Selling Take-off Tires – 06/07/17
You know all those tires you don’t do anything with after you use them? All those tires you disposed of incorrectly? The tires you left with the tire guy? The tires that have been sitting in your basement / garage for a few years?
Well, I buy and sell them on a regular basis. I have 4 industrial sized tire racks in my basement where I store, inventory, and fulfill tire orders from. Over the years I started listing them for sale on Craigslist and Instagram a bit. I realized that after a while, I had sold every single tire that I personally used on the racetrack. Dozens of sets. No, I didn’t make my full money back, but that wasn’t the point. The point is that I found a way to recoup, or to make back partially some of the money that I had invested in the tires. So instead of treating these tires as trash, clutter, or flower planters, I treat them as valuable inventory. I’ve purchased used takeoff tires in bulk from fellow local racers, and local businesses. I initially wanted to stay with race tires only but I currently have Slick, DOT, and Rain compounds in a variety of sizes and skill levels.
It seems that the more odd and obscure sizes are the ones that I can’t keep in stock. They’re rarer, and even less people selling them used, if any. Takeoffs would not be my first choice when buying a tire, but in a pinch, they work just fine. There is absolutely a market for takeoffs.
You might be thinking, yes but you must get a lot of returns, right? Not really. I’ve never had a complaint or someone even asking for a return through any of the local marketplaces like LetGo, OfferUp! Friends, or Craigslist. Through eBay, in a year I’ve had a total of 3 tire returns, or around 4%, which I feel is very good. Most retailers are around 5-15% in returns. Of those 3 returns, there was only one which I was at fault. One of the 3 returns, the customer was apprehensive to the wear but ended up using the tire flipped keeping it with just issuing a $20 partial refund, still made money. One of the tires did come back with a single dry rot in one of the rain spies which was my fault, I just missed it. I ended up re-photographing the tire and selling it as is, and made money on that one too. The last tire return I received was not any fault of mine. We take several high-quality pictures with a vinyl backdrop, umbrella lights, the whole works. We have a makeshift photo booth here in our workshop to help us stand out, but also for uniformity, and so you can see everything. It doesn’t benefit us to hide wear or issues, we pride ourselves in being honest and transparent. We’re not trying to fool anyone with our tires, we’re providing unique products all with specific wear amounts that aren’t being capitalized on. There are dozens of new & used car, truck, and forklift tire shops within 5 miles of me, but extremely few, if any used motorcycle tire sources in the state!
Our tires are stored indoors in a climate controlled environment year-round.
Every manufacture and build date that is listed, we make sure to include. The only tires that don’t have build dates that I’ve come across are some slick Michelin tires. Depending on the tire, we include an approximate wear percentage. Usually something like “80% Tread Remaining”, then we encourage everyone to look at all the images since each tire is the exact tire you will be receiving.
Reading Build Dates Explained
Build Dates on motorcycles can be a little tricky but generally they’re not too bad to read. On the more modern tires, everything is neat and organized, if you’re dealing with some vintage rubber, it might be a little more involved. Most tires I deal with are within 10 years, nothing vintage yet.
What I see the most of is a four-digit code on one sidewall of the tire. It will typically have the first two digits be the week of the year with the second two being the last two digits of the current year. For example, if a tire was made today, 06/28/17 then the build date is 2617. It is the 26th week of the year.
Sometimes there will be letters and or numbers before the build dates. These refer to the country, factory, and origin of where the tires were manufactured. These numbers are irrelevant for me personally, and I’ve never needed to look up where a tire was made.
So if you're interested in getting rid of some rubber on either donation or consignment, shoot us a message!
-Eric ESR Swahn