Tips for Buying Second Hand Tyres

The safety of your tyre is directly related to how long it has been used for. So if you’re thinking of buying second hand tyres, remember what they could cost you. Make sure you know what the legal requirements are before considering a second hand tyre. It is an offence to drive with defective or worn tyres and you risk a fine of €80 and up to 4 penalty points upon conviction. 

We’ve put together some safety points on buying a second hand tyre. For further information on tyre safety check out the Road Safety Authority’s ‘Guide to Tyre Safety’.

  1. Check the tyre for an E-mark, an E-mark is needed for the NCT. E mark
  2. Check the tread depth, anything less than 1.6mm is illegal for use on public road. Tread depth can be measured with a depth gauge, always measure in the middle of the tyre surface, not at the edges. Tread depth
  3. Tyres also have a ‘tread wear indicator’ block set into them at a depth of 1.6mm, check this to ensure that it’s not at the same level as or lower than the tyre tread. Tread depth indicator
  4. Ask the seller if the tyre has undergone a condition check (including when inflated) to make sure it meets minimum legal requirements and is free from defects both internal and external. Common defects are tears, lumps and bulges. A tyre which is unroadworthy will result in the car failing its NCT as well as reducing your safety on the road. Examples of defects are shown below. Examples of tyre damage
  5. Ask the seller to confirm the tyre is the correct size and design for your vehicle and that it has the correct load and speed rating for the intended use. If you are unsure, check with the vehicle manufacturer or check your owner’s manual.
  6. Find out the age of the tyre and make sure it’s not more than 6 years old. A tyre that is 6 years old is ‘pass advisory’ at NCT. The age of the tyre can be determined by serial number on the tyre sidewall. It comprises of a 4 digit code which refers to the date of manufacture. The last two digits refer to the year and the first two digits refer to the week in that year, for example 2014 = 20th week in the year 2014. Age mark
  7. Be aware that there could be damage to the inside of the rubber, not visible to the eye but possible to see from an X-Ray. The seller may have an X-Ray of the inside of the tyre to show you that there is not internal damage.
  8. Be satisified that you are getting value for money. The remaining tread depth is very important and you need to consider it carefully in terms of value for money. For example, a second hand tyre costing €30 has tread depth of 3.6mm, therefore it has 2mm of useable tread before it reaches the minimum legal tread depth of 1.6mm. That works out at €15 per mm of useable tread. On the other hand a new tyre costing €80 has 8mm tread depth, therefore it has 6.4mm of useable tread before it reaches the minimum legal tread depth of 1.6mm. That works out at €12.50 per mm of useable tread.

To book a service to get your tyres checked contact our servicing department today on 01-4605250 or email