How to be proactive about used tire problems

Few things have revolutionized land transportation as much as tires have. Without them, we would still be clanking around on metal or wooden wheels and arriving at our destinations with a sore back. Tires have truly converted that alternate future into one where we literally ride on air. Yet this same wonderful technology that helps us so much can land us in trouble at the most inopportune times if we are not proactive in its maintenance and take preventive measures for the same. Here are some that you can follow.

First of all, if you are changing only two used tires, make sure the rear ones get the nod first, if all four are close to equally wore out, that is. This is because loss of traction in the rear can be harder to get back than in the front. As a driver, you can feel the fronts losing grip and effect corrective measures quicker than with rear grip loss, which can be harder to recover from. Of course, ideally you should be changing all four used tires if they are close to being equally wore out.

Secondly, make sure you adhere to the 2/32 tread depth rule. Tread depth is measured in 1/32 inch increments. In a brand new tire, the depth is 10/32 inches. If, after a long usage period, this depth drops any lower than 2/32 on a used tire, it is as good as bald and any continued driving on it, especially on wet surfaces, is taking a risk.

Third, and this goes without saying, but always make sure your spare tire is in perfectly good condition, especially before a long trip where you might drive through sparsely populated regions with not much in the way of auto service centers nearby. Whenever you get your pressures checked at the service station, make sure you check your spare too.

Fourth, if you opt for a different manufacturer when going for new tires, make sure you read the pressure recommendations of that manufacturer as it may be different from the one you were using before. Different manufacturers have different tire construction methods and materials, so the inflation pressures will vary accordingly.



Things to remember before buying Used Tires

First of all, be sure you know the size of the tire that you need. You can find this out by checking for the information usually printed on the door panel on the driver’s side. Always be sure to buy tires of the size recommend by the manufacturer of your car for your particular model. With that out of the way, it is time to check for tire wear. Feel you way along the tread of the tire with your hand check if the tread is even or if there are dips and crests along its surface. If you notice this, it means the tire has been subjected to uneven wear.

Next, scan carefully to check for repair history of a used tire. If you see a lot of patchwork repair jobs, it means the tire has been damaged too many times. Abandon that tire and look at another one.

Also be sure to check the tread depth using the penny method we described in past articles. If after inserting a penny upside-down into the tread, the tread does not touch the tip of Lincoln’s head on the coin, it means the tread depth is below a safe minimum.

Finally, it is time to check the inside edge of the tire. This edge is known as the ‘bead’. If it is ragged or torn, the tire will not effectively seal on the rim.

Before you purchase any used tires, we highly recommend that you do it in person rather than online. This is because it is important to be able to assess the state of the tire personally with your own hands and do things like check the tread depth or look inside of the tire. When you purchase online, you are not able to check these things personally and have to take the word of the seller or website you are purchasing from.

However, should you decide to buy some used tires online, here are some things to remember.
Make sure you have your tire numbers handy when online. These include rim size, height and width of the tire.

Inquire how many miles the tires have been driven for, how many times they have been repaired, whether they have even tire wear and ask for the tread depth.

Ask for pictures of the used tires from all angles.

Make sure that it is a reputed and trusted dealer who stands behind their product.



How to stay safe while driving on wet roads

If you reside in a region where rain is a frequent occurrence or in a tropical region where monsoon season is prevalent, driving on wet roads is something you have to deal with quite often. Here are some tips and guidelines which can ensure your safety while doing so.

