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Buying used winter tires off a parked vehicle

I have a 97 Civic that needs new Winter tires.

Our neighbor has a 97 Escort that’s been sitting idle (never moved, winter or summer) in their driveway for the last 3 years…but has what visually seems to be a very nice set of Good Year winters on it.

The candidate tires are fully inflated…but the car literally hasn’t moved an inch in 3 years. I know the rims will fit the Civic.

My neighbor will let me have them for a song - but I’m more concerned about potential safety. Does the winter tire rubber “go bad”, or the tire somehow flatten out? Educate me, car talkers!!


You need to get the serial numbers off each tire and see how old they really are. Here’s how:

p.s. - how do you know the rims are correct for your Civic? That’s quite a coincidence!

I just looked up replacement wheels on tire rack, and he’s exactly right, they are the same:


Offset: 35mm Backspacing: 5.35" Bolt Pattern: 4-100 Rec. Tire Size:195/55-15


Offset: 35mm Backspacing: 5.35" Bolt Pattern: 4-100 Rec. Tire Size:195/55-15

That is one heck of a coincidence.


If they’ve been sitting in the sun for three years, I’d pass.

Are you sure about that. Everything I’m looking at says that the Escort and Civic have 14 inch wheels, but the tire sizes are indeed the same. Anyway, I wouldn’t buy used tires, but that’s just me.

I was more wondering about bolt pattern and offset - that’s some good luck for the OP!

Your life depends on those tires…start out with new ones…

They’re probably fine for now, but just in terms of rubber rot, they’ve probably only got another season or two left on them. I’d second Texases’ idea of checking the DOT number, but if they were reasonably new three years ago, and they’re cheep with a capital C, I’d say it’s okay to use 'em. Just keep a very close eye on them.

If the vehicle hasn’t moved on 3 years, the tire are absolutely flatspotted - and permanently so. You may be able to drive out SOME of the flat spot, but you will never drive out ALL of it.

I recommend against this.

Run Away !

So Pat, have you checked out how old the tires are?

The bolt pattern and offset are the important factors.
The actual wheel size truly doesn’t mean anything.

As a comparison, the '08 Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry, and Hyundai Sonata all use the same bolt pattern and offset, too.


Tires are 2004. Car literally hasn’t moved an inch since 2008 or so…you folks have successfully talked me out of this one. Thanks for the advice!