at least 4mm depth left. To appreciate this figure in the proper context: New tyres will have a tread depth of around 8mm. There’s a cheap tool you can use for measuring tread depth, the tyre tread depth gauge. 
  2. Figure out the tyre’s age – Tyres are made of rubber, which doesn't age as well as wine, unfortunately. Rubber grows brittle with the years. So if the tyres you’re eyeing have a good-as-new tread depth, but they’re only a few months shy of their 5th or 6th birthday, you better look for another set. You don’t want the rubber crumbling, or showing cracks, underneath your daily driver as you drive, do you? Read the tyre ID, which includes four numbers as the last characters. The first pair of the four numbers stands for the week of the year, while the last pair stand for the year of manufacturing. For instance, an ID number ending in ‘4318’ indicates that the tyre was manufactured in the 43rd week of the year 2018.
  3. Look for the tyre’s treadwear rating – Above the ID number, there's a number after the mark saying 'treadwear’. The higher this number is, the longer it takes for the tyre to wear. So a tyre with a treadwear grade of 200 will wear down twice faster than a tyre rated 400. 
  4. Assess the fairness of the price based on items 1 and 2 – The remaining tread of a half-priced second hand tyre should be more than half (not counting the 1.5mm threshold). Say, for a tyre priced at 50% off the price of a new tyre of the same brand and specs, there should be a tread depth of at least 4.75mm. Also, it should be no more than 3 years old based on its manufacturing ID marks. You now have a basis for negotiating the price.   
  5. Check for defects, bubbles, patches, or uneven wear – Inspect holes and other defects. Patches will be more visible from the interior of the tyre. Only buy used tyres when they pass your inspection. They should not have a lot of the issues mentioned here (item 5). You wouldn't want to spend more on patching holes that were already there because that would add to the cost, aside from compromising safety. 

How long does the average tyre last?

It depends on a lot of factors, including how you drive. Normally, you’d want to check your tyres every 10,000 km for evenness of wear and replace after an average of 30,000 km.  

For second hand tyres, these figures will be much lower depending on how worn out they were and how much life was left when you bought them.

What is the best place to buy tyres online?

When buying tyres, always go for reputable dealers and find out about the warranties they offer. You may request to search sellers for you. This way, you are assured that you get quotations from vetted sellers only. Start receiving quotes by filling out a request form here.

As for buying used tyres online, the above tips may not be as feasible. For instance, how can you measure the tyre’s remaining tread depth online? For your peace of mind, it’s best to save up for replacement tyres and always opt for new ones when the time comes. Buying used tyres has its advantages for you and the environment, no doubt, just make sure to follow the tips we’ve shared with you. Visit our website for more money-saving (and life-saving!) tips and articles!