What should you do when one of your tires unexpectedly fails? If you're like most people, you will want to look for the most cost-effective option that keeps your vehicle safe and road-ready. While repairing a damaged tire is often the cheapest option, not every tire is repairable. Unfortunately, a tire damaged beyond repair will always require replacement to keep your car safe.
Of course, purchasing a new tire isn't cheap, and it can be particularly painful when your damaged tire is already relatively new. In these cases, a used tire can be an excellent way to save cash and get your car back on the road quickly. However, these three tips will help you save even more money by ensuring you maximize the value of your new (to you) tires.
1. Look for Matching Tires
When replacing a tire on your car, keeping pairs of the same tire on the same axle is important. In other words, you shouldn't mix tires left to right on your front or rear axles, but it's less of an issue to mismatch tires front and rear. If you're replacing a single tire, try to find a used tire that matches the good tire on the other side of the same axle.
Tread depth is another characteristic you'll want to match when possible. The good news is that tread matching is much easier. A tire shop can shave either your new tire or your existing tire (whichever has more tread) so that the tread depth between the two remains relatively even. Matching tread depths will help keep your handling consistent.
2. Buy in Pairs
If you can't find a matching tire, it's usually a better and safer option to replace the tire on the other side of the same axle. Fortunately, used tires will usually save you enough money that replacing both tires may still be cheaper than buying one brand-new tire. It's also more cost-effective since you won't be wasting money by shaving tread from a fresh tire.
Although it's not strictly necessary to match the tires on the other axle, you'll still want to stay within the same category. For example, if you're replacing a damaged front tire with all-season tires on your car, you'll want your used pair also to be all-season tires. Avoid mismatching categories, as this can lead to unpredictable handling.
3. Consider Tread Depth
Should you always buy a used tire with as much tread as possible? Not necessarily. The best approach is closely matching the tread depth on your other good tires. There's no sense in spending more money on a tire with 75% tread depth remaining if your other tires only have 50% tread depth or less. While you can always shave away the excess, that "extra" depth may mean wasting money.
By following these tips, you can save even more money on your used tires, allowing you to get your car on the road with as little frustration and expense as possible.
Contact a used tire dealer for more information.