Tires are an crucial part of the used car inspection process you should perform when looking at any used car or truck. Tires can indicate to you other possible problems that may be going on with the vehicle, and with tires costing the high prices they do, the condition of all four tires should be taken into account when making an offer on any vehicle. There are some tell tale signs you will want to look for when inspecting tires on a car or truck you might be purchasing. Visually inspect the tires and look for abnormal wear on any part of the tire including the sidewall. If the tire has more wear on one side or the other, or has a bulge in the side, it most likely indicates that the car needs at least an alignment, or suspension work or possibly new ball joints if not new tires.
Use a quarter and check the tires tread depth in a few different spots. Put the top of the quarter (George’s head)towards the tire body and see if you can see the top of Washington’s head. If you can the tires will need to be replaced as this indicates there is less than 4/32 of tread.The legal minimum tread depth is 2/32, but you do not want to run your tire tread down that low as traction and hydroplaning can become a real potential problem when your tire tread is that low. Take your hand and feel around the tire tread to see if there are any bulges that can be felt. A bulge generally can indicate a weak spot on a tire where the steel belts inside the tire are separating. This could lead to a safety hazard and possibly a dangerous high speed blow out.
Take the car or truck for a ride and be sure and listen intently so you can hear any noise that may be coming from the tires.If the tires seem noisier than you might expect the tires could be cupped and would need to be replaced. It may be a similar noise that aggressive mud tires make on pavement, if you have ever heard then on a offroad truck. Also, while you are on your test drive, look at the steering wheel and see if it is wiggling or if you feel a vibration when holding the wheel? You may be looking at bad tires. Taking the time to give the tires a good inspection on any potential vehicle purchase, could save you hundreds of dollars in unexpected tire replacement costs. If you believe the tires may need to be replaced, be sure and mention it to the seller so they can take that into consideration when negotiating the price. If you are not confident, bring the vehicle to your local tire store and have the tires inspected before purchasing the car or truck or making an offer.