Used Car Buying Tip: Check the Tires

August 31st, 2016 by
used car tire inspection

The tires and wheels say a lot about a used car, and there are many things to pay attention to


When you’re checking out a used car that interests you, it’s easy to get wrapped up into examining the exterior, the interior, and test-driving it. The result is that many car shoppers don’t check the tires, and it’s one of the most common mistakes used car shoppers make. The tires and wheels say a lot about a vehicle, and there are many things to pay attention to.

If the tires are five or more years old, they ought to be replaced by the seller before you buy the car. How do you know for sure? You can check this yourself because the fine print on the sidewall of each tire contains a four-digit number indicating the week and year when the tire was manufactured. If you see 3115, it means the tire was made in the 31st week of 2015. Purchasing a car with old tires could end up costing you hundreds of dollars to replace them much sooner than you probably thought you would need to.

Make sure all the tires match in terms of brand and size. Mismatched tires are always a serious red flag. Also take a look at how the tread is wearing. Tires that have been consistently over-inflated will show more wear in the center of the tire, whereas those that have been consistently under-filled will show more wear on the outside edges.

While you’re at it, check the air pressure in the tires and make sure it’s the same in all the tires and right around the manufacturer’s recommendation. If there are any of these signs related to improper inflation, it indicates poor maintenance practices, which might also apply to other aspects of the car. If there’s excessive wear on the outside edge near the sidewall of the tires, this usually indicates that the car was driven aggressively, which might again indicate problems with other parts of the car.

Another thing to be aware of regarding uneven tread wear is how it could be a sign of an alignment problem, steering or suspension problems, or even frame damage if the vehicle was in some kind of significant collision.

At Auto City, we always thoroughly inspect the tires as part of our reconditioning process.

Now that you know how much you can learn just from examining the tires on a used car, you’ll be much better equipped to make an informed decision on the next used car you purchase. If you’re looking for a used car in the San Diego area, check out the inventory at Auto City.