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Complete Guide to Used Tires

By Tire Agent Staff

May 25, 2023


Are you looking for new tires but not sure if it’s worth the cost? If so, it’s important to understand why buying used tires can be a costly mistake. While used tires might seem like a cheaper option up front, in reality, they come with serious drawbacks that make them a poor purchase decision. 

So when it comes to deciding which type of tire to buy for your car, remember: Never settle for cheap used tires. Investing in premium-quality new tires backed by TireAgent’s fin

ancing options and manufacturers’ warranties will help ensure that your car runs safely and reliably over its lifetime — no matter what kind of roads life takes you down!

Why Buy Used Tires?

A small percentage of people might argue that reusing used tires that still have tread life on them is good for the environment. It’s true that reusing tires keeps them out of landfills, but a number of companies have found ways to repurpose rubber, including in the manufacturing of asphalt, playground surfaces and other rubber materials. You can learn more about rubber recycling from Recycling Inside, an industry newsletter for recycling industry professionals. 

The primary reason vehicle owners consider buying used tires is that the cost of used tires tends to be 30% to 50% lower than brand-new tires. Some vehicle owners reason that putting brand-new tires on a vehicle that has 100,000 or more miles doesn’t make sense. Why put new tires on a car that’s at the end of its life? In the next section, we’ll answer that question.

Why Shouldn’t You Buy Used Tires?

From compromising your safety on the road to shortening the lifespan of your car, here are six important reasons why you should never buy a used set of tires.

      1. Safety: One of the most common problems with used tires is that they are often worn out and unsafe to use. Used tires can suffer from structural damage or uneven treading — both of which drastically reduce their performance and increase the risk of accidents.
      2. Unknown history: When you purchase from a local used tires vendor, you don’t know the history of the tires. Sure, the seller can inspect them and give you a report on the treadwear; however, you don’t know if they were involved in an accident, not rotated properly, etc.  
      3. Lifespan: A major drawback of using used tires on your car is that they simply don't last very long — meaning you'll have to replace them far more frequently than new ones. This means more hassle and a lot more money spent in the long run — as well as reduced performance over time due to wear and tear on the tire.
      4. Value: It might seem counterintuitive, but spending more money on better quality new tires actually pays off in the long run — even if you finance them through With better quality rubber and reinforced sidewalls, top-tier tires provide much greater value in terms of performance and lifespan than low-grade ones—even if you pay more upfront.
      5. Fuel efficiency: The more you drive on tires, the lower your fuel efficiency. So, while you might think you are saving by buying used tires over new ones, you could be losing fuel efficiency by driving on lower-tread tires. 
      6. No warranty: Manufacturer warranties do not transfer when vehicles are sold, nor do they transfer when you buy used tires. When you purchase used tires, you’re buying at your own risk. 

Where Can You Buy Used and Resale Tires?

There are a number of places where you can find used tires for sale, including local used tire shops, junkyards, online marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace and eBay. You can also buy used tires online, but not from Tire Agent. We don’t sell anything we wouldn’t put on our families’ cars. Period. 

What About Take Off Tires?

What are take-off tires, and is it OK to buy them? Take-off tires are almost new, barely used, factory-installed tires that a car buyer doesn't want. Because some automakers put midrange tires as OE on new vehicles, it’s not uncommon for a customer to purchase upgraded tires, or negotiate upgraded tires into the purchase price. 

Some dealerships then resell takeoff tires at a discounted price. 

These tires likely have only a few miles on them, driven by test drivers and salespeople at the dealership. You may be able to find good deals on take-off tires, but the bottom line is: A used tire is a used tire. 

How to Evaluate New and Used Tires


Whether you’re buying used tires (which we don’t recommend) or new tires, being a smart shopper will help you get the most for your money. 

Here is what you should look for when buying new tires, used tires, and take-off tires:

      • Look at the sidewall of the tire and check the date code. Tires have a shelf life of 6 to 10 years. Read this article about how to interpret DOT tire codes to find out when and where the tires were made.
      • Look for cracks in the sidewalls. You know that expression “kick the tires”? You don’t need to do this, literally, but a gentle push of the thumb will reveal cracks in tires that have sat too long or are used/old. Don’t buy used tires with cracks in the rubber. 
      • Look at all sides of the tires — inside, outside, surface and bead (see this guide to tire anatomy) for evidence of patching. 
      • Check the tread depth — Learn how to use the penny test to check to see how much tread life remains of a used tire. 

Buying 1 Vs a Full Set of Used Tires

If you’re buying take-off tires from a car dealership, you may be able to get a decent set of nearly new tires. In an ideal world, when it is time to replace one tire, the smartest thing to do is replace all four. The reason is that your vehicle handles better, performs better and gets better miles per gallon when you have four equally worn tires of the same make, model and type. 

We understand this may be cost-prohibitive, which is one of the reasons we offer several payment options.


An argument could be made in favor of purchasing one used tire as a temporary replacement until the driver can afford a full set of brand-new tires. The single replacement tire functions like a temporary spare. It’s something to consider if you are waiting for new tires to come in and if you don’t have far to drive. However, you might find it safer and cheaper to rent a car for a day or two while you await your tire delivery from Tire Agent. 

Bottom line: When buying used or new tires, a full set is always preferred over a single or partial set purchase. It’s better for your vehicle’s performance and fuel efficiency.

Should You Buy Retreads?

No. You should not purchase retreads for passenger vehicles. This is a specific type of tire refurbishing that’s used in the trucking and transportation industry. They’re also known as recap tires and remolded tires. The manufacturer of retreads puts the tire through a remanufacturing process. Retreads are not intended for passenger vehicles. They work well with trailer tires in the drive and trailer positions.  

How Much Do Second-Hand Tires Cost?

According to our research, used tire prices are 30% to 50% less than brand-new tires. The cost of used tires depends on: 

      • Location
      • Initial price when new
      • Size
      • Brand
      • Tread type
      • Treadwear
      • Age
      • Alignment and care history

Vehicles that are out of alignment and tires that were not rotated and balanced properly, will wear unevenly. Read more about tire and wheel rotation, and the effects these regular maintenance tasks have on the quality and longevity of tires. 

Affordable New Tires, Alternatives to Used Tires

Tire Agent’s online store lets shoppers search for new aftermarket tires that match their vehicle’s specifications. From any page, select Shop and then enter your vehicle’s make, model, year and trim level. We’ll ask you to confirm your tire size, which we explain how to find in a separate post on reading tire sizes.

You’ll be able to filter through the tires based on a number of factors, including price. 



Main Photo 4837220 | Used Tires | Marcus Miranda | Dreamstime
Guaranteed Used Tires Photo 16391277 / Used Tires | Denys Kuvaiev |