Is it Safe to Buy Used Tires?

Explore the feasibility of buying used tires for your vehicle

January 04, 2021

If you’ve been wondering whether buying used tires is a good idea, you are not alone. Many vehicle owners often ask for our recommendation on buying used tires, especially for replacing a single tire that’s damaged.

Admittedly, one of the biggest advantages of used tires is that consumers are able to save money. Used tires are an inexpensive alternative to new tires as they go for only a fraction of the cost of new ones. A brand new tire can cost anywhere from $100 and up to $600, depending on the size of the tire, the type of car or truck, and the brand selected. In contrast, used tires are usually $25-$75.

Plus, used tires are a great way to save our planet. It is very difficult to recycle used tires, and storing used tires at dumps and recycling facilities poses an environmental hazard.

Are used tires safe for you and your vehicle?

Perhaps, the biggest drawback to used tires is the assumption that they are not safe. While it’s true that the health of your tires can determine your safety, it’s important to know that used tires are different from old, worn-out tires.

Most used tires come from cars involved in accidents or those just scrapped because the cost of repairs surpasses the car's value. These damaged cars are usually sent to the scrapyard to be crushed, but lots of parts are removed to be resold, including wheels and tires. A significant number of vehicles meant for scrapping have nearly-new tires on them, and these are safe.

In a way, buying used tires is like buying a used car – it all boils down to your knowledge and the safety aspects you keep in mind when you want to make a purchase.

Tips for buying used tires

Looking to purchase used tires? Here are a few things to know before you commit to investing in them.

Buy from a reputable establishment.

The most common mistake many vehicle owners make is buying used tires from an individual. Just as there are honest people out there, there are also those looking to the advantage of people who don’t know enough about used tires. Buying from an establishment eliminates the risk of buying worn-out tires from unscrupulous people. One such outlet is Auto Heaven that sells Quality Used Tires in Toronto

Check for production dates.

While buying from an establishment reduces the risk of buying old, worn-out tires, you still need to do due diligence to confirm that the tires are in good condition and an excellent way to do that is to check for the manufacturing date marked next to the DOT code and looks like a 4 digit number representing the week and year of manufacture. For example: DOT 5019 – this will read as week 50 of 2019. Buying a tire that’s over 2 years old is not recommended.

Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation.

It’s always a great idea to stick to the recommendation of your manufacturer when it comes to the size of the tire. It also reduces the risks of issues arising from the purchase.

Test tire tread

Finally, be sure to carry out your inspection. Check the surface for cuts, uneven surface and cracks in the rubber. Consider the depth of the tread and look out for exposed cords as they show whether the tire is usable or worn out.


Used tires are a great option to consider if you’re looking to save some bucks or preserve the environment. By following the tips above, you will find used tires that are relatively new and in great condition.

Buying used tires can be a viable option, especially if you're trying to save money. However, it comes with certain risks and considerations that you need to keep in mind:

  1. Tread Depth: This is a critical indicator of a tire's health. A tire's tread should be at least 2/32 of an inch deep. You can use a penny to check this; insert it into the tread with Lincoln's head down - if you can see his entire head, the tread is too shallow.

  2. Tire Age: Tires tend to harden and become brittle as they age, regardless of tread depth. Even if a tire has never been used, if it's older than 6 years, it may not be safe to use. The manufacturing date is usually stamped on the tire's sidewall.

  3. Inspection for Damage: Check for any visible signs of damage such as cuts, punctures, bulges, or irregular tread wear. This can be challenging for untrained eyes, so it may be best to have them inspected by a professional.

  4. Matching Tires: Ensure all four tires are the same brand and model, with similar tread patterns, to ensure your vehicle handles consistently.

  5. Recalls: Check if the tire model was subject to any recalls by the manufacturer.

  6. History: Try to learn about the tire's history. For instance, it may have been repaired after a puncture, which could affect its future performance.

  7. Warranty: Used tires usually come without warranties, so any problems that occur will have to be addressed at your expense.

In general, if you do choose to buy used tires, it's a good idea to have them inspected by a professional. And remember, while buying used tires can be a short-term solution, they might not offer the same level of safety or last as long as new ones. It's always safer and more reliable to buy new tires if possible.

  1. High-Speed Driving: If you often drive at high speeds or on highways, you need reliable tires that can handle the stress. Used tires might have hidden damages that compromise their performance at high speeds.

  2. Harsh Weather Conditions: If you live in an area with harsh weather conditions, such as heavy rain, snow, or extreme temperatures, it's better to invest in new tires that are designed for those conditions.

  3. Long Drives and Road Trips: For long drives, road trips, or if you heavily depend on your vehicle for commuting or work, you'd want the peace of mind that comes from having new tires.

  4. If the Tires are Old: Even if a tire hasn't seen much use, the rubber can still degrade over time. Tires that are more than 6 years old should generally be avoided.

  5. Unverifiable History: If the seller can't provide reliable information about the tire's history (usage, repairs, storage conditions), it's safer to pass them up.

  6. Signs of Damage or Irregular Wear: Tires that show signs of damage, patches, bulging, or irregular wear should be avoided, as these could point to potential issues or reduced life expectancy.

  7. Mismatched Tires: It's important for a car's handling that all four tires are of the same type and have similar wear. If you can't find four matching used tires, you're better off buying new ones.

