Buying brand new tires, especially for pick-up trucks, can be very costly for some people. That’s why they turn to retreaded or used tires. How much is a used tire? This article is an average cost of used tires guide.
The cost of used tires can range from $25 to $160. It is generally less than 30% to 50% of the cost of a new tire of the same size and model. However, the actual price will depend on several factors. It is possible to get the same type and size of a used tire for $55 or $85.
Note that no regulations are being followed in the used tire industry in the United States. So, there are no guarantees that used tires for sale are safe to use.
There are tires with visible tread wear. But it is difficult to see any internal damage on a used tire. So, you need to know how to spot an excellent used tire to buy.
Read on to learn about the price and the average cost of used tires, if they are safe and how to spot a good used tire.
How Much Is a Used Tire?
What do used tires cost? On average, you can buy a used tire from $25 to $160, depending on the size and quality. The price per tire is usually 30% to 50% less than a new tire of the same size and model.
Several factors influence the actual price of a used tire. It is possible to get the same type and size of used tire for $55 or $85.
Used Tires Industry Is Unregulated
You should also consider if it is safe to buy used tires. Be aware that the industry of used tires in the United States is unregulated. There is no guarantee that the used tire you will buy is safe.
There are times when the tread wear is visible on a used tire. But you can’t see if the used tire has internal damage.
Used Tires Can Last from Two to Five Years
If you want to buy a good used tire for whatever purpose, it can still last from two to five years. This is possible if the tire is still in good condition and has enough tread to grip the pavement.
If the tire has no patches, no uneven wear, and has 8/32-inch tread left on it, even if it’s two years old, you can still safely use it.
Sell Your Car’s Old Tires
On the other hand, if you buy a new set of tires, you may want to sell your old tires if they are still usable. In this way, you can cover some of the cost of the brand new tires. So, how much can you get for your old tires? Since your old tires are still usable, some companies can retread them.
They stick a camelback on them and then process them so new owners can still use them. On average, tire retreading companies buy good used tires from $25 to 75 apiece. So, you are looking at a total of $100 to $300 for your set of good used tires.
Factors That Determine the Price of Used Tires
Several factors influence the cost or price of a used tire. That is why you can see tires of the same size and model differently priced. Here are the factors that determine the actual price of a used tire:
1. Original Price
The first consideration in pricing a used tire is its original brand new price. For instance, if a brand new Michelin Energy MXV4 S8 tire costs $300, getting a used version of it is impossible at only $30. You need to consider this key element when selecting the used tire you want to buy.
2. Tire’s Age
The more you use a tire, the more it deteriorates. A tire’s structure also deteriorates with how long it is used. You can safely use a tire for a maximum of 10 years. So, the age of the tire will also determine its price.
As it ages, the rubber becomes less resilient and begins to crack. Do not buy a used tire that is more than eight years old.
The safest option is to buy used tires no more than six years old. You can determine the tire’s age by reading the date code indicated on its sidewall.
3. Tread Left on the Tire
Tread depth also influences the price of a used tire. Used tires that still have around 10/32-inch tread left with a maximum of 99% tread life are still relatively safe to use. Tires with no less than 5/32-inch tread left are still considered safe to use.
You can still use a tire with a 2/32-inch tread left since that is the minimum legal tread depth. But if your tires have only 4/32-inch tread left, you need to scout for new tires to buy.
4. Tire Type
Sellers do not sell all used tires at the lowest price. Usually, they sell used high-performance tires at a higher price than used all-season regular tires. That’s also true with snow tires.
Special tires have rubber formulations that are more expensive than standard tires. This formulation makes them perform well even in extreme conditions.
5. Number of Tires You Will Buy
The price of a used tire also depends on the number of tires you will buy. For instance, in-store deals usually give a special discounted price if the customer buys two tires of the same type and size instead of just one tire. You can get as much as a 10% discount if you buy two instead of one used tire.
Are Used Tires Safe?
Is it safe to buy used tires? That’s the question you probably asked yourself when you came across this article. Right off, be aware that the used tire industry in the United States is largely unregulated.
This means you have no guarantee that the used tires you are buying are safe. Some of the used tires sold on the market have evident tread wear. Others will have internal damages that you can’t see with your naked eyes.
Choose a Decent Seller
It is still safe to buy used tires – if you know what to look for. Choosing a decent seller and being wise in your selection will ensure that you will only buy safe used tires. The price of the used tire will also tell you if it is safe.
Do Not Go for the Cheapest Used Tires
There must be a reason they can sell these used tires at their dirt cheapest. That said, there is still a market for good used tires in the United States.
Around 30 Million Used Tires Are Sold in the U.S.
It will also strike your interest if you know that approximately 30 million used tires are sold in the country every year. Some of the tires sold still have 90% of their treads left. If you can have a tire with that kind of tread left at 50% off its original price, that’s quite a good deal.
Still, you can’t escape the fact that it is tough to determine whether you are seeing an abused used tire. There is no way you can know the truth about its history. You have to rely on your vision and how it looks.
Use Your Judgment and Scrutinize the Tire
Use your judgment and scrutinize the tire. If there are visible damages, move on to the next used tire. The point is: you have to inspect the used tire thoroughly before purchasing it. There’s no point in trying to save money and then buying a used tire that turns out to be useless.
Again, how much is a used tire? On average, used tires can cost around $25-$160, 30-50% lower than the tire model’s original price. Several factors affect a used tires’ price so that you can get a used tire for $55 or $85.
What to Look for When Buying Used Tires?
You need to know certain things about a used tire before putting your money in it. Don’t be like some people who look at the price and decide that they’re going to buy that used tire. You need to pay attention to the following:
1. Date Code
If you want to buy a used tire, one of the first things you need to know is its age. You can determine the age of a used tire by reading its date code. The tire’s age is located after DOT and usually has a four-digit number.
