Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
D asks: My car’s tires are probably not going to pass state safety inspection and I know that driving on worn-out tires is dangerous regardless. But a set of four new tires is a lot of money for me at the moment. What are your thought about getting used tires to get me through?
My reply: There are a number of things to think about here.
Most people keep the tires they have until they need to be replaced, so you’re probably looking at tires salvaged from a car that was in a bad wreck – bad enough to total the car (but not the tires).
How old are those tires?
Check the date code on the sidewall. More info about how to do that here. Avoid tires – even if they have good tread – that are more than ten years old.
Have they been sitting in a field for awhile? In addition to possible physical damage from the wreck they may be deteriorated from age and exposure. Watch out for dry rot and flat spots and sidewall cracks, etc.
If they’ve been dismounted, make sure they don’t leak.
Are all four tires the same type? Have any got abnormal wear patterns from the vehicle they were on? Look for cupping and such.
Finally: How much will it cost you to buy and mount the four used tires vs. new ones? Only you know how much you can afford to spend, of course. And if you simply can’t afford the cost of new tires right now, there’s nothing wrong with slapping on a set of of used tires – assuming all four are sound.
But make certain that they are before you roll!
Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!
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