Buying used tires

I will probably drive my 1999 Taurus wagon for another 2 years and then scrap it. It now needs a full set of regular tires and will need a full set of snow tires. A close friend who I trust used to work for a tire dealer and checked with his old boss.

1. The dealer has a set of four used top of the line all-season Michelin radials in very good condition. But they’re 205/70R15 – not the 205/65R15 I have. Chris says it’s OK to go from 65 to 70. Is that true?

2. The shop also has four high-quality winter tires in excellent condition, but they’re two pairs, not a set of four. Chris says it’s OK to use 2-and-2 as long as I keep one pair on one axle and the other pair on the other axle. True?


Used tires generally aren’t a good idea. Twice, I’ve put used tires on a truck. Generally when I have 2 pretty much gone and 2 with a few more months of wear left in them. Generally, around here, you can buy used tires for $20 including mounting and balancing.

I don’t know why, but used tires won’t last long at all. I don’t know if they develop a memory from the rim and vehicle they were on or they are too dry rotted or what, but I’ve never had a set last long. Right now, I’ve got a set of used tires on my flatbed trailer. I put them on last fall, and don’t expect them to last till this fall. Really, it’s not worth the trouble on a car you depend on.


While many would say that it is a danger, I would say go for it. If the tires are in good shape they will be better than riding on bald tires. Also I would say go for it with the snow tires. I usually only run with two snow tires (back wheels) and 2 all-seasons (fronts). I have never had any problems with that and my difference in traction would be much greater than the difference between two types of snow tires.

One of my friend who halls wood has an old beater truck that currently has a different make of tire one each wheel; he basically just replaces them as they individually go bad with the cheapest tire he can get.

Ah, a fellow Canadian…

The difference in overall diameter between a 205/70/15 and 205/65/15 is 3.05%. I’ve heard it’s not recommended to go over a 3% difference, but I’m sure a .05 extra percent won’t matter. It’s something you’d have to be personally ok with though, if you aren’t comfortable with it, I’d wait for a good set in the stock size.

I’ve had used winter tires, different brands on the front & back (but matching pairs on each axle, like what you’re considering). It was fine, but I’m sure the best thing is to stick with the same type/brand all the way around.

I’ve personally had decent luck with used tires, but I’m sure everyone’s got different experiences. If you’re only going to keep it 2 years, I’d go with used tires. Especially since you could end up getting rid of it sooner, if a big repair came up that you didn’t feel was worth paying for.

Good luck either way.

Go for it! Both sets. You’ll do just fine.

This is Earth Day. It’s nice to know that someone is recycling good used stuff.

I would say to do it if the used tires are almost new. Those 70’s are about the same size.

Personally I would not buy used tires. But going from an aspect ratio of 65 to 70 will increase the tire diameter by less than an inch. So it’s not a big deal. Your speedometer will read a bit low though.

For the situation you’re describing you’ll be fine. has a good tire primer that includes a calculator that can tell you exactly how much difference there will be. it’s minimal, 20.5mm diameter to be exact.

Thanks all. Especially for the tip about the speedometer running low!

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