Buying tires - 5 Things to Watch Out

When buying secondhand (used) tires either from a tire shop or an online auction site its important that you are aware of the following 5 issues. You can then ask the right questions and make sure you don't end up with a tire purchase that leaves you and your wallet feeling deflated!

1. Sizing
People get confused by tire sizing and it is no wonder really - its pretty bizarre. The basic tire size is made up of 3 measurements and if one of them isn't mentioned you should not assume what it is - it pays to check.

Width - this is the section width of the tire for example a 195/70 R14. This means the tire is 195 millimeters across the width of the tire.

Profile - The sidewall height is represented as a percentage of the width so a 195/70 R14 means that the sidewall or profile height of the tire is 70 percent of the width. Often the profile is not mentioned and that normally means that the tire is a standard 82 or so percent. Never assume though as this is a common misunderstanding that can occur when buying used tires. There is nothing worse than buying something that simply does not fit - ask the person selling the tire to read you all the numbers on the sidewall to make sure!

Rimsize - The other number mentioned is the Rim size in this case a 195/70 R14 has a Rim size of 14 inches.

2. Rubber Cracking or Perishing
A good thing to check when purchasing a second hand tire is for any perishing or cracking of the sidewall and tread rubber. It is wise to give the sidewall a good flex and make sure there are no cracks or chords visible. It is normal to have very fine surface perish lines if the tire is not brand new however make sure they are no more than that.

3. Lumps Bumps and Repairs
If buying a secondhand tire it is prudent to ask if there are any obvious repairs that have been done to the tire. Although if a repair has been done properly there should be no issues if there are any problems with the repair moisture and air could have seeped into the casing of the tire which could potentially cause issues further down the track. No repairs is great!

4. Uneven Wear or Scalloping
Sometimes the tires you are looking at may be unevenly worn due to an alignment or suspension problem with the vehicle the tires were previously on. Although they may still be structurally sound for ideal driving I would recommend that tires with even tread wear are purchased. Also if there is any scalloping of the tread road noise and poor handling are potentially going to be a problem.

5. Type of Tire
Its important to either ask (if you are buying off EBay) or check yourself if you can for that the tire you are buying is not for example a snow tire - sometimes it can be hard to see from a photo on an auction site but the tires you are buying may have a snow or off road type of tread which will result in extremely poor handling and traction on the TAR seal. It is important to make sure that if you are looking for tires on the road alone - which, incidentally, eventually buying.

It is important to be polite, as you can buy hand your life depends on a literal, so do not be afraid to ask many questions, and make sure that your purchase of used tires are safe and cheap!

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