I'm thinking about buying tires from a junkyard for my beater vehicle. It wouldn't make sense to go new because I drive this car off-road only, and also since larger A/T or M/T tires tend to be more expensive than street tires.

What are some things I should look for or look out for when buying used tires?

  • Are you looking for tires only or tires and rims? Nov 8, 2016 at 13:40

3 Answers 3


You need to make sure there is no cracks in the tire both on the tread and on the sidewall.

you should look at the date stamp on the sidewall enter image description here

ofcourse check how much tread is on it.

Look for deep cuts

Look for blisters or other strange lumps


You're going off-road so you want winter tyres or at least all season tyres, with a fair amount of profile still on it. Tyres exposed to sunlight get bad much faster, so look for a pile of tyres that isn't exposed to sunlight, or ignore the ones on top of the pile that are.

Look for tyres that have their thread pattern evenly worn, ie. don't take one that has much thread on the middle but not on the side. This tyre has been insufficiently inflated a lot. If there's only thread on the sides that means the driver has driven really fast or the tyre has been inflated too much for a long time. As @Cc Dd said, look for damage on the tyre. The date stamp doesn't necessarily say much, because it can be that the tyre is taken in use a year later than that.

When you find a tyre you like, try to deform it a bit to see if it's still in fair condition. Judge it on its flexibility, does it bend and deform easily or not. Car tyres are rather stiff because of the steel weave in it, but there's always difference in flexibility between one and another tyre.

Try to bend the side of the tyre as much as possible and check if any cracks shop up. Cracks often become visible only this way. The tyre size requirement is obvious to you, but also take speed rating in account, although you probably won't be driving that fast off-road.

Lastly, there are better and worse tyre brands and brand series. In case of off-road driving, you have to ignore every single tyre that has words like 'Eco contact' or 'Fuel save' or anything on it.


These days most standard junk yards will pull the best tires off and keep them near the front for sale. The mid quality usually get sold to the used tire stores that have popped up in near every town. So most still on the cars are the fair to junk. Any good yard operator worth any thing will be able to point you right to the tire your asking for if you sit and talk a minute with them.

The exception is in the pick or pull a part places seem to only pull high end sets. But those places tires go fast. With many going to the used tire stores.

You should be able to find the used tire stores (I know there is one in Mount Vernon area). They usually sell tires with various amount of life and price includes mounting with a bit extra for a balance.

One more place to look is asking at your areas tire store (discount, tirerack, firestone, etc). They keep the useful tread life pulls from folks that trade up on tires or change size and sell them very cheap. Again the problem is they go fast so you need to keep checking. I have found a great deal a couple of times this way.

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