Are Second Hand Tyres Worth the Risk?

Last updated 17/06/2021

Oh, damn. You’ve punctured a tyre and your spare won’t stand up to long term driving. Although your wheels are in need of some new rubber in order to be roadworthy, you may be worried about the initial financial outlay - sometimes, second hand tyres are better, right? Not necessarily.

Sure, it may seem like we have a horse in this race, but let’s look at the risks associated with cheap second hand tyres (and the expensive ones too) before you dive into making a potentially dangerous decision. We know the use of the word dangerous may be alarming, but at the end of the day, we care about your safety on and off the road. Second hand tyres are dangerous.

What are second hand tyres?

Second hand tyres have been around the block already, often travelling thousands of kilometres before appearing on sales pages with strategically framed photography online. While this may seem like a good thing - you know the product lasts - what you can’t predict is where a tyre is at in its lifespan. Can the supplier comfortably prove the tyre they’re about to sell didn’t come from a different country, where compulsory safety standards either differ wildly from our own or don’t exist at all? It may sound far-fetched, but a 2017 study discovered that 97% of part worn tyres are solid illegally and 34% hid life threatening issues. That’s a high price on saving a few bucks on a cheaper tyre!

So, should you trust a second hand tyre?

We recommend against buying used tyres from people you do or don’t know. Preloved tyres sound like a good idea in theory - environmentally friendly, light on the wallet and relatively easy to find on social media marketplaces, but here’s the don’t know the full story. Even if you trust the seller and you’re aware of their driving record, there are some issues that escape the untrained eye - even experienced mechanics need a little technological help sometimes, as certain defects require the use of specialised instrumentation to detect the full extent of the damage! While you may take home a perfectly ordinary tyre today, it could be the cause of an otherwise avoidable accident not long down the line.

Second Hand Tyre Risks

  • Short and/or unpredictable lifespan
  • High probability of invisible defects
  • Probability of life-threatening issues
  • Reduced tread depth

How to assess second hand tyres for damage

You’re sure you’ve found a seller you can trust. Maybe your parents have agreed to sell you their backup on the cheap, until you can sort something long term out for yourself. Or perhaps you’ve done your research and you’re certain you’ve found a reputable dealer. If you really must have a second hand tyre, be aware of the following checklist. Ideally, any one of the following symptoms should trigger an automatic pass from you.

Does the tyre show signs of surface wear or damage? Look for:

  • Cuts
  • Cracks
  • Blisters
  • Bulges
  • Reduced tread depth

Does this seem like a brief list for the 30 different components of an average tyre? We think so too. Not all damage can be seen and not all damage is evident upon visual inspection - without professional presale testing, you can’t be sure of the structural integrity of the tyre. When it comes to wheels and tyres, you can only rely on the experts.

How long should tyres last, anyway?

Maybe something is wrong with your original tyre before its time; it happens. While tyre longevity varies dramatically from lifestyle to lifestyle - weekend adventurers may experience a higher rate of wear next to solely suburban or city drivers - most people get around 2-3 years out of their tyres or around 40,000km in distance. Some may be a little more, others a little less, but you should be replacing your rubber every few years, according to the needs of your car. If you’re not sure how long your other tyres have left, get in touch with your local mycar.

Where can you find affordable tyres for sale online?

New tyres don’t need to be expensive. We’ve made it simple to buy tyres online Australia wide, ensuring the rubber you need gets delivered to either your doorstep or your chosen mycar centre where our tyre specialists will dress your wheel in the new rubber it deserves after wobbling around on a spare. Budgets, sizes, types, lifestyle, makes and models, find the tyre that suits your needs with the help of our tyre matching tool - although we don’t deal in used tyres, you’ll be able to afford our suggestions!

What if you don’t have enough to cover the upfront cost? Zip Pay tyres are the way to go - you get what you need to be safe on the road ASAP and the price is distributed across easy to manage instalments, according to your budget.

Say no to second hand: How to recycle your tyres

While second hand tyres do not belong on our roads, we hate to see redeemable rubber going to waste at a tip or dumped somewhere, doing nothing. Once you’re finished with your old tyre we can recycle it for you, ensuring the materials go into making new tyres, play equipment, surfacing and other basics we take for granted, or you can approach councils or daycare centres and donate your used tyre to the imaginations of the next generation. If you’re feeling handy, you could always tackle our DIY tyre sandpit for the kids on the weekend.

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