  • The most important and basic check that you must carry out regularly is to look over and properly inspect the tread of your tire every time you go to get your tire pressures checked.
  • Look for tires that have gone bald. A good and popular way of doing this is to place a penny into every groove of the tire and checking if the hat of Abraham Lincoln is visible or not. If it is, the tread depth is too shallow.
  • In case your tires are not completely worn, insert a tread depth gauge into the grooves of the tires and make a note of the number of inches of usable tread still remaining. Running on groove that are less than 2/32 of an inch can be dangerous on wet surfaces.
  • Do not cut more ‘sipes’ or grooves into your tires. While this may improve wet weather handling, it will certainly take a heavier toll on the tire on dry running and reduce the life of the tire considerably.  Certain mechanics may advise you to do it but it is not recommended. Remember, by cutting sipes into your tire, you are reducing the contact patch of the tire, which is reducing the overall grip of the tire.
  • While examining the tread, also run checks for other problems and deficiencies. If you happen to see strange cuts or cracks, replace it. If you see an unusual bulge along the sidewall of the tire, replace it.
  • Check for uneven tire wear. This indicates a possible problem in the wheel’s alignment or a problem with the suspension that is producing too much deviation in the camber or toe.
  • Lastly, one of the most basic things you can is just slow down your pace. If it starts to rain, turn on your hazard lights and reduce your speed to a safe amount so you can regain control of your vehicle should you encounter sudden hydroplaning. If you do however start to hydroplane, first thing to do is back off the accelerator.


The risks of driving on worn tires

As we have pointed out in past articles, the used tires are the only things that are actually linking your vehicle to the road that you are driving on. They are the objects that are bearing all the power from the engines, the stress of rough and bumpy roads as well as various vagaries of the weather that is thrown at it through the passing seasons. So it only makes sense that they need to be in good shape to perform properly. Sadly, many motorists do not take good care to make sure that their long time used tires are in good enough shape to pass legal guidelines, let alone perform optimally.

A tire can actually lose its footing quite a long ways before it even wears out fully. Tests have shown that even when a used tire’s tread is worn out to its halfway point, they give up a considerable amount of grip. Recent tests have shown that as many as fifty percent of the vehicles tested had atleast one tire with thread that was half or more wore out, and atleast ten percent had atleast one tire that was completely bald. Such tires can be dangerous on wet roads, as the grooves not being deep enough, cannot channel out enough amount of water when the tire travels over it. This results in something known as hydroplaning, where the tread of the tire actually starts to skim over the film of water on the road surface and the driver loses control over the car’s steering. Similar effects are experienced when driving on roads with slushy, snowy conditions.

When is a tire considered bald? Tread depth is measured in increments of 1/32 inches. For reference, on a new tire, the tread depth is 10/32. Legal guidelines state that when their grooves reach 2/32 of an inch deep. However, tests have shown that even at 4/32 inch, the tire’s control performance decreases by as much as half.

If you drive in a region where wet roads are not a concern, running with tires down to 2/32 of tread depth is much safer but even so, it is not recommended.

Safety tips for driving on used tires

  • Since the stopping distance of your car is going to be longer with worn tires, make sure you leave more than adequate room to the car in front of you. Keep increasing this distance the faster you are traveling. A good guideline to follow is to make sure you pass a road-side object atleast two to three seconds after the car in front of your does.
  • If you do experience hydroplaning, back off the accelerator to regain control of your vehicle.


Detailed explanation of temperature’s effects on used tires

Everyone takes care to check their tire pressures regularly but not many know that used tire pressures are affected by temperature. Here we will discuss in detail about the effects temperature poses to have on tire pressures and what you need to do about it.

The main reason that tire pressure changes with respect to temperature is because air expands and occupies more volume the higher the temperature and a lower volume at a cooler temperature. So if you pay attention to your prevalent ambient temperatures whilst checking tire pressures, it will help in making sure your tires are inflated properly.

Every vehicle’s owners manual has in it a recommended tire pressure. It is also usually mentioned on the driver’s side door or door panel. Keep in mind that this recommended pressure is applicable at a normal temperature of around 70 degree Fahrenheit.
A good rule of thumb to remember is that the tire pressure changes by one degree for roughly every ten degrees of change in temperature. So if the temperature drops by ten degrees, the pressure in the tire will drop by 1 PSI, and if the temperature picks up by ten degrees, the tire pressure will go up by 1 PSI. The reason why tire pressure is so critical is it affects your vehicle’s overall drivability, ride and handling. Having excessive amount of air can result in a rough ride while too low of an air pressure will lead to overheating of the tire, especially in the case of more frequently used tires. Both situations can lead to incidents.

