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A Comprehensive Guide to Used Tires Page 2!

used tires loaded on a truck
These used tires are getting a second life destined to be used on the road again.

Inspecting The Condition of Used Tires

Now that we understand the basic information provided on the side of the tire, we need to inspect the overall condition of the tire. This is where taking your time and being thorough will ensure you get a good safe tire. Also, its important to note that most yards sell their used tires as-is where-is with no warranty or refunds so you don’t want to get stuck with a new tire swing or flower planter.

Tread Depth and Uneven Wear

The state inspection requirement is 2/32nds of tread depth. If you take a penny and stick Lincolns head into space between the tread, the tread should protrude over the tip of his head, if not the tire is below 2/32nds, near bald and dangerous. Good tread is essential to maintaining control of your vehicle. Good tread allows water and snow on the road to be pushed into the voids around the tread allowing your tire to maintain contact with the road while driving.

tire tread depth check with penny

Uneven wear is something to avoid as this can cause alignment and steering issues. I will usually roll the tire along the ground inspecting the “horizon” of the tire. You should notice a nice straight roll with even wear across the horizon, with no bumps or abnormalities in the tread. Sometimes tires will have broken bands inside them or bubbles and rolling is a good way to detect this. Never use tires that have bulges or weird abnormalities in the shape.

check tires for uneven wear

Weather Cracking

Another thing to look for while rolling the tire is to make sure there is no “weather cracking” on the tire anywhere. Cracks are a sign the tire has started to degrade. Eventually these little cracks will begin to leak air. You can also be looking for screws, nails, or other foreign objects that may have punctured the tire. Punctures can be patched as long as they not too big, and are an inch away from the sidewall on the face of tread. If a tire has a hole along the edge of the tread or in the sidewall the tire is no good.

look for tire weather cracking

Check the Bead

Now that you have inspected the exterior of the tire and determined it to be good, check the bead and the interior of the tire. The bead should not have any tears or major cuts in it. Sometimes you can get away with minor shallow nicks that are a result of the tire machine. But again use caution as there needs to be adequate surface area for the bead to seal inside the rim.

check the tire bead for damage

You also want to look at the inside of the tire to make sure there’s no plugs, or punctures you missed from the outside. If you see wear marks on the interior of the tire or loose rubber grounds inside then the tire is no good. This happens when the tire is driven under-inflated and the weight of the vehicle causes the rim to eat into the base of the tire. Under no circumstances should you ever use a tire that shows interior wear.

inner tire wear is bad also see the tire plug

Directional Tires & Matching Tires

You can’t mix and match Directional and Non-Directional tires. Most tires are non-directional meaning they can be mounted either way and it won’t make a difference. If you have directional tires on your vehicle you need find directional replacements. A directional tire means the tread pattern is designed to roll in one direction. You can usually figure this out by looking at the tire sidewall. Look for an arrow with the words “rotation” printed somewhere on the side. You can also figure this out by looking at the tire tread as it won’t be asymmetrical like a non directional tire.

directional and rotational tires look different

For a Maine state inspection you are allowed to run tires that don’t all match as long as they are all non-directional and put on in matching pairs. This means that the tires on the front are identical to one another, and the tires on the rear are the same. Each axle should have a matching pair in order to pass an inspection. All wheel drive vehicles need to have 4 identical tires in order to avoid mechanical damage to the transmission.

Tire Pressure

The National Highway Safety Administration estimates that keeping up on your tire pressures can save you %11 in fuel costs ever year! Tires should be regularly inspected for proper pressures and overall condition. Regularly checking the pressure will extend the life of your tires and decrease the likely hood of a catastrophic failure due to under-inflation. If your tire looks low, check it. Another useful tip is to feel your tires after you have driven (make sure there not too hot first!) as a warm tire can be a good sign of under inflation or other mechanical problems that need attention.

flat tire due to under inflation

In conclusion I hope this helps while your on the look out for some good used tires.  Used tires can be a great way to cut down on the cost of vehicle maintenance and save money. Not to mention getting the full use out of a tire helps to reduce waste. Who knew “recycling” could be so great!

3g tire portland maine

If you don’t have time to go to the junkyard to find a used tires and you are looking to save money, you could try a tire shop like 3G’s tire in Portland, ME. They offer used tires mounted, balanced, and installed starting at only $35.00 per tire. You can visit their website here: or give them a call 207-772-1255.

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