Tyre tread wear
Tread wear is the key thing to inspect. If the tyre has hardly been used, then you should get plenty of mileage from it. But if the shoulders are worn, or there’s uneven tread, then who’s to say you won’t be coughing up again in a few months when your car fails its MoT because the tyres are worn out?
New tyres have 8mm of tread on them, while most outlets and safety organizations recommend replacing your tyres when there’s 3mm of depth left. Anything less than this isn’t worth working with, and even if there’s more tread than this, if it isn’t evenly worn across the tyre it’s best to look elsewhere.
Tyre sidewall damage
If the tread is fine, it’s time to check the sidewalls. If the tyres have come off a car that has been involved in an accident (again, how do you know if they have or haven’t?), then there’s a high possibility that the tyres may have been damaged in the incident. Perhaps bodywork has come into contact with the tyre or lateral forces have damaged the sidewall’s construction.
Another issue is with repaired tyres. If a tyre has suffered a puncture caused by a nail, screw or other sharp object piercing the tread, then it can be repaired with a plug of rubber that seals the tread against leaks.
There’s nothing wrong with these repairs, but where the tread has been punctured, there will be damage to the belts that help the tyres retain their shape. Some tyres are unable to be repaired, and those that are may be limited in their maximum speed rating. Again, check the interior carcass of the tyre for damage. If you’re being thorough, then it’s probably worth walking away from tyres that have any kind of damage to them, either inside or out.
Should you buy part-worn tyres?
The reality is that part-worn tyres are a gamble, even in the best-case scenario. With unknown history and the potential for failure, you could be taking your life and that of others into your own hands. What could be a potential saving in the short-term could pay back dearly in the future.
Part-worn tyres – top buying tips:
1. Buy from a reputable seller.
2. Find out as much as you can about the history of the tyre.
3. Look for top brand tyres.
4. Buy in tyres in pairs so the tyres on each axle of your car match.
5. Check the tread depth and look for uneven wear.
6. Check the tyre carcass inside and out for any damage or repairs.
7. If in any doubt, don’t buy.