WINTER TIRES

Used winter tire purchases must be approached with caution: expert

‘It’s extremely important that people know what they are getting themselves into,’ says Kijiji seller

Some Nova Scotians are turning to online marketplaces to buy used winter tires.
Some Nova Scotians are turning to online marketplaces to buy used winter tires.   Alexander Quon

Winter is coming, and for many Nova Scotian drivers that means buying a new set of tires to get through the snowy season.

With a new set of winter tires costing around $400 plus installation, many people are buying used.

Steve Maltais is one Nova Scotian selling a set of used winter tires on Kijiji, an online website specializing in classified ads.

He spent much of his adult life working in the automotive industry and although he’s bought and sold items on Kijiji before, this is the first time he’s tried selling used tires online.

“They’re in really good shape, we only used them for one season,” he said. “The reason why we’re getting rid of them is that we ended up selling [our] car and on the car we bought the tires don’t fit.”

Maltais said rather than just tossing the tires away he thought somebody else could use them. That’s when he created an ad on Kijiji.

Steve Maltais decided to turn to Kijiji to sell his set of used winter tires.
Steve Maltais decided to turn to Kijiji to sell his set of used winter tires.   Alexander Quon

As of Monday, he hasn’t sold the tires, but for him that isn’t what’s important. He wants people to know that finding the right tire on Kijiji isn’t easy.

“It’s extremely important that people know what they are getting themselves into,” he said. “Because often or not people don’t, and it can lead to something terrible happening.”

Expert agrees with caution

Bernie Jurcina is a member of the NSCC’s faculty of automotive service and repair. He has bought used tires online before and says that it’s not dangerous to buy used tires – as long as you keep one thing in mind.

“If you are going to buy used stuff you have to do your homework,” he said.

Maltais agreed, but added that if you’re buying online you shouldn’t be viewing used tires as a long-term solution.

“You say, ‘Look, I need to get through the next couple months, I need tires,’ and then you can budget a little more properly,” he said

Jurcina said that if you do buy online, there are a couple steps you can take to make sure you get your money’s worth.

“You’d want to measure the tread depth, then you can go online and look up the specifications for the tires, “ he said. “Knowing that, you can figure out how much is left.”

Jurcina says that the next thing you should check is the age of the tire. That can be found on the sidewall of the tire.

“Anything over four years is old in a snow tire, it would have to have an awful lot of tread left on it and it would have to be fairly inexpensive for me to even look at it,” he said.

However, Jurcina says that the safest tire you can buy will be a brand new one.

“That is where your best performance is going to be, your best traction,” he said. “But it’s going to cost you.”

N.S. government recommends winter tires 

Mike Croft is the manager of traffic engineering and road safety for the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation. He told SignalTV reporter Sara Ericsson that while it is not mandatory for Nova Scotians to own winter tires, over 80 per cent of drivers in the province already have winter tires on their vehicle.

“We recommend that once the temperature goes below 5 C on a regular basis, that’s the time to put them on,” he said.

According to figures from the Nova Scotia government, over 80% of drivers have winter tires.
According to figures from the Nova Scotia government, over 80 per cent of drivers have winter tires.   Alexander Quon

Maltais says he is a firm believer that everyone should have a set of winter tires. His view is influenced by family members that live in Quebec, the only province that makes it mandatory to own winter tires.

“They say that they just feel a lot safer knowing that everybody has winter tires on. You don’t know when you’re driving around here,” said Maltais.

But he knows that not everyone can afford a set of new winter tires, which is why finding the right tire on Kijiji is so important.

“You got four pieces of rubber that when you are driving are going to keep you on the road,” he said. “Those four rubber tires are extremely important and you need to make sure they are safe.”

With files from Sara Ericsson