Yes, Used Tyres Are Safe…And Here’s Why! (7 Things To Look For)

Buying used tyres has always been a bit of a hot topic, with some people saying it’s a definite no-no, and others who think there’s nothing wrong with it, as long as you do the due diligence. In our opinion there definitely are advantages to buying used ones, as opposed to taking out a second mortgage on a brand new set. Let’s have a quick look at what those are.

The Benefits of Buying Used Tyres

Saving a whole lot of cash

The main reason most people opt for part worn tyres rather than buying new ones is the money you save. And depending on the car you drive, the saving could be substantial. You could probably save even more by negotiating a better price or asking for a discount.

Going Green

Choosing used tyres is much better for the environment. You’ll often find a lot of these tyres have hardly been used, and some have as much as, or more than 75% of tread left. Because they’re so difficult to get rid of, it’s much better for everyone if they’re completely used up before they’re dumped.


Buying used tyres means you only have to spend money on what needs to be replaced rather than getting four new ones. Just make sure to match the tread to the tyres you already have on your car.

Less Stress

If you spend a lot of time driving in less than ideal conditions you won’t be stressing about wrecking your tyres if they’re second-hand. When you haven’t invested half your life savings in four new tyres, the idea of driving off-road or in areas where there’s a chance of punctures leaves you feeling a lot less stressed. And replacing them every few months doesn’t eat into your kid’s college fund.

Having a Spare Tyre

The lower prices mean you can buy a spare or two in case of an accident, or if you get a puncture. Family road trips will be a pleasure knowing you have spare and if your teenager’s just started driving, it will also give you peace of mind knowing a puncture isn’t the end of the world. Show them how to do a tyre change and they’re good to go.

While some people are reluctant to purchase used tyres, we think the benefits outweigh the negatives. If you buy them from a trustworthy shop and they go through a thorough inspection, you can rest easy knowing your tyres are roadworthy and safe.

Yes, used tyres are safe, but before you rush out and buy the first one you see, we suggest you tread carefully and look out for a few key things. Doing this will save you money on tyres and keep everyone safe on the road.

7 Things To Be Aware of When You Buy Used Tyres

Visible Cords

Have a look at the tread surface all around the tyre. If there has been irregular wear it will leave the braided steel cords exposed inside the tyre. If the cords are visible, or there are thin steel wires, the tyre isn’t safe to buy.

Depth of Tread

Always do the coin or penny test when you’re buying used tyres. Simply place the penny upside down into one or two of the grooves and if you can see the majority of the coin, or whoever’s head happens to be on it, the tyre is bald and it’s unsafe.

Bead Chunking

The bead areas are the two rings of rubber where the tyre and wheel meet. Take a very close look to see if there are chunks of rubber missing or any other damage that prevents the tyre sealing properly.

Bad Repair Jobs

Always look inside and out for punctures, and be aware of punctures that have been repaired.  The correct way to fix a puncture is with a full patch on the inside, while a puncture that’s been repaired with a plug isn’t as safe.

Don’t get us wrong, we’re not saying plugs are unsafe, we’re saying when compared to patches, patches are generally safer. Avoid tyres that have puncture repairs within an inch of the sidewalls. Also stay away from tyres with obvious large punctures.

Belt Separation

Inspect the tread surface and sidewall for waviness, bumps or any other irregularities. This could be as a result of some kind of impact that causes the rubber to move away from or delaminate from the belts. If you run your hands over the tread surface and the side walls, you’ll be able to feel a change on the surface.

Linear Damage

When a tyre starts losing air, the sidewalls collapse; the collapsing sidewalls will eventually fold over and rub against themselves. This scrubs the rubber liner off the inside of the sidewalls until the walls are damaged beyond any kind of repair. A ‘stripe’ around the sidewall of the tyre that’s softer than the rest of the sidewall, or fine particles of rubber inside or ‘rubber dust’, is a sign the tyres aren’t safe. Keep on looking.


Age is a bugger, even with tyres. Aging tyres start to deteriorate from the inside, and this makes it a little more difficult to see the true condition. What you can do is look for a Tyre Identification Number (TIN) on the sidewall. The number will always have the letters DOT before it. The number itself might not tell you a lot, but all tyres should have them, and if it’s been rubbed off or removed you need to worry about the integrity of the person selling the tyre or the supplier. If this is the case, walk away and don’t look back.

Dry Rot

Dry rot is a huge problem and comes with age as well.  It’s also called sidewall cracking and you can recognize it by the small, sometimes invisible, cracks along the tread and the sidewalls. You might not necessarily see the cracks, but if you notice the tyres have dulled from black to grey, it’s a sure sign of dry rot. A tyre with dry rot is downright rotten.

To finish off, it’s better to buy used tyres in person, rather than shopping online. While it’s more convenient, buying online doesn’t give you the opportunity to do a thorough check. Regardless of your tyres, always be safe and drive carefully, especially with all the holidays around the corner.