South Carolina has no regulations for selling used tires, but that could soon change.

Robert Kittle

breaks down a bill that, if approved, would define what’s unsafe — and it’s something you can use to check your own tires.

South Carolina would ban the sale of unsafe used tires under a bill scheduled to come up for a vote in a House committee Tuesday. The bill defines “unsafe” and imposes a fine of up to $500 for every violation.

Sponsor Rep. Gary Simrill, (R) Rock Hill, says he knows a lot of people can’t afford new tires and thinks used ones are a viable option, but he’s disturbed that there are no regulations in place to try to ensure that the used tires you may buy are safe. And it’s something that may affect you even if you never buy used tires.

“If a tire blows and the person next to you or coming towards you in the opposite lane, if they have a blowout and lose control of that vehicle, unfortunately it’s not just that person and what they did that’s impacting, it’s the collateral damage, and consequences are obviously dire,” he says.

Bianca Bowes bought two used tires Monday in Columbia and says she always buys used to save money. “Used tires don’t really bother me at all because I’ve gotten them so many other places beforehand and they’ve never done me wrong,” she says. But she thinks it’s a good idea for lawmakers to put some regulations in place to make sure the used tires that are sold are as safe as possible.

The bill defines “unsafe” as the following:

  • A tire with a tread depth of 2/32nds of an inch or less on any part of the tire. You can check your tread depth using a penny. Put it into a groove with Abraham Lincoln’s head down. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, then the tread is less than 2/32nds of an inch.
  • A tire with damage including cuts, cracks, bulges, punctures, scrapes, or other wear that exposes the tire’s reinforcing plies.
  • A tire with an improper repair, like a puncture that hasn’t been sealed on the inside and with a stem that runs to the outside.
  • Evidence of the use of a temporary tire sealant without evidence of a subsequent proper repair.
  • Inner tire or bead damage, or indication of internal separation, such as bulges or local areas of irregular tread wear.

Rep. Simrill says this is not a step toward bringing back vehicle inspections.

You can read the bill here.