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4 Items To Check When Getting Used Tires

Used tires are a budget-friendly alternative to new ones. Because they've been previously driven on, however, used tires ought to be inspectedprior to purchase. If you're buying a set of used tires, here are four things to look at before you buy them.
1. Look for Repairs
Whenever you look at a set of used tires, first look for any signs of repair. Specifically, check for patches or hardened gunk inside the tire.Patches are where a tire repair shop fixed a leak, and hardened gunk is usually from a do-it-yourself spray that seals air leaks. If either is present,you'll see them on the interior as long as a tire isn't mounted on a rim.

Patches and spray sealants don't necessarily mean a tire is unsafe to drive on. Many people have tires that have been repaired one way or the other, and these tires are perfectly safe to use.

When purchasing used tires, however, you often won't know who performed a repair. You won't be able to talk with the service center or owner who did the repair to make sure the work was done properly, and you won't be able to ask about what caused the flat.

Rather than taking a risk on a tire that was previously repaired and you don't know the history of, you'll be better off finding tires that don't come with these unknowns. There are many used tires that haven't needed repair.

2. Read the Age
Once you confirm a tire hasn't been repaired, the next thing to check is its age.

Since 2000, the Department of Transport requires all tire manufacturers to print the dates that the tires are manufactured on them. The date is coded in a series of letters and numbers. The code starts with "DOT" and ends with two numbers. Of the numbers at the end, the first two are the week in the year and the latter two indicate the year.

For example, a tire's code might read "DOT U2LL LMLR 4414." The four numbers at the end indicate that this tire was made in the 44th week of 2014.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Rubber Manufacturers Association don't have a specific time after which tires expire.Some manufacturers, though, recommend not using tires that are older than six or 10 years (depending on manufacturer). Avoid tires older than these recommendations, and rely on advice from a qualified technician for further help.

3. Check for Uneven Wear
Next look at the tread of a tire to check for any signs of uneven wear. Uneven wear may be evidenced by less tread:

  • In the center than on the edges (shoulders)
  • On the edges than in the center
  • On one shoulder than the other
  • In one particular place

Although uneven wear isn't caused by a defect in the tire, any tire that's worn unevenly won't be able to provide a smooth ride. You'll feel the variance in the tread when you're driving.

4. Measure the Tread Depth
Once a used tire passes the above three checks, all that remains is to measure its tread depth, You'll need a gauge to do this, but any place that sells used tires will have a gauge you can borrow. Just place the gauge on the tire and read the measurement it shows.

In the United States, tread depth is most often recorded as 32nds of an inch (although millimeters is sometimes also listed). New tires come with between 10 and 12 32nds.

Only consider used tires that have at least 4 32nds of tread depth. Tires with less will wear out quickly, and auto dealerships won't accept trade-ins with tires that have less than 4 32nds.

You can confidently purchase a set of used tires that meet all of these criteria. For help finding used tires, contact us at East Valley Tire Outlet.
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