Cheap used tires can be dangerous due to hidden damage or improper repairs. There are some ways to help mitigate the risk, but most safety experts recommend buying new tires.
Used tires are dangerous because when tires age and begin to deteriorate, the process begins inside the tire where it is invisible to the average consumer. While there are some telltale signs of significant damage such as bulges, tread depth and exposed cords, other signs of deterioration are more subtle. Frayed cords are hard for the average person to detect and are often missed by technicians mounting used tires. Used tires may not have been cared for properly by their previous owner, which increases the risk of catastrophic failure. Used tires are also not registered to the new owner, which means the new owner cannot be notified if there is a safety recall.
People who still choose to buy used tires should always purchase them from a reputable dealer rather than a private seller. The tire identification number on the sidewall should be checked to determine the age of the tire. If the number is missing, the seller is likely trying to hide the tire's age. The tire should be inspected for significant punctures, uneven wear or other damage, and the tire identification number should be used to check for recalls.