Apart from the tire pressure being affected by ambient temperature, it is also affected by usage, as the tires heat up the more they are used, whether it be driving long distances or traveling at high speeds. In the first 15-20 minutes of driving at normal speeds, tire pressure goes up by roughly 3-4 PSI.

Temperature’s effect on tires mean that they should be inflated while cold, which is usually the case in the early morning, right before you set out for your daily commute. Remember that tires with too much inflation are not fully in contact with the road as the center of the tire expands out more than the sides. Similarly, an underinflated tire’s sides are more in contact with the road than the center. Either condition leads to premature wear on the tire’s tread which in turn leads to shorter tire life and added risk of incident while out on the roads.



The right way to calculate your used tires optimal air pressure

As we have discussed in previous articles, it is very important that your vehicle’s used tires have the correct pressure for reasons of safety, efficiency and reliability and premature wear and shorter life of the used tires will occur, and be a safety hazard. We have already touched on the effects of temperature on tire pressure making it difficult to get correct readings of the pressure due to the pressures increasing with increase in tire heat caused by running even a few miles at speed. But if you reside in a region with fluctuating or extreme climate conditions, the environmental temperature alone can affect the tire pressure readings. This is why you are well advised to calculate and maintain your used tire’s optimal pressure.

In the tire maintenance section of the owner’s manual for your vehicle, look for the suggested pounds per square inch (PSI) rating. This rating is based on tests carried out by the manufacturer to measure optimal tire performance by your vehicle. Make sure the car has been sitting still overnight or in as close to ‘normal’ temperature (around 70°F) and check the used tire pressure. This is called a cold reading. Now, by checking the sidewall of your tire, find out the maximum amount of air pressure your tire can hold. Also check that all four used tires call for the identical air pressure.

Next, make a record of the conditions your vehicle will be most exposed to while driving. This means that if you happen to store your car in a temperature-controlled garage but the outside temperature when you drive it is many degrees more or less than that, then record that temperature. Then use the recommended pounds per square inch (PSI) in your owners manual to calculate optimal pressure based on the air temperature. Tire pressure decreases by around half a pound for every ten degree (Fahrenheit) drop in temperature. So add a pound for every ten degree increase in the temperature of your driving environment. After your calculations are complete, inflate your tires to the optimal tire pressures.

As always, be sure that the tire pressure gauge being used is a reliable one, made by a reputed brand and recommended by your tire maintenance professional and never inflate the used tire above its maximum capacity or it could blow while on the road.



The right way to measure your used tires air pressure

It is very important that your vehicle’s tires have the correct pressure for reasons of safety, efficiency and reliability. Not doing so will lead to premature wear and shorter life of the tires, apart from being a safety hazard, especially with frequently used tires. Also, be sure that the tire pressure you use is a reliable one. Ask your tire professional about reputed brands. If you have a lot of vehicles to check, it might be a good idea to opt for a digital air pressure gauge.

Here is how you should measure tire pressure. First, if there are hubcaps on your wheels, you need to remove them, using a hubcap remover or something like a crowbar, so you can access the tire’s valve stem. Some automobiles have the valve stems accessible through the hubcap itself and so you must check to see if this is the case with your vehicle before removing the hubcap. If you have to remove it, keep it safely at the side before proceeding. Once you gain access to the valve, make sure you check it for any cracks or leaks. If you do find a fault, carry it over to your local tire maintenance facility to get it fixed. But do not take a reading before you fix it.

Now take off the valve stem cap slowly (to prevent any damage to the valve stem). Keep it in a safe place to retrieve later. Take the pressure gauge and place it over the valve stem. If you are using a manual pressure gauge, you will see the meter stick blow outward. If you are using a digital gauge, wait for a few more seconds. Then remove the pressure gauge from the valve stem and record the tire pressure reading that you see. Now take another measurement the same way, by placing the pressure gauge on the valve stem. Taking multiple readings helps you determine the reliability of your tire gauge as well as getting a more through reading of your tire pressures.

