You've probably seen used car tire piles along the side of the road at some point. But should you purchase a used tire to save money and will it hold up as long? Most people opt for new tires, but some look to used tires as a way to save money.
Consider the fact that some retailers have deals where you buy three tires and you get the fourth free. You may not necessarily need to replace that fourth tire, but you do because it's free. Used tires that are only slightly worn, like in this situation, may be a good option to save a little money.
The flip side is purchasing an old or worn out tire that isn't safe. Used tires may have defects, punctures or tread-wear you may or may not be able to see. When considering purchasing a used tire you can test the depth of the tread by using a penny. Simply flip the penny upside down and place it inside each of the tire's tread grooves. If the top of Lincoln's head can be seen from any of the grooves then the tread is too low [source: Consumer Reports].
If the tread is still good, you still need to inspect the tire for any defects. This may be difficult and some problems may not be noticeable until the tire is on the vehicle. Purchasing a used tire that has already been plugged or patched may save money, but is not a good idea. Worn tires will not stop as fast and will be more likely to skid on wet surfaces [source: Consumer Reports].
New tires will come with some type of guarantee or warranty that a used tire will not have. If you want a little piece of mind that your tires are in the best condition possible, buy new ones.
Go on to the next page to find out about how long you can expect your new tires to last.