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Buying Used Tires And Wheels

Avoid blowouts and wobbling

Pete TrasborgPhotographer, Writer

Used tires and wheels are a great way to save a buck -- whether you are doing it to make time until you lift your Jeep, or to try a new look, or to test tire fitment of a different size. Heck, even if only because you are a cheapskate like us and prefer to save the cash, there is a lot that can be saved here rather than going new every time. We’ve been playing this game for years now, and there are a lot of things that no one ever tells you until you’ve already made your tire or wheel purchase. Well, having been there and done that enough times that we almost swore off cheaping out a few times, allow us to take you on a virtual purchase of used tires and wheels so that you can avoid making some of the same mistakes we have over the years.

If you don’t drive your Jeep on the road -- or don’t drive it over walking speed -- then where the rubber meets the road probably doesn’t matter for you. For everyone else, here are some things to pay attention to:

- Tread depth
- Dry rotting
- Weird tread wear
- Chunking
- DOT date code
- Strange discoloration
- Bead separation (if you can get inside the tire)
- Warts, dips, or wrinkles (if you can’t get inside the tire)
- Sidewall damage

The only thing worse than a blowout at speed (which a bad wheel can contribute to) is losing the entire tire and wheel while driving down the road. Nothing compares to that feeling of recognizing your own tire and wheel passing you, right before your Jeep’s brakes hit the pavement, hopefully not leading to a barrel roll. For both reasons, check your potential new-to-you wheel purchases for the following:

- Straightness
- Abuse
- Damaged lug nut holes
- Rust
- Cracks
- Dings and dents
- Overall appearance
- Beadlock hardware condition