HomeStandard StyleChecking the Tires is one of the most important steps when buying...

Checking the Tires is one of the most important steps when buying a used vehicle

Now it’s time to check the tires. This will provide you with much needed information about the previous owner’s driving habits as well as their attention to maintaining the vehicle. The first thing to inspect is the air pressure. Use your tire pressure gauge on each of the tires and compare it to both the maximum pressure as written on the side wall of the tire itself as well as the recommended air pressure as stated in the owners manual.

You can also open the driver’s side door and look for the tire information tag. It can also somtimes be located on the door itself or in the gas cap. This will tell you the manufacturer’s original tire size as well as the cold tire pressure. Be sure to log this information on your vehicle check list. Typically, all 4 tires will carry near the same amount of pressure so if one is considerably lower than the others, this will show you if a tire possibly has a slow leak which is not usually visible. A difference of 5 psi or more would be considered low.

It is a good idea to make sure the tires on the pre-owned vehicle are the correct size as suggested by the manufacturer. If the tires are a different size, it could possibly make the speedometer read incorrectly.

When a vehicle is properly maintained, the tires should wear evenly without any ‘bald’ rings. The tread is even and defined all the way around the tire. This particular vehicle seems to have an alignment problem which causes the tread to wear out faster on the inside. This means that not only will the vehicle need new tires, but it will need front end work as well. Under inflated tires will wear out faster on the outsides of the tire, while Over inflated tires tend to wear out the center of a tire, so pay close attention to the tread wear.

The final thing you will want to notice is the amount of tread left on each tire. There are 2 ways to check the tread depth. The first is to use a tread depth gauge, which is available at most auto parts stores, or by clicking on the link next to this paragraph. The second and most common method, is to use a coin, usually a penny. Place the penny into the tread of the tire with the head facing you in at least 4 different locations. As long as part of Lincoln’s head is touching tread at the lowest point, then you have at least 2/32″ of tread left. Once the tire’s tread wears further, the vehicle will have a higher likelihood of hydroplaning on wet surfaces as well as minimal traction, specially in muddy or snowy conditions.

The last tire you need to check is the Spare Tire. This is a commonly un-inspected item which buyers forget to check before purchasing or test driving a vehicle. Consult with the seller for the exact location of the spare tire, but typically it is located in the trunk or hatchback area. When you locate the tire, be sure there is a jack as well as a lug wrench that fits the vehicle’s current lugs. If the car is equipped with locking lug nuts, ask the seller where the Key is located, which will be needed to remove the tires.

Always check the thread twice. It could have no bald spots, nor is it wearing unevenly, but it cannot pass the penny test. And they will need to be replaced soon. This would not be a good tire to drive in snowy or icy conditions.

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