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Consumer Reports' take on used tires: They're deemed "unsafe at any speed'

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YONKERS, N.Y.Consumer Reports (CR) magazine has waded into the debate about used tires, calling them “unsafe at any speed.”

Citing recent legislation crafted in Florida and Texas to regulate the sale of used tires, CR noted in a press release that used tires are gaining traction in some states, “but consider them unsafe at any speed.”

The magazine said that “in this tough economy, buying a used tire at the fraction of the cost of a new one is attractive and may even seem like a reasonable solution for replacing worn-out tires. But it is not.”

The magazine said that states “face a challenge of getting 'unsafe' used tires out of the marketplace, but that goal just leads to a less-bad solution.” The guidelines defining unsafe tires “seem like common-sense directives, with sellers having to inspect tires for exposed damage, including cuts, bulges and improper repairs,” it said.

“Retailers may go through this process, but a lot of used tires are sold by individuals online who may not inspect the tires at all.”

Mentioning a previous CR article—”Buying used tires can save you money, but are they too risky?”—the magazine said its take on the subject “is that it's never a good idea to buy used tires.

“Even if the tire looks like new, it could have hidden damage resulting from abuse in its previous service life, or could have been sitting in the trunk of a car for years and simply aged beyond it useful life.”

For piece of mind, CR advised, “always consider buying new tires. Prices vary significantly among the various models out there and by retailer, so shop around. Also, ask the retailer what the total cost of the tire is including installation.

“Often you can get free mounting and balancing if you buy four tires at a time—something you are not likely to get when buying used. Likewise, buying new ensures the retailer will take the old rubber and properly recycle it, saving you a step and potential hassle.”

The magazine added that consumers should “err on the side of safety, and consider used tires for sale to be unsafe at any speed.”

This report first appeared on
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