How To Check The Tires When Buying A Used Car

Automotive Blog

When you're shopping for a used car, be sure to check the tires closely. While worn out tires may not be a deal breaker, their condition gives you an indication of how well the car was cared for by the previous owner. Wear on the tires can also hint at problems with the car. Here's what to look for.

Depth Of Tread

By checking the tread depth, you'll have an idea of how soon you'll need to replace the tires. One way to check it is to use a quarter and insert it into the tread groove with George Washington's head pointed down. You want to see his head disappear into the groove. If you can see the top of his head, then the tires will need to be replaced soon.

Check the tread depth on all four tires. This lets you know if they were replaced at the same time. If one tire has less tread than the others, it could indicate the car has an alignment problem that causes excess wear on one side of the car. It could also be a sign of a previous flat, so ask the owner to find out why the tire is different.

Next, compare the tread depth with the mileage. If you don't know a lot about cars, this may be difficult to do, but you can make a general guess. A car with low mileage should have tires with deep tread. An old car with a lot of mileage should have tread that is worn down. If you see the opposite, it's a sign the owner changed the tires for some reason, or the odometer was altered. While it's not necessarily a sign of trouble, you want to know why the tread doesn't match the mileage.

Uneven Wear

In addition to tread depth, check for uneven wear on each tire. When a tire is properly inflated and the car is properly aligned, the tread should wear out evenly across the tire. Use the quarter to check the tread depth in the middle of each tire and on each side. If you find uneven wear, it means the car was driven without the tires being inflated to the right pressure. That could be a sign the owner neglected to take good care of the car. Uneven wear could also mean the car has problems with the suspension or brakes. Run your hands over the tread too, so you can feel for bumps and uneven spots. Ask the owner to adjust the wheels so you can see the entire surface of the tires.

The tires on a used car can tell you a lot about the car's condition before you even take it for a test drive. However, keep in mind, the owner can put on a set of new or used tires to hide problems. That's a risk you take when buying a car from a private seller. If you want to feel a little more secure about your purchase, it's best to buy a car from a reputable used car lot. For more information, contact a business such as Car Craft Auto Sales, Inc.


2 June 2015

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