If you’re in the market for a used car, it is vital that you know how to perform a simple tyre inspection. Ideally before you go through with any purchase inspect the tyres. Often worn or under pressure tyres are a good indicator of how the current owner or dealer has looked after the vehicle.
It is important to remember however that worn tyres are not necessarily a reason to pass on your purchase, especially if the car is perfect for what you need. A tyre inspection can be a way to better negotiate the price of a car down, as you may need to replace them.
Checking the Tyre Tread
Tyre inspections should be done regularly, either on your own car or the one you are looking to buy. It is an important part of general car maintenance and can save you money by making your tyres last longer than they may have without the maintenance.
Knowing how much active tread is left on a tyre can give an indication to the end of life for the tyre. It can help you budget and plan when to purchase your next set and determine how safe your car is in various situations.
There are two ways to check tyre tread:
- The tyre tread indicators – many new tyres come with depth indicators built in. Look along the groove and occasionally you will see ‘bumps’ in the track. These are the indicators and if they are flush with the tyre surface, they need to be replaced.
- The 20c coin method – any easy ‘hack’ to check your tyres is using a 20c coin. Place the coin in the track and if the tread reaches past the platypus bill you are good to go. The measurement from the edge of the coin to the bill is exactly 3mm which is the minimum amount of tread your tyres should have.
You should check several places around the tyres, as it is possible for them to wear unevenly.
Checking the Tyre Pressure
Overinflated or under inflated tyres can be a huge problem and cause a significant reduction to the life of your tyres. Many people over inflate their tyres in the false belief that the car will handle better. The is untrue and the ‘performance’ they feel is actually the car skating around corners and actually slightly losing control.
The ideal tyre pressure for your car is often printed on a label placed inside the driver’s door. However, if your car has different wheels or tyres than the manufacturers, you can find the recommended tyres pressure written on the tyre. If you are not sure or can’t find it, your local tyre dealership will be happy to show you.
Performing a Complete Tyre Inspection
There are many indicators of poor tyre maintenance. Here are several things to look out for when inspecting any tyre:
- Underinflated tyres - the tyre is worn more on the edges rather than the middle.
- Overinflated tyres - the tyre is worn more in the middle than the edges.
- Worn parts - the tyre has dips or cups in the tread.
- Miss-aligned Tyres - the tyre has ‘sawtooth’ edges.
Finding any of these on a car you are about to purchase is a good indicator that the tyres need replacing, and the car may need further corrective work to avoid shortened tyre life.
If you are inspecting your own car, you should take it to your local dealership to fix the problem before it becomes worse and leads to more extensive repairs.