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Tyre checks to make when buying a used car

leasing The used vehicle market in the UK is a massive and thriving one that saw 7.9 million sales last year alone. It’s easy to see why too, as drivers looking for a cheaper alternative to buying new can often find some of the most popular models available such as those from Ford, Vauxhall and Volkswagen to name but a few.

Not only that but the used and part-worn tyre industry has also seen sky-high numbers rising within the UK, as it is not strictly illegal to buy and use these alternatives. However, with it being tyre safety month, a new focus on tyre health means drivers are encouraged to check tyres for minimum safety levels.

Why bother checking the tyres?

You might think that tyres are a relatively inexpensive aspect of your vehicle that can be easily re-placed. Indeed, you can buy tyres online now, even part-worn ones for a significant discount. How-ever, it’s not about cost but about safety. If you drive away in a car with tyres that are not road-worthy you could be putting yourself, your passengers, and every other driver on the road at risk.

So, when you‘re shipping for a new used car, what types of tyre checks it is recommended you carry out to avoid this?

Tread depth - This is an easy one. Take a 20p coin and pop it into the main tread groove. If the outer band of the 20p piece is hidden then the tread depth is adequate. If the tread depth is too shallow, however, you should be able to see the outer band and you should investigate with the dealer before driving away.

Tyre pressure - Any dealer worth their salt should have a pressure gauge to hand so you can check the pressure of your tyres and match it to the car’s recommended tyre pressure. If you’re visiting a private seller then this is obviously more difficult to ascertain but you should be able to see if the pressure if too low simply by sitting in the car and getting somebody else to notice the ‘sag’ of the tyres.

Wear and tear - Generally speaking, a good set of tyres should last for around 20,000 miles on the front and 40,000 on the back, at least on FWD cars. If you notice any bulges, lumps, cuts or cracks that could have accumulated throughout the car’s ‘old life’ then you might want to take it up with the dealer before going any further.

Spare tyre - Finally, there should always be a spare tyre in the boot or under the car. If it’s not there then you have a problem. Don’t just buy a new tyre, ask them to supply you with one. If it is there, inspect it and give it the same thorough grilling you gave to the four currently attached wheels.


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© Craig Harbour 2020