Used Tires

Used tires many times gets a bad rep. Just because they say that they are used, does not mean that they are used up. In fact, quite the opposite. They are, more times than not, just as good as new. The only real difference is age and price.

This cheaper option could be expensive if one does not know what to look for in the used tires. Some authorities discourage used tires due to safety concerns, but if the old tire if properly examined, it can be as safe as the new one. This guide will show you how to go about the process without compromising on safety. The sure way of buying a safe used tire is to physically examine the various parts as laid down in this guide.

Tread Depth

The groove patterns on the outer surface of the tire are commonly known as the tread patterns. These grooves help in expelling water at the point where the tire gets into contact with the road to avoid a sliding effect known as hydroplaning. The minimum depth of the groove for safe operation on tarmac should not be less than 1.6mm. This depth can be measured accurately using a tread gauge. Different types of road surfaces require different types of tires and tread depth so it is prudent to ensure you have the correct tread depth for your application. If in doubt, refer to the manufacturer’s manual.

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Tread Wear Patterns

Used tires that are still in good condition should have even tread wear. Having a tire with uneven wear means it will not sit flat on the road surface leading to a low surface area at the contact point. Tires with worn treads on one side should not be used. Tires with a rectangular patch of the worn surface leads to difficulties in wheel balancing and should be avoided.

Patches and Plugs

Patches and plugs that are used on punctures should be examined to ascertain their quality. To check for patches, you need to examine the interior surface of the tire for any section that looks different from the others. Plugs are much easier to locate. While a good repaired tire can still be used, it is not easy to tell how good the repair job was done. It is therefore wise to avoid any tire with patches or plugs.

Sidewall Damage

The whole side wall should be examined starting from the bead area all the way to the tread. A worn bead area where the tire and the wheel meet prevent proper air seal. The entire side wall should be smooth without any visible cuts on both the inner and outer surface. No wires should be visible at any point. Finally, examine the section between the side wall and the tread for belt separation. Any sign of the rubber separating from the steel belts is a red flag.

Although these are the main things to look for, any tire that seem unsafe from a general appearance should be avoided. Tires that seem to have been sitting around for a long time in direct sunlight are not safe either as they tend to crack. If examining a particular part proves to be difficult, inflating the tire can be of great help. This will bring out unseen defects such as tiny punctures.