The Bettertyres team keeps hearing stories of people buying “cheap” secondhand tyres from budget tyre shops in outlying suburbs. The storyline usually being along the lines of “we put new cars on the car this year but they are already worn out”. Further discussion usually reveals that they were “Warrant of Fitness Specials” costing $30 to $40 each fitted on the vehicle. This sounds like a great bargain but these tyres, often off accident damaged vehicles, often only have 2 to 2.5 mm of tread meaning the vehicle owner will only get 2000 to 5000 kms out of them.
So we decided to do launch an investigation into the WOF tyre situation around Auckland and made phone calls and personal calls on some of the usual suspects. And sure enough, these guys had big stocks of low quality worn tyres that reputable tyre retailers would have shredded. The tyres tended to suffer from very poor presentation, many had evidence of wheel alignment damage and had tread ranging from .5 mm to 3mm. Due to wheel alignment damage, some tyres on sale had almost no tread left on one side of the tyre but are still marginally legal due to the WOF requirement that only 75% of a tyre needs to have legal tread. Other tyres had tread that was severely scuffed due to rough driving or accident damaged and others had damaged sidewalls. Also other tyres must have had flat spots consistent with panic braking during accidents.
Prior to the virtual cessation of Second hand tyre imports from Japan, there was a steady supply of high quality part worn tyres which were imported by reputable operators and at least some of them tested each tyre for quality and safety. Now the New Zealand tyre market is mostly reliant on a few poor quality and over priced imports or tyres that have been “rescued” locally from car wreckers yards and panel beaters etc.Worse than that, there are operators reselling worn out tyres taken off other customers cars after they have bought new tyres.
Aside from all the safety ramifications, there is the question of value for money. A good quality brand new 175 65 14 tyre can be fitted to a vehicle for $95.00 inc gst, fitting, balancing and disposal of the old tyre. Assumming a mileage of 45,000 to 66,000, that tyre would cost approx $0.00172 per km which really is great value. But a worn tyre as described above, would cost $.0087! The worn tyre is 800 times more exspensive per kilometer!
So poor quality Secondhand tyres are a poverty trap and are massively more expensive and less safe than good quality new tyres.