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Published On: Tue, Mar 20th, 2018

Tire Warning Signs to Check before Buying a Used Vehicle

Buying a used car from a reliable dealership is a fantastic way to save money. Pre-owned cars have become increasingly popular with American drivers in recent years, with households on average incomes refusing (or unable) to pay the extortionate prices on brand-new cars.

However, while a used car may be maintained to a high standard and offer more than enough functionality for your lifestyle demands, you might overlook one key aspect: the tires.

This sounds obvious, but buyers with little to no experience of driving may fall prey to a well-priced vehicle in desperate need of a new tire set. Even if the tires still look in good condition and feel normal to the touch, they could pose a real risk to yourself and your vehicle.

If they are just a couple of years old, you should still be able to get plenty of driving out of them before they need changing, but what if they have clocked up more than a decade of use?

Switch them for a nice, shiny new set before you hit the road again.

Why? Tires develop wear and tear as they age, just like any other part of your vehicle. Of course, they will carry their signs of use far more clearly than the hood or the seats because they are in direct contact with the road at all times.

Think about how you tend to behave behind the wheel: do you screech into action as soon as the light turns green, and are you prone to slam the brakes on with heavy feet at the last minute?

Your activities on the road will determine how quickly your tires deteriorate. Other factors you need to consider include humidity, oxidation, heat, and the type of terrain they will come up against. On top of this, tires will age even without being driven on,

Signs to look out for

One way to check a tire’s age is to search for the TIN (U.S. Department of Transportation’s Tire Identification Number) placed on the sidewall. This doesn’t tell you exactly when the tire was placed on the wheel or how the car’s previous owner handled them, but it still gives you an indication of their lifespan.

Your used-car dealer should be happy for you to inspect a vehicle as closely as you like – even if that means dropping to the floor to check the sidewall. They may even do it for you if you ask nicely.

How else can you determine the condition of the tires on your prospective new car or truck?

Look for signs of dry rot, which can make a big difference to your tires’ lifespan and performance. Dry rot will show itself as fine cracks at the sides or within the treads, as well as mild discoloration and the appearance of being misshaped.

You should examine the tires carefully to rule out any risk of dry rot, and signs that the tires were repaired (such as plugs). Trust your instincts and don’t accept the tires that come with the car or truck just because they are part of the package. The dealer may suggest a slight discount or offer to have the tires replaced if you’re willing to part with your cash.

“You should always take the time to look over the tires on a used vehicle before you buy,” said an executive at Toro Road Runners. “Driving on tires that are well beyond their best days can be dangerous. In our years of providing towing services, we’ve had to help many drivers who just didn’t pay enough attention to their tires.”

Author: Anderson Lele

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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