Once you are done taking the readings, replace the valve stem cap of the tire. Do the same for all four tires, either at the same time or do it for each tire individually after taking each reading. Also replace the hubcaps carefully, if you had to take them off to take the readings.



The importance of running correct tire pressures

Whenever you are driving down the road, have you ever wondered about the fact that the only parts of your car that are in contact with the road are those four used tires? If not, you might not be giving them the importance or attention that they deserve in keeping you safe and sound during your travels.

Of course, as we know, tires work because of the air filled inside them, which is measured in pounds per square inch or PSI. The tire pressure will affect the quality of ride of your vehicle. A flat tire with no air pressure is as useful as having no tire. Whereas having too much pressure can result in a bumpy ride while too little pressure can cause sloppiness in handling and reheating of the tire itself. None of these conditions are desirable and can lead to mishaps while on the road.

So it is important that we frequently pay attention to the used tires and make sure the pressures are as they should be and not too high or not too low. For this, we can turn to the car owner’s manual where the recommended tire pressures for your vehicle are listed. Sometimes, they can also be listed on the car’s body panels too.

Make sure you check your tire pressures twice a month at least. This can be done for free at your local filling station. For most accurate reading, make sure you take the measurement after the car has been sitting overnight and before having driven too many miles. This is because temperature affects tire pressure, something we will discuss in a future article in depth. But basically, the more the wheels rotate on the ground and the faster the car goes, the more heat is generated in the used tires and this heat in turns leads to increase in the pressure inside the tire, thus giving you a false reading if you check the tire pressure immediately after coming off a long drive.

You can also check tire pressure at home if you have a tire pressure gauge. These are quite inexpensive and can be obtained for under $20 at most auto part stores.

Remember, if you take care of your used tires, they will take care of you!



Used Tires Prices in New Jersey

The front tires on my SUV were severely worn, especially the left front tire, which had flat spots. Anytime you are driving really worn used tires you have a chance of getting a blow out, which could be very dangerous. So looking to save money, I went and replaced the two front tires with used tires. Both tires were Goodyear brand and had plenty of grip and thread left in them. I bought them in Newark, New Jersey, each for 40 dollars. I wound up giving each tire changer a five dollar tip, so the total for the two tires came to be 90 dollars. A pretty good temporary investment.

I hope this post gives you an idea of what you can expect the price of used tires to be in Newark, NJ. I did buy used tires once in Pennsylvania, and it was cheaper at the place I bought them for 35 for just one tire. A pretty good investment too as those tires were able to last for over a year before I had to get a fresher set of tires to replace them. If you do any shopping for used tires whether it be in New Jersey or any other state in the USA, leave a comment below so others can get a sense of the prices for used tires in their state or local area.



Used Tires and Rain

I am going to talk about a recent experience I had driving in the rain with used tires. The front tires in the Toyota Camry that I was driving, both tires were really worn out. I am talking about barely any thread left in the front tires. If you were to look at the tires, you could see that there is no “gap” like you would see. It was all pretty much like a used slick racing tire. Anyways the trip was quite long, I would say about 300 miles. It was not bad to drive when the rain was light, but when the rain picked up intensity, and there was more water on the highway, that’s when things started to get intense. Every time, I would change lanes, it felt like the car was hydroplaning, and was literally floating on the road. Even though I would be holding the wheel straight, the car would start to slowly veer to the right or to the left on its own. Luckily I knew not to overreact and use very smooth motions, and the trip was fine. Needless to say we did get some better tires on the car. We did get used tires on the car again but it was ones with much more thread left in it.

Is it safe to drive in the rain with used tires?

The biggest thing you must know is, it all depends on how much thread is left in your tires. If your tire is completely bald and there is no more thread left, youre tire will be like a slick tire, and you will definitely be hydroplaning wherever you are driving. It will be similar to driving on ice, and you will feel no control of your car once you begin hydroplanning. Even professional races who race in the rain can experience this, and believe me they will spin out! The more thread or gap in your tires that you have left, the more standing water your tires can take.



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