Remember, tires are a critical safety component of your vehicle. Saving money by buying used tires might seem appealing, but it could cost more in the long run if it leads to problems or accidents. Your safety should be the top priority.

Even if tires have been stored properly and have plenty of tread left, they can still degrade over time due to the natural aging of the rubber components.

Most vehicle manufacturers and tire companies recommend replacing tires that are 6 to 10 years old, regardless of tread depth. To find the age of a tire, look for the DOT code on the sidewall. The last four digits represent the week and year the tire was made. For example, if the last four digits are 0318, that means the tire was manufactured in the third week of 2018.

However, environmental conditions and usage can speed up tire aging. Heat, sunlight, and coastal climates can accelerate aging, as can under-inflation, overloading, or infrequent use.

You should also regularly check your tires for signs of aging, such as cracking or brittleness in the sidewall, tread distortion, or any bulges or bubbles. If you see any of these signs, or if your tires are approaching the 6-year mark, it's a good idea to have them inspected by a professional.

As of the time of writing this, there's no federal law in Canada that sets a specific expiration date for tires. However, many tire manufacturers and industry experts recommend replacing tires that are 6 to 10 years old, regardless of wear.

Each tire has a manufacture date code on its sidewall. This is a four-digit number following the letters "DOT." The first two digits represent the week, and the last two represent the year. For instance, "3621" means the tire was manufactured in the 36th week of 2021.

While the law may not mandate it, it's a good idea to replace older tires for safety reasons. Aging tires can have dry rot, cracks, or other structural problems that may not be immediately visible, but can lead to catastrophic failure while driving. Therefore, it's generally best to adhere to the manufacturer's age recommendations.

Regularly check your tires for signs of aging or damage, and have them professionally inspected if they're more than 5 years old. Always replace tires if they show signs of significant wear or damage. If you're unsure, a professional inspection can provide guidance.

Please check the most recent and local guidelines for the most accurate information, as my knowledge is based on information available up until September 2021.

Purchasing used winter tires can save you money, but there are several factors to consider to ensure they're safe and effective. Here are some tips if you're considering this option:

  1. Tread Depth: Winter tires should have a tread depth of at least 4/32 of an inch to be effective. You can use a quarter to check this; if you insert it into the tread with the caribou's nose going in first and can see above its nose, the tire's tread is too shallow for winter driving.

  2. Age of the Tire: Rubber can degrade over time. Even if the tire's tread is deep enough, if the tire is more than 6 years old, it might not perform as well as it should.

  3. Damage: Check for any visible signs of damage, such as cuts, punctures, or bulges. This could be an indicator that the tire has been repaired, which could affect its performance.

  4. Uniformity: All four tires should ideally be of the same make and model. Different tires can have different performance characteristics, which could lead to unpredictable handling.

Remember, safety should always be your top priority. While buying used winter tires could save money in the short term, they may not last as long as new tires and could potentially be less safe. If you choose to buy used, it's a good idea to have them inspected by a professional. If you have any doubts about the safety of used winter tires, it's best to invest in new ones.

Ideally, it is recommended to buy all four tires at the same time for the best performance and safety. Here are some reasons why:

  1. Uniformity: If all four tires are the same brand, model, and have the same amount of wear, your vehicle will handle more predictably and safely, particularly in emergency situations.

  2. Tread Depth: If the tires have the same tread depth, they can more evenly distribute the load and torque, which leads to better handling and longer tire life.

  3. Advanced Safety Systems: Modern vehicles often have advanced safety systems like anti-lock brakes (ABS), electronic stability control (ESC), and traction control that rely on having tires of the same size and similar levels of wear.

However, sometimes, replacing all four tires isn't necessary or feasible. If only one tire is damaged or worn, you might replace just that tire or replace two tires (the pair on the front or the pair on the back). If you're replacing only two tires, the new ones should generally go on the rear for most vehicles for better stability and control. Also, the new tires should be as similar as possible to the remaining ones in terms of brand, model, and performance characteristics.

In some vehicles, especially those with all-wheel drive (AWD), replacing just one or two tires can cause mechanical issues, because the system expects all four tires to have the same level of traction.

Ultimately, you should consult with a tire professional or your vehicle's owner's manual to determine the best course of action.

Old winter tires can be better for the chilly, icy weather than all-season ones, because they're specially made for that kind of weather. But, it's not just about whether they're winter tires or not. It's also about their condition.

First off, tread depth. No matter how old they are, winter tires gotta have enough tread on them to really grip the road when it's snowy or icy. If the tread is worn out, they're not going to do their job well, even though they're winter tires.

Second, how old are they? Tires get old over time, just like everything else. The rubber gets hard and loses its grip. And even though heat and sunlight speed this up, it happens even if you store your tires right. So, generally, if your tires are more than 6 years old, it's probably time for a new set, even if they seem okay and the tread looks deep enough.

Lastly, always check for damage. Take a good look at older tires for stuff like cracks, or any bulges or bubbles. If you see that kind of damage, it's definitely time to replace them.

So, here's the deal: if your old winter tires are still in good shape (they have enough tread, no damage, and they're not too old), they'll likely handle winter weather better than all-season tires. But if they're worn out, damaged, or super old, it's a good idea to buy new ones. Whether you choose winter or all-season tires would depend on what you need. The main thing to remember, though, is always to think about safety first.


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