Tips for Buying Second Hand Tyres

Posted by Motorama in Buyer Advice

We often get the question;if we sell second hand tyres to save on the price of new ones. Though it isn’t illegal to sell part-worn tyres and plenty of tyre shops do, we refrain from it.

Let us explain why it isn’t safe to try and save money by buying a set of tyres that someone else has swapped out or that have come from a written off vehicle.


Tyres in Australia need to have at least 1.5mm (new tyres have between 6-8mm of tread depth) of tread across the tyre to be considered roadworthy; unless they have wear indicators set at a higher level in which case that higher wear level applies. Unless a tyre has been specified as suitable for re-cutting or re-grooving, it can’t be.

Before a tyre can be sold in Australia it must meet ADR23 guidelines but this doesn’t detail the use of second-hand tyres. And while most road transport associations around the country will advise car owners to check the age of the tyres on their vehicle, or the age of the second-hand tyre they’re buying, they don’t suggest at what point the tyre should be rejected.

That’s because it depends on so many things, like what part of the country the tyres come from (somewhere hot or cold), how long have they been sitting around for, have they been stacked somewhere out in the elements, and so on. While in some countries there’s a requirement that the second-hand tyre should be clearly labelled as part-worn, there’s no such requirement in Australia.

Why Buy Used Tyres?

It’s almost impossible to make a case for buying second-hand, part-worn or used tyres in Australia.Tyres are becoming cheaper, especially since the arrival of tyres from ‘new’ Asian brands, forcing premium brands to introduce budget-friendly rubber.

Some will argue that budget is the main reason for buying a set of used tyres. But this is likely a false economy.Used tyres won’t last as long as new tyres and so you’ll end up replacing them more often and spend more in the long run. And, unless you know the back-story of the tyres, and even if you do, you’re risking the safety of you, your family or someone else’s.

More than that, you’re buying something with a reduced safety profile and that really does make no sense at all. With less tread across your tyre’s face and shoulders, you’re reducing your car’s grip in both the dry and wet. A test between new and used tyres by the UK’s TyreSafe, revealed drastically increased wet road braking distances from around 90km/h.A new tyre with 8mm of tread stopped in 25.9m while the used tyre with just 1.6mm of tread took 37.8m to stop.

Should You Buy Used Tyres

While most sellers of part-worn tyres will tell you the things have been thoroughly inspected by experts, the truth is that the majority probably haven’t. In the UK, for instance, part-worn tyres being sold need to have passed a barrage of tests, like an inflation test, have their structural integrity assessed, carry a minimum of 2mm of tread, and be marked as Part Worn. That’s not the case in Australia.

In fact, there is virtual silence on this issue in Australia with none of the checks on part-worn tyres that are required in other countries. That said, if you’re caught driving with tyres below the minimum tread depth then you can be issued with a defect notice which, depending on where you live can cost more than $100 per tyre and usually a loss of one demerit point per defective tyre.

So, with none of the checks on part-worn tyres in this country that you get in others, the potential safety risk to you or someone else, and the financial cost too (part-worn tyres aren’t cheaper in the long run) it’s not worth buying a second-hand tyre. Instead, visit your local Motorama Tyre & Service for the best price on a set of new tyres.

Motorama have one of the largest selections of quality pre-owned cars for sale in Brisbane. If you are in the market for a second hand car, we will have the right car for you. We stock cars across all price ranges starting for under $10,000, at our convenient dealer locations in Moorooka, Springwood and Browns Plains.

We specialise in all things auto, and only stock the best quality cars from brands including Toyota, Mitsubishi, Holden, Ford, Nissan, Hyundai, Kia, Honda, Subaru, Volkswagen, Mazda, BMW and many more.

Search pre-owned stock

 Motorama Million Dollar Buying Drive

We're holding our biggest ever buying drive - and we want your car!

We're going on a buying drive for your trade-in vehicles: if you're thinking of upgrading your car, moving overseas or downsizing, bring your car to us for a no-obligation quote.

You can go home with money in the bank or if you do decide to trade in, you can browse our new and demo cars or hundreds of pre-owned cars.

Value My Car