Used tire prepurchase inspection checklist

Used tires which are alternative to new ones should be bought with caution to ensure safety. They are to be properly inspected to certify them safe for use before purchase.
Last modified
11 Feb, 2024

Tire is the rubber covering on the wheel of a vehicle. It ensures easy movement and comfort. Used tires are tires that have been used for some time. The ones that should be bought are those that are still safe for use and not badly worn nor damaged.

Pre Purchase inspection is check carried out to ensure that an item is good before it is purchased.


Used tires come as saviour to many who cannot afford new tires especially the premium new tires. There are also some genuine reasons why people choose used tires over new ones. The reasons will be highlighted below.


Reasons to buy used tires over new ones.


1. They are cheaper.

They are more affordable than new ones and it is possible to get good used tires.


2. Used premium tires are often. preferable to new budget tires. This is because used premium tires are often more reliable and safe that cheap budget tires.


Where good used premium tires cannot be found, you are better off buying new tires.


Things to check before buying a used tire.


1. Brand

Check the tire brand to see that it is a quality or premium tire with good reviews. There is no sense in buying a used low budget tire.


2. Check for signs of retreading.

Some tire dealers are in the habit of illegally retreading tires with worn treads in order to make it look as if it has good tread depth. These kind of tires are very dangerous.


3. Check the age of the tire.

The age of tires are usually imprinted on the sidewall. It is indicated by DOT (Department of Transportation) number. The week and year of manufacture is represented by the last four digits. Depending on the manufacturer, tires older than between 6 and 10 years are unfit for use regardless of whether they have ever been used or not.


4. Check if there were previous repairs.

Repairs like patches can be major or minor, acceptable or unacceptable. Check round the inside of the tire by visual inspection and rubbing by hand.


5. Check condition of tire sidewall.

The sidewall of a tire can have bulges, cracks, cuts or other issues that affect the reliability of the tire.


6. Check for uneven wear.

Sign of uneven tire wear shows that the vehicle the tire was used on had misalignment issues.

7. Watchout for run-flat damage.

Check the sidewall and inner liner for damage caused by running the tire either flat or underinflated.


8. Check for dry rot.

Dry rots happen as a result of harsh environmental conditions or aging. Watchout for crazings, cracks and weathering in-between the treads of the tire and also the side walls.


9. Check the tread depth.

The standard way of checking is by using a tread depth guage. The standard is at least 1.6mm. The tread wear should also be uniform across the entire surface of the tire.


10. Ensure that all tires match.

If you are purchasing a set, ensure that the tires match in terms of brand, tread pattern, size and other ratings like maximum inflation, speed rating and so on. You may need to calculate tire sizes to get a similar size or use tire size calculators.


11. Examine the bead area.

This is the part of the tire that seats against the wheel. Check if any part of this area is cut, removed or deformed. Improper mounting is what mostly affects the bead area. A bad bead area will affect the safety and performance of the tire negatively.


12. Check for signs of chemicals or paints applied on the tire.

Some tire dealers go as far as applying chemicals or paint to make the tire look appealing. Some of these chemicals attack the rubber and reduces the integrity of the tire.


In conclusion, only buy used tires if they are safe to use and if it it legal to do so in your area.