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Jun 20, 2023

What to Look for When Buying Used Tires

The tires on your vehicle are one of the most critical safety and performance features. They determine your vehicle's handling, stopping power, and fuel efficiency. Used tires can be a great way to save money. But you have to be a savvy shopper. 

Age of Tires

It's crucial always to be aware of your car's tire age since they are the only part that comes into contact with the road. While new tires are the best option, if you have to buy used tires near me for sale, it's even more essential to know the tire's age and remaining tread. Rubber degradation can cause cracks on the tire's sidewalls, leading to blowouts or slow leaks, so most manufacturers recommend changing tires every six years. Additionally, inspecting the tire's sides for any signs of dry rot or damage is imperative. Be aware of products that claim to restore a flat tire's integrity, as they may not work. Buying used tires from reputable dealerships or tire stores is best to ensure your safety and that of your loved ones. Take your time with cheap, used tires.

Tread Depth

The tread depth of tires is crucial to safety. It is where the rubber meets the road and allows your car to grip the surface for safe driving. Driving on tires with minimal tread is inherently unsafe and can lead to sudden tire failure, especially at high speeds. It's a good idea to avoid buying used tires with less than 3/32" of tread, as that is the minimum required by most state inspection laws. Select tires with more tread than the minimum requirement to guarantee superior durability and performance. When purchasing used tires, it is strongly advised to examine the tread depth using a gauge, which can be easily acquired from most auto parts stores for less than $5. If you need more clarification about using the gauge, solicit assistance from the seller. Look for uneven tread wear, as this is a sign that the previous owner didn't have their vehicle appropriately aligned, which will shorten their lifespan and cause them to wear out more quickly. Also, look for holes, deep cuts, or other damage to the tire casing and signs of belt separation. If you see any of these problems, walking away is best. The seller may come to their senses after a few days and reprice the tires more appropriately. If not, other sellers will be willing to make a deal for a safer set of tires. 

Tire Identification Numbers

The small patch of rubber at the bottom of your vehicle determines how your car responds to your driving, how much traction it has on the road, and how long it will take to stop. Although new vehicles have many safety and performance features, the effectiveness of your vehicle will ultimately be determined by that patch of rubber. When shopping for tires, look for the DOT (Department of Transportation) code on the sidewalls. The code should be a 10- to 12-digit number that begins with "DOT." The last four digits represent the week and year the tire was manufactured. For example, a tire with a date stamp of "0507" was made in the fifth week of 2005. If the DOT code is missing, it was either scrubbed off or painted over to look newer. In that case, the tires should be a no-go. Shop for tires at a tire store or dealership with a reputation for quality. It won't guarantee that the tires you buy are good, but it will increase your chances. Buying used tires is risky because you have yet to learn how the previous owner treated them. They could have been driven on rough terrain or under or over-inflated. You also have yet to learn what kind of high-speed driving they experienced.

Tire Pressure

As you know, tires are one of the most critical components of your vehicle. They connect your car to the road and determine how the steering responds to driver input, how far it takes to stop, and how elegant your vehicle is on curves. The condition and thickness of your tires directly affect the safety and performance of your vehicle. Purchasing used tires is risky because you need to know how they are stored or treated. They could have been driven overloaded, underinflated, or at excessively high speeds, which can cause internal damage that isn't visible from the outside. To protect yourself from wasting your hard-earned money, investing in a tire tread depth gauge (available for as little as $5) before buying any used tires is a good idea. A good gauge will tell you exactly how much life is left in them, which will help you negotiate with the seller. Please also check the DOT date on the side of the tire. This is the date of manufacture, and you should only purchase tires over six years old. Also, look for uneven tread wear. This indicates that the previous owner did not have the tires properly aligned, which will shorten their life.


Nov 24, 2020

How to prepare for your driving test

There’s nothing quite as daunting as a driving test. You’re guaranteed to have butterflies in your stomach, sweaty palms and a raised heartbeat. Don’t worry. This is all completely normal. 

While a driving test brings out the nervous energy in all of us, the key is to be prepared. That way, nothing can surprise you and you’re likely to pass. Here are some ways to prepare for your driving test. 

Prepare for emergencies

What happens if you have an accident during your driving test? This is something that many learner drivers fear. While your examiner will have their own set of pedals, it’s important to be prepared for accidents or emergencies. This means knowing how to respond afterwards; such as stopping the car, putting on your hazards and redirecting traffic. You may also want to get in touch with a Houston car accident lawyer, as well as getting any injuries checked out by a medical team. The chance of an accident happening during your test is unlikely, but being prepared will help in the worst-case scenario. 

Know the roads

It’s no good learning to drive in Houston if you’re taking your test in Dallas. You might be a great driver, but all beginners struggle on roads they don’t know. So, it’s important to drive around in the area that your test will be. Familiarize yourself with one way systems, busy junctions and confusing road signs. That way, you won’t be thrown off by an unexpected turning and will be able to perform at your very best.  

Get a good night’s sleep

It’s difficult to perform well when we’re cranky and tired. So, the key to doing well in your driving test is to make sure you get a good night’s sleep beforehand. This means no late-night partying or binging Netflix. Put your phone on silent and aim for at least eight hours of shut-eye. A good night’s sleep will help you feel positive, motivated and ready for your driving test.  

Be comfortable with the car

All cars drive differently. You might be great at driving in your instructor’s car, but keep stalling in your mom’s. A diesel car might drive more smoothly than petrol, or the biting point might be different. So, prepare for your test by becoming comfortable in the car you’ll be taking the examination in. This means driving it regularly and understanding how to drive smoothly. You should also know how to fill it up and change the tire – just in case. 


When we’re stressed and anxious, our bodies can act in mysterious ways. You might know how to parallel park, but in the moment your mind has suddenly gone blank. Try to relax. While it might seem like a lot is riding on this moment, you can always take the test again. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself.  

