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Buying used tires may save you money, but at what price?

LAYTON — Just because something looks good, doesn’t mean it is. That’s the lesson Layton resident Ranse Parker learned after buying four “almost new” Pirelli Scorpion tires from an online seller.

“When I went down and picked them up, they did indeed physically look like they were very nice tires that didn't have many miles on them,” he said. “Then of course, later we found out, it was the age that made these tires dangerous.”

But when Ranse's son asked the Roy Discount Tire to mount the new tires, the company refused. Discount Tire won't service anything more than 10 years old because of safety concerns.

So how old were Ranse's? More than a decade and the proof was right on the tires.

Every tire has a Department of Transportation number. In a tire made after the year 2000, that number will be four digits, two representing the week and two for the year. Ranse’s tires had just three numbers, meaning they were made before the year 2000. The date on the tire showed they were made in 1996.

Industry standards suggest you consider getting new tires between 6 and 10 years of age. Older tires are more apt to have their treads separate or disintegrate under the weight of a speeding car.

“The air tends to migrate through the tire, making it brittle, really reducing the strength of the tire,” said Mark Peterson, Roy Discount Tire store manager. “And at 10 years, even if looks good, they don't tend to be real safe, they tend to have problems.”

As for Ranse, those old tires won't be going on his truck. Discount Tires agreed to swap them out for a newer, safer set.

If you're taking a look at your tires and can't find the number, it may be facing inside. Discount Tire says it can check the date of the tires for free; other auto body shops may as well.

And keep spare tires or any trailer tires in mind.

“If you leave 'em on the trailer past about six years, you’re gonna start having separations,” Peterson said. “Trailer tires are a pretty big hazard with that regard.”