Blemished Tires (BLEM): What To Consider

Blemished Tires

Your car has a lot of parts dedicated to safety – airbags, reinforcement for the passenger area, crumple zones… But one of the most important safety-focused components is your tires. Used tires are a cheap way to keep your vehicle on the road, but they aren’t as reliable and come without warranty. Blemished tires can be a safer and still-affordable alternative to used tires.

Tires aren’t safe to use forever, but new tires they often can be too expensive to use for replacements tires – leading many tire shoppers to turn to used tires. In fact, 30 million used tires were sold in the US last year.

These tires don’t hit the wallet as hard when you’re buying them, but in the long run they can end up costing far more – Used tires can fail catastrophically and cause accidents in a way that new tires typically don’t – not to mention their dramatically lower tread life and worsened performance.

So what can you do if you’re on a budget & need tires, but can’t even afford budget brands like Patriot or Westlake? That’s where blemished tires can really shine. Let’s dig in to learn a little more.

What are blemished tires?

Blemished tires are cosmetically-damaged but fully-functional tires that can’t be sold for full price – often the defect is something as simple & minor as mismatched lettering from a small error in the molding process or a splash of paint on the tire. They’re similar to dented-and-scratched appliances; fully-functional and never-used, but discounted regardless.

There’s an important distinction to be made, however – blemished tires are different from defective tires – the latter typically have structural issues introduced during the manufacturing process that can compromise the tire’s ability to keep you safe.

Where do blemished tires come from?

These tires are generally are made in the same factory as any other tire of their model – they’ve just gotten scuffed or suffered other cosmetic damage or flaws while being made or transported.

Benefits of Blemished Tires

When Compared to New Tires

The biggest benefit of buying these tires over new tires is that they tend to be significantly cheaper than “normal” or “pristine” new tires – as much as 35% cheaper than their non-blemished counterparts on average, even for the best ones! That’s nothing to sneeze at!

Compared To Used Tires

When compared to tires that were purchased already-used, you’ll see a huge improvement in durability, tread-life, and safety – used tires fail unexpectedly a lot more frequently than new tires, and slightly-blemished tires are a lot more likely to last you tens of thousands of miles to come.


Blemished tires will, of course, be marked up or damaged in a way that may not be visually appealing – if you’re proud of how your car looks, these are probably not your best choice.

Warranty Issues

Blemished tires often don’t come with a tread-life warranty. That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with the tire, it’s just a way for manufacturers and retailers to sell slightly “damaged” tires without any worries about future liabilities. The typical scuffed tire buyer doesn’t care about having a warranty as much, so the numbers don’t make sense to offer one.

Are blemished tires better than used tires?

Broadly speaking, yes. These tires are, for practical purposes, as good as new – even if they aren’t as appealing visually. The fact you can buy them at a steep discount to new tires and at a relatively comparable price to used tires mean that if you can find them, they’re usually a good choice for a purchase.

As I’ve already mentioned, used tires are dangerous and typically don’t last as long – so if you have the choice, they present a good opportunity to save some $.

Where can I buy blemished tires?

Blemished tires are rare enough that it can be difficult to find somewhere to buy them. As manufacturing processes continue their historical trend of getting more precise and efficient, the number of blemished tires made will keep falling compared to total tire sales.

We recommend picking a budget tire brand like Westlake or Patriot as an alternative – they offer similar pricing to what a blemished premium tire would with only a slight drop in expected tread life & quality.

If you want to keep up the hunt, however, consider