Monday, October 31, 2011

2nd hand Tyres ! Pros and Cons

With the rising price of commodities, tyres too are not exempted from the laws of economics. When there is abundant supply, prices are cheap; however, this is not the case in Malaysia, where tyres are relatively expensive. A set of 17 inch standard 215/45/17 cost approximately USD$500 or RM300-400 per set new. For 18 inch and above, the price is even more expensive. 18 inch tyres generally cost roughly double of a 17 inch tyre. This makes the prices of 2nd hand very tempting. The same set of 215/45/17 2nd hand tyres cost roughly RM400! 

Available treads are usually 60-80% upon inspection. However, one must be careful about these 2nd hand tyres, as the tyres may be retreaded. When tyres are bald, say 40 percent tread left, what the sellers may do is to dig into the old tread and make the "holes" deeper, thus enabling it to have "more" treads. Finished off with a nice tyre polish, they can appear to be relatively new! This can be dangerous as the thickness of the tyre decreases, and becomes thinner. At high speed, the pressure build up within the tyre may cause it to burst. Another method is to add a new layer of rubber (tread). The risk of this is that the rubber may disintegrate from the tyre itself at high speed.

This is one the reasons lorries and trucks seem to burst their tyres quite frequently. Usually, these tyres cost A LOT, and trucks can use up to 18 of them ;) To save cost, they will use retreaded or 2nd hand tyres... and well its a risk they have to take! 

For a summary, here are the pros and cons:

Cheaper! Usually up to 1/4 percent of the cost
Great for short journeys
Can be used for drifting
Get better tyres (can be safer if you manage to source for a good set of 2nd hand tyres)
Environmental friendly in a way (recycling)

If it is retreaded, may be dangerous
Different tyre wear may occur (e.g. left side 80% tread, right side 50% tread)
Can have less grip compared to new tyres
Uncertainty in terms of the durability

When buying 2nd hand tyres, always look at the inside to make sure it is not retreaded. Usually those tyres which are retreaded will much thinner, and you can observe the insides which can be greyish. Also look out for the year the tyres are made, generally 3-5 years old is "acceptable".