There are numerous things to consider when searching for a used car. How much, for instance, will it cost? How far is it in miles? What does the car look like? 

Tires are noticeably absent from that list even though they truly anchor your car to the ground.

The tires influence a car’s handling, comfort, and fuel efficiency. When buying a used car, paying special attention to the tires can be helpful. This quick check can provide more details about the vehicle’s history while saving you money in the long run. 

Step Height

Make sure there is still enough tread on the tires first and foremost; if not, a vehicle’s handling in slippery or rainy weather may suffer significantly. 

Knowing how much tire tread is left on an automobile may be useful when negotiating a lower price. Laws requiring the replacement of tires in Hoover, AL, with less than 2/32 inches of tread.

Tread depth gauges, easily available at many auto parts stores, are a quick and economical way to assess wear accurately. The grooves of tires also have indicator bars for tread depth. When they are flush with the raised tread, it is time to replace them.

Uneven Wear & Tear 

As tires travel farther, they typically lose tread depth. It would help if you avoided uneven tire wear because it may indicate poor maintenance or a mechanical problem with the vehicle.

Tire rotation is advised by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) every 5,000 to 8,000 miles or earlier if uneven wear is noticed.

Another is the issue of inflation. When tires are underinflated, the outside edges of the tread degrade more quickly than when tires are overinflated, the midline of the tread. Furthermore, under-inflation raises rolling resistance, which reduces fuel economy. 

According to NHTSA estimates, fuel economy decreases by 1% for every 2.96 psi of under-inflation.

Tires are designed to function at a set pressure depending on the weight of a vehicle, says Abram, and when that pressure is released, the amount of weight a tire can hold decreases. It can make handling more difficult, heat up faster, and degrade more quickly.

Appropriate Size and Kind

When inspecting a secondhand car, confirm that all tires are the same manufacturer and size. 

Due to the different compositions and tread patterns of different tire types, experts warn against mixing and suggest that mismatched tires are a red flag about a vehicle’s history.

Federal law has mandated that all passenger cars carry signs that identify the standard tire size and pressure for each model, either in the driver’s side door jamb or on the door, since 2003. 

These figures should be used to confirm the tire’s specifications, which also contain its load and speed ratings.

Even brand-new tires may be substituted for worn ones at some auto lots. While doing so increases the perceived value of an automobile, dishonest dealers may utilize it to conceal a car’s defects.

Tire Age and Condition

Due to UV exposure, sunlight, and other environmental conditions like excessively hot or cold temperatures, older tires may have sidewall or tread bulges or hairline cracks. Along with any patches or cuts, these warning signs suggest that the vehicle requires new tires.

In addition to directing drivers to check automakers and tire manufacturers for guidance, the NHTSA urges drivers to consult their owner’s handbook for replacement information. 

Locate the Date

To determine a tire’s precise age, look for a designation on the sidewall that begins with “DOT.” The final four digits, which represent the week of manufacture, are placed after the year. For instance, “0713” might refer to the seventh week of 2013. 

Before 2000, tires were created with a three-digit number, the last digit signifying the year within a decade and the first two digits indicating the week.

When inspecting tires on a used car over six years old, it is best to err on caution.

Do not forget to check the spare. Eventually, spare tires exposed to the elements or in warm trunks may become “cooked.” Check for an auto repair in Hoover, AL, in this scenario. 


While important and revealing of a car’s past, tires are only one piece of a larger used car puzzle. Regular engine, transmission, and brake maintenance are a few other crucial components of a well-rounded secondhand car. Always use a vehicle history report to research a used car’s past, and have a trustworthy mechanic look it over for a car repair in Hoover, AL.

Hoover Automotive provides car service and repair, including brake service, oil changes, new tires, auto repair, engine repair, off-road vehicle repairs, and fleet vehicles. Give us a call to schedule a service for tires in Hoover, AL

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