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Worst Tires to Buy: Never Buy These Tires

By Tire Agent Staff

March 01, 2024


A new set of tires for your car is a serious purchase. Doing your due diligence and researching reliable tires will be the difference between having a smooth driving experience for several years to come and having to buy a whole new set a couple of months later. At worst, poor or questionable quality tires can lead to blowouts while on the road. 

We want you and your vehicle to be as safe as possible while on the road. For this reason, we’ve compiled a list of major red flags to look out for when buying a new set of tires. Saving a hundred bucks short-term is never worth spending thousands of dollars on car repairs later on! 

Here is our list of tires you should never buy ...

Used Tires

Used tires are a very tempting purchase. The used tires may be a top tire brand but only a fraction of the price, but always assume used tires are unreliable. Our complete guide to used tires goes into more detail, but what it comes down to is reliability. You don’t know where those tires have been and how they’ve been treated. In fact, tires have a shelf life due to their rubber construction. That rubber may have dried out and become brittle while waiting to be purchased. You may only get a couple of months of use with a used tire and have to buy a whole new set again. 

Conclusion: It’s not worth the potential risk to shop for a used tire


Wrong Tire Size

In your car’s owner manual, there’s a list of recommended tire sizes for your vehicle (you can also check this on your tire placard on the driver’s side door jamb). This recommendation should always be followed when buying a new set of tires. But why? 

Tires are a lot more than just the first point of contact between your vehicle and the road. Tires affect handling, steering, and the stability of your vehicle. Having the correct surface area contact is essential so your car can operate correctly. Having wheels that are too small will have a negative impact on these aspects of driving; conversely, larger tires will affect your acceleration and fuel economy as they have more resistance between you and the road.

Conclusion: Tires not within your recommended size will have negative impacts on your vehicle’s performance.

Old Tires

We mentioned in the used tires section that tires have a shelf life. Rubber, when exposed to oxygen over time, degrades and dries out, leading to tears and cracks. Even if a tire is unused, if it’s sat in storage for a long time it probably isn’t safe to use. This is even more true in areas of the world that are particularly dry. So how do you know how old a tire is? 

A DOT number is listed on the sidewall of every tire. This code is your tire’s serial number and tells you a lot of information about it like where it was manufactured, who made it, and when. The when is what we’re looking for. Any tires that are older than 6 years, even if new, probably aren’t safe to use.  

Conclusion: Any tire older than 6 years shouldn’t be put on your vehicle



Retreading is a tire practice where the upper, worn-down part of a tire is removed and a new tread is applied so that the tire looks completely new. If there is an uneven seam between the main sidewall of your tire and the tread, or the DOT number is damaged/missing, a tire may be retread. 

Retreads come at a cost: Retreaded tires are far less reliable than a set of new tires. The outer tread may detach after prolonged use or the older, brittle rubber underneath may crack and tear. It’s difficult to tell when a retreaded tire needs to be replaced, which will lead to a sudden blowout while on the road. Retreaded tires aren’t particularly common with passenger vehicles. It’s a far more common practice with commercial vehicles like trucks or vans where the tires are much bigger.  

Conclusion: Try to spot retreaded tires before making a purchase to avoid sudden blowouts or damage

Mismatched Tires

Having mismatched tires can mean a few different things. It may refer to one or more tires being a different make than the other tires. However, it can also mean having tires that are different tread styles, sizes, and load ratings. Is this ok? 

Having mismatched tires is complicated. Basically, it can be ok to have one tire that’s not the same brand as the others, but it’s not recommended to have tires with different tread patterns. Mixing tires with different tread patterns, construction, and especially size, can lead to issues with your vehicle’s stability. 

Conclusion: Try not to mix tires when possible, but talk with a tire professional if you’re considering purchasing a mismatched tire to make sure it’s ok


Low-Profile Tire

A low-profile tire is a tire that has a shallow sidewall so that the car is closer to the ground. They’re also wider so you have more contact with the road. It’s mostly aesthetic, as the look was popularized by sports cars that seem to glide across the road. But it can also provide a minor boost to your handling and performance due to having more contact, and more grip, with the road. 

So why don’t we recommend you purchase these? Well, low-profile tires do not do well on uneven surfaces. You’ll have a very uncomfortable drive and potentially be at risk for serious damage to your wheel if you hit a bump or pothole. Low-profile tires also wear down very fast and deflate very quickly when punctured. It’s extremely likely that you’ll damage your rims if you have a low-profile tire. 

In conclusion: Low-profile tires aren’t a good choice for any cars you actually intend to drive

Best and Worst Tire Brands (Brands to Avoid)

If you're looking for a list of the best and worst tire brands, or wondering what brands of tires should you stay away from, we suggest instead shopping on a reputable website. Tire Agent carries tires from 80+ reputable tire manufacturers. Most mainstream tire brands like Yokohama, Bridgestone, Firestone, Michelin, Cooper etc. are reliable and safe to purchase. However, the quality of some unknown and obscure tire brands can be iffy. If a manufacturer can’t guarantee the quality of a tire, we never list it on our store; we would never sell you a tire we wouldn’t put on our own vehicles. 


Tires with Recalls

Like any other mass-produced product, some manufacturers will issue mass recalls of certain types of tires if there is a known defect or issue. You can check any active recalls at NHTSA.GOV, where you can search brands or tire lines by keywords. 

This site also allows you to search for active complaints over specific tires. A complaint doesn’t always mean a tire has a defect and you shouldn’t use it, but it’s good to be aware of what other people are saying about a tire before you buy it.

Photo 56917841 | Raquel Liz Lopez |