Checking the Tires on a Used Car

Search by VIN

It can be easy to forget, but checking the tires on a used car is an important step in the pre-purchase process. Tires are not the most expensive thing to replace on a vehicle, but they can often indicate if the previous owner took care of the vehicle and can sometimes identify hidden problems. In this video CARFAX shows shoppers what to look for when checking the tires on a used car.

To begin with, to make checking the tires on a used car easier, turn the front wheels towards the outside as you inspect them. This will give you a fuller view of the treads on the tires, which is one of the main areas you will want to take a look at.

Inspect the tires for fractures, cracks, or feathering. Feathering is when one side of the tire has more wear than the other. This is usually due to poor alignment of the tires, but it can also be an indication of an accident in the vehicle’s history.

Another key point when checking the tires on a used car is to measure the depth of the tread. In Europe, tires must have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm in order to be legally driven on the road. This can be measured using a device specifically for measuring tread depth, or simply by using a coin. You will want to make sure the tires have the legal depth, or else you may find yourself buying new tires immediately after buying the vehicle.

Be sure to inspect the sides of the tires and wheels for damage due to parking. Often times, there can be scrapes, scratches or deeper damage done when the tires or wheels hit the curb while parking the car.

You can also determine the age of a tire when checking the tires on a used car. This can be done by searching for the DOT number on the side of the tire. The last four digits of the DOT number will indicate the age. The first pair of numbers indicated the calendar week and the second pair the year. For example, if the last four digits are 3909: the tire was produced in the 39th week of 2009.

Ensuring the tire pressure is at the manufacturer’s recommended level is also a good way to know if the vehicle is being well maintained. Usually, the recommended tire pressure can be found on the inside of the driver’s side door or in the vehicle’s manual.

Additionally, when checking the tires on a used car, it’s a good idea to see if the tire change kit is still with the vehicle. This could come in handy down the road, should your tires ever get a flat.

And as usual, whenever buying a used car, it is recommended to check the CARFAX Vehicle History Report. The CARFAX Report helps used car shoppers discover much and more about a vehicle’s past. This includes information such as ownership records, mileage inconsistencies, import and export records, detailed technical information and much more. Checking the CARFAX can help you make better purchase decisions!

Interested in what a CARFAX Report looks like? See an example here of the CARFAX Report!