Tires are one of those things that everyone has to buy at some point or another. People need good, safe tires on their vehicle to get to work, take kids to school, and run necessary errands. But tire prices are increasing drastically, and becoming more difficult for many hard-working people to afford.
In the last few years, used tires have grown in popularity in the Treasure Valley. There are a couple different factors contributing to this trend. A)Oil prices are on the rise, which drives up the price of "New" tires. (Did you know it takes about 7 gallons of crude oil to produce 1 average passenger tire?) B) The recession is making it more difficult for many people to afford the tires they need.
There are tire stores popping up all over the Treasure Valley that either specialize in "used tires", or offer them as an option.
Many people relate "used" tires to "junk" tires, which is understandable, but not always the case. Tires that still have a decent amount of remaining tread life, aren't too old, and have been taken care of properly can still be safe for highway use. But how would you know the difference? The majority of people wouldn't know what to look for.
Reputable tire stores inspect their used tires closely for defects, age, wear, any other safety related issues before offering them for sale. These stores generally sell what are considered "take off" tires, which refers to tires they have taken off of vehicles that have come into their store to have their tires changes. Therefore, if you buy from a 'reputable' tire store, you have a pretty good idea of where these tires come from.
On the other hand, if you buy from a "used tire store", the origin of the tires they are selling isn't always that clear. As far as you know, they could have been picked up from the side of the road, or drug out of a junkyard.
Dishonest "used tire stores" will not inspect the tires that they are selling as closely. There is also some tire stores that use a process called "regrooving", which uses a hot iron with a heated blade to renew the tread in a tire, which would otherwise not have a legal or safe amount of tread in it. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) outlawed this type of reconditioning on the federal level. The DOT Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and Regulations Part 569 states that "no person shall sell, offer for sale, or introduce or deliver for introduction into interstate commerce regrooved tires produced by removing rubber from the surface of a worn tire tread to generate a new tread pattern. Any person who regrooves tires and leases them to owners or operators of motor vehicles and any person who regrooves his own tires for use on motor vehicles is considered to be a person delivering for introduction into interstate commerce within the meaning of this part."
The fact is that there is AT LEAST one used tires store in the Treasure Valley that uses this type of illegal and unsafe reconditioning. They are putting thousands of tires on the road every year, endangering the lives of motorists all over the state.
The community needs to be aware of the dangers of these tires, and to know what to look for, and watch out for when buying used tires for their car, truck, van, or SUV.