Guide to buying tires

Guide to Buying Used Tires
August 26, 2015 – 07:39 am
Tire Buying Guide: How to Buy

Aging TireFor many people, purchasing a used tire can be a wise decision. If you're on a tight budget, or perhaps just need a spare, a used tire is an affordable option that's also good for the environment.

If you're in the market for used tires, you need to educate yourself on what to look for and what to avoid. The used tire market doesn't have the same regulations as the new tire industry, so it's important to find a tire dealer you can trust. Not all used tires are safe or usable, and it's not easy to tell just by looking. Tires can look new on the outside, but can still have significant problems on the inside.

Signs of Trouble

If you're shopping for a used tire, avoid tires that have obvious wear or defects. Things to consider are:

The look of a tire can be deceiving. Tires age from the inside out, and many age-related problems are hard to detect. As a rule of thumb, purchasing a tire that is more than six years old should be avoided. Look for cracks between the treads or on the sidewall which may indicate dry rot. To be sure, check the date of manufacture by looking at the Tire Identification Number. You should see the letters DOT followed by numbers.Bad Tire Tread The first two numbers signify the place of manufacture. The next four represent the date, with a two digit week of manufacture followed by the year.
Tread Wear & Depth
Carefully examine all of the tread surfaces for uneven wear. If you can see any part of the cords, which are made of braided steel, the tire is no good. Check the depth of the tread on each tire. Most common sizes of tires should have a depth of at least 6/32 inch. For a 13 or 14 inch tire, there should be a minimum of 4/32 inch. An easy method to test tread depth is to insert a penny into the tread. If you can see all of Lincoln's head, the tread is too worn and the tire is no good.
Tire Puncture
Punctures and Repairs
Properly repaired used tires are safe to use. Don't purchase a tire that has large punctures or punctures close to the sidewall.
Bead Appearance
If the bead of the tire has missing pieces it won't seal properly. Avoid tires with this condition.
Belt Separation
A hard bump on the tire can often cause the steel belts to separate from the rubber. Run your hand over the tread and sidewall carefully to check for any bumps, ripples or other imperfections that may indicate a belt separation.
Liner Damage
You should also examine the inside of the tire. Avoid the tire if you see any exposed cords or other damage to the inner liner. If it looks like there is a ring of wear around the inside, or if the rubber has worn away and you can see the cords, the tire is unsafe.

A Dealer You can Trust

An easy way to find a quality used tire is to visit a reputable tire dealer. At Levin Tire & Service Center, our experts will take the work out of your used tire purchase. All of our used tires are carefully inspected and tested by our trained service technicians.

We carry all sizes, types and brands of used tires starting at just $39.95 which includes free installation, alignment check, and balancing (tax not included). In addition, we offer free flat repair and tire rotations for the life of the tires. Stop by our Merrillville, Hammond or Hobart locations and ask about our selection of used tires. Then you can feel confident you're purchasing a quality used tire.

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