The first pair of numbers indicates the production week, while the second pair refers to the year. So, if you have a tire with a date code that says 3015, then manufacturers produced it on the 30th week of 2015.
This code is important because you are advised not to buy used tires over 8 to 10 years old. Even if the tire looks good, without any visible damage, you should stay away from it if it is more than eight or ten years old.
The reason is that the tires’ rubber compound begins to deteriorate rapidly after it reaches five to six years old. However, you can extend the life of a tire up to 10 years if you maintain and treat it well.
2. Tread Depth
You can still use a used tire if it has a minimum tread depth of 4/32 inches. The point is how you can measure this tread depth. There are several ways to check the tread depth of a tire:
Use a Tread Depth Gauge
Tire mechanics use this special gauge to check a tire’s tread depth more accurately. You can buy this in tire shops for just about $5.
Use a Penny
If you don’t have a tread depth gauge, you can use a penny. Insert it with the Lincoln head upside down in the tire’s tread. If the head is nearly above most of the tread, the tire no longer has enough miles in it.
Use a Treadwear Indicator
There should be a special bar in the grooves of the tire that are not visible if it is a brand new tire. These grooves are set at 2/32 inches, the allowable legal minimum tread. So, if you can see it, the tire has less tread left.
3. Damages and Repairs
Tires with repaired sidewalls, beads, and treads are unsafe to use. Small cuts can widen, resulting in tire failure. If there are bulges on the sidewalls, it indicates difficult-to-detect damage.
Plugs can cause loss of tire pressure and tire blowout. A tire with exposed wires could mean its tread can split from the tire itself. Other tire repairs compromise a used tire. So, it is recommended that you buy only used tires that have not undergone repair.
4. UTQG Rate
UTQG stands for Uniform Tire Quality Grading. This is a rating system that identifies certain characteristics of the tire. It defines the following things about the tire:
A number indicates this. For instance, the standard is 100, while 200 is double the standard. 80 is 20% less than the standard, and so forth. This means that a tire with a 200 index can last two times more than the standard tire.
The letters AA, A, B, and C indicate a tire’s traction. For instance, AA indicates tires that provide the best grip and braking on wet pavements.
The letters A, B, and C indicate temperature resistance:
- A: Indicates that the tire will not overheat at speeds more than 115 miles per hour.
- B: Indicates the tire will not overheat at speeds ranging from 100 to 115 mph.
- C: Tires with C grades will not overheat at speeds ranging from 80 to 100 mph.
5. Uneven Treadwear
If the tire has uneven tread wear, this indicates that the previous owner used it while it was under or overinflated, imbalanced, or with internal damage.
The car where the tire was previously mounted might have been driven at excessive speeds or could have misaligned wheels. It is also possible that the previous owner overloaded the car. A tire with uneven treadwear will not last long, and its wear patterns will remain.
6. Recall Number
A used tire can be a part of a consignment with a recall order. Since its registration was not changed after the original owner sold it, the second-hand tire shop may not know the recall.
Manufacturers recall tires due to manufacturing defects that compromise safety. So, it is better to check the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) database to see if the used tire you are thinking of buying is included in their list.
How to Buy a Used Tire
One of the risks in buying used tires is that they are not under the governments’ legal standards. Additionally, sellers use many methods to collect, inspect and re-sell them to consumers.
There are used tire sellers who are careful in their selection process and those who are not as thorough. So, if you are in the market for used tires, you should look for the following:
If the tires are nearly bald, don’t buy them.
Check the date the tire was manufactured. It should not be more than 8 to 10 years old.
Check for waviness, bumps, and other irregularities on the tire’s sidewalls.
Check if the tire has a plug, an indication of careless repair.
Check the tread for abnormalities. If you see a glimpse of a wire, the tire is unsafe.
Check the insides of the tire. Don’t buy the tire if you see exposed cords or any damage. It is dangerous to use.
Check if there are missing chunks of rubber at the bead or the part of the tire that makes contact with the car’s wheel. If there are missing chunks, completely sealing the tire is impossible, meaning the tire is unsafe.
Where to Buy Used Tires
You may be wondering how much is a used tire at Walmart? Or how much is a used tire at Discount Tire? My research on this topic showed that these two tire stores are not offering used tires. There is no information about them selling used tires.
What I discovered is that you can buy used tires in the following places:
- Specialized online stores
- Online marketplaces such as Facebook Marketplace, and others.
- Brick and mortar auto shops
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions by car owners who are thinking of buying used tires:
What Is the Average Price of a Used Tire?
On average, a used tire can cost you from $25 to $160. That is an extensive price variation because tires vary in size, type, and used conditions. But generally, you can get 30% to 50% off from the price of a brand new tire if you opt for a used tire of the same type and size.
Are Used Tires Safe to Use?
It depends on the actual physical condition of the used tire you will buy. You should be aware that the used tire industry in the United States is largely unregulated. So, if you don’t have any option but to buy used tires, inspect the used tires very carefully before buying them.
How Long Can a Used Tire Last?
Typically, a good used tire can last from two to five years. A two-year-old tire with no repairs, with even tread wear, and still has around 8/32 inch tread left is still safe to use. If you take good care of it, it can even last up to five years.
Conclusion: How Much Is a Used Tire?
On average, you can buy a used tire from $25 to $160. The price of a used tire is typically less than 30% to 50% of the cost of a new tire of the same model and size. However, the actual price depends on several factors.
There are times that you can get the same type and size of a used tire for $55 or $85. The most important thing in buying a used tire is to check if it is still safe to use thoroughly.