The Rubber Manufacturers Association cautions that used passenger and light truck tires that have an uncertain or unknown history pose a potential risk. This pertains to used tires purchased as replacement tires or as equipped on a used vehicle. Used tires may have been exposed to improper service, maintenance or storage conditions and may have been damaged, which could eventually lead to tire failure.
RMA has a tire industry service bulletin that lists a series of conditions under which a used tire should never be installed on a vehicle. Those conditions include:
- Any punctures or other penetrations, whether repaired or not. NOTE: This is not meant to preclude the proper repair of a tire installed on a consumer’s vehicle when the consumer is aware of the tire’s history.
- Any innerliner or bead damage.
- Indication of internal separation, such as bulges or local areas of irregular/fast treadwear indicating possible tread or belt separation.
- Indication of run-flat, under inflated and/or overloaded damage (e.g. innerliner abrasion, mid- to upper sidewall abrasion and stamping deterioration, delamination, or discoloration, excessive tread shoulder wear, etc.).
- Any damage or wear exposing the body material of the tire — cuts, cracks, bulges, scrapes, ozone cracking/weather checking, impact damage, punctures, splits, snags, etc.
- Defaced or removed DOT tire identification number (TIN), which is located on the tire sidewall.
- Involved in a recall or a replacement program.
- Inadequate tread depth for continued service (i.e. nearly worn out). Tires with a tread depth of 2/32” or less at any point on the tire are worn out.
- Currently mounted on a rim that is bent, dented, cracked or otherwise damaged.
- Evidence of improper storage.
- Chemical, fire, excessive heat damage, or other environmental damage.
- Designated as a “scrap tire” or otherwise not intended for continued highway service.
- Evidence of prior use of tire repair sealant.
- Altered to look like new tires (e.g. a regrooved tread).
- Labeled on the sidewall as “Not For Highway Use,” “NHS,” “For Racing Purposes Only”, “Agricultural Use Only”, “SL” (service limited agricultural tire), or any other indication that the tire is barred from use on public thoroughfares.
Below you will find resources that can help you learn what you need to know about used tires.