New tires too expensive? You can try used but here’s what to look out for

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Why buy used tires?

New ones can come with a big price tag.

As a result, some choose to buy used.

While they are budget friendly, automotive technician Pam Oakes warns they’re only a temporary fix.

What to look for

When shopping for used tires, check the tread.

Tread, measured in 32nds of an inch, is what keeps you on the road.

Oakes says you want at least 4/32 of 5/32 of life left. New tires typically come with 10/32 or 11/32.

“The shop will have a tool so they can prove and they can show you,” Oakes says.

Next, avoid tire plugs and look at its age.

Printed on the tire is the week and year it was made.

“See that 4016? That’s the birth date of the tire. It’s the fortieth week of 2016.”

Oakes says if the tire is older than six years, 99.9% manufacturers will not warranty the tire for any defects.

Last, confirm the tire’s size and speed rating are compatible with the vehicle’s make and model.

“You definitely want to make sure that you have the size that’s marked on the inside of your driver’s door jamb and the speed rating.” Oakes says, “it can go higher, never lower.”

How long will they last?

Oakes estimates the life of a used tire to be two to three months.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says “tires are not safe and should be replaced when the tread is worn down to 2/32.”


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