Jan 21, 2019

Be Prepared for Winter Driving by Doing These 5 Things

Today's conversation is sponsored. All opinions are my own as always. 

With cold weather on the way in many areas, it is essential to prepare your car, truck, or SUV for the winter months ahead. You also need to do this if you will be traveling through cold weather. If your vehicle is not ready for the drop in temperature, you could pay the price for not being prepared.

What should you do to get your car ready? Here are a few top tips.

1. Get your battery checked

There is nothing worse than being stranded during the holiday season at a shopping mall or on the side of a highway. It is important to get your vehicle’s battery checked, especially if it is over three years old.

An expert will see if there is any corrosion around the battery’s connection points and if it is up to the task of keeping your car going during winter.

2. Antifreeze

Your vehicle should have a 50-50 antifreeze and water mixture inside its radiator. Antifreeze may even “look healthy” but still need replacing. The antifreeze’s important additives could be worn out, which means it won’t protect your vehicle.

Experts say you should replace the antifreeze every two years, which should prevent any problems. It is always best to get your antifreeze checked when you get an oil change. Then, it can be replaced as soon as any signs of breakdown are identified and you can avoid any larger problems.

3. Tire pressure

When snow and ice hit the ground, it is difficult to get good traction on roads and highways. Having the correct tire pressure allows your vehicle to have the best possible traction in snow and ice.

With colder weather comes a drop in the air pressure of your tires. Look in the owner’s manual of your vehicle to see what the correct pressure is and make sure you top it up.

4. Oil change

It is important to make sure your car has the right oil for colder months and getting it replaced as the seasons change is important. Certain types of oil perform better in certain conditions. Your mechanic can let you know if a change is recommended. You need the correct thickness of oil as colder weather makes oil run thicker. Your vehicle’s life-blood can’t work properly if it is too thick, so make sure you get it changed if you are due.

5. Wiper blades

It seems simple enough, but if you can’t see the road or vehicles in front of you, there’s a great risk of an accident. The more it rains, snows, and sleets, the more use your wipers will get. Extreme weather situations make it increasingly important to have wipers that have a significant amount of life left.

Experts say that wiper blades should be replaced after just one year. So, make sure you have new ones ready to go. Just a few steps can keep you safe during the winter months. It may cost a little bit of money up front, but it will save you much more in the long run.


Sep 21, 2014

Teen Driver Car Maintenance and Repair Guide from

October is National Car Care Month and the experts at have car safety in mind, especially for teenagers, who are at a significantly higher risk of
being in accidents and even fatal crashes according to the NHTSA. [1]  To this
end, offers a downloadable Teen Driver Car Maintenance and Repair Guide.

The Guide includes:

- A Vehicle Diagram to help you identify key components of your car.
- A Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Vehicle Maintenance Checklist to keep your car
running its best.
- Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Vehicle Repair Instructions to help you perform
basic maintenance and repair of your car.
- Car Maintenance and Repair Tips & Tricks you probably didn't know but
- Car Repair Safety Information to keep you safe while you're performing
a repair.
- Roadside Safety Tips while you're out on the road.
- A Car Maintenance Quiz to earn your Certificate of Commitment upon
successful completion.

The full guide can be downloaded here:

Below are six key maintenance tips for teens (and adults!) from the Teen Driver
Car Maintenance and Repair Guide.

1. Know your car's maintenance intervals and keep up with service

Each vehicle has a maintenance schedule, outlined in your owner's manual. Be
sure you read and understand the schedule. Items that require regular
maintenance include the car's fluids, tires, brakes, and oil and filter changes,
too. Oil and air filter changes are particularly important to keep the engine
running efficiently and make great beginning DIY auto repair projects. Get an
experienced adult to help the first few times, and follow these how-to guides
for help:

How to Change Your Oil:

How to Replace an Air Filter:

Did You Know? These days experts say that you only need to change your oil every 5,000 miles. A good rule of thumb is this – if a vehicle is older than a 2002
model year, it should probably get an oil change every 3,000 miles. If it's
newer than a 2002 model, it's fine to change the oil every 5,000 miles.

2. Take care of your tires – make sure they can get you to school, work,

Tire maintenance is particularly important for safe and fuel-efficient driving,
so, take good care of them! Keep your tires properly inflated, and watch for
tire wear. Driving on underinflated tires can shorten the life of your tires,
increase tire wear and lead to significant tire damage from heat, potholes and
other road hazards. Plus, keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure can
improve gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent. Consult your owner's manual or tire
sticker on the door jamb for manufacturer-recommended tire pressure settings.
And, look at your tires for wear and tear every time you stop for gas.

Did You Know? You can check for tire wear and tear by using a penny. Hold a
penny at the base between your thumb and forefinger so that you can see the top
of President Lincoln's head and the words "In God We Trust." Place the top of
Lincoln's head into one of the grooves in your tire tread. If any part of
Lincoln's head is covered, you have a legal and safe amount of tire tread left
and your tires probably don't need to be replaced. However, if there is any
space above Lincoln's head, or if you can see any part of the words "In God We
Trust," it's time for new tires. Click here for more tire care tips:

3. Don't ignore dashboard warning lights

Dashboard warning lights serve as notification that something may be wrong with your car, and include the Check Engine Light, Oil Light, Temperature Light, Brake Light, and more. When warning lights come on, pay attention to them! Read the owner's manual so you know what each of the warning lights mean and how you should respond.

Did You Know? If your Check Engine light is blinking while you're driving, you
should pull over immediately. The Check Engine light can signal any number of
system failures, from a fuel vapor leak caused by a loose gas cap to poor
acceleration caused by a faulty MAF (Mass Air Flow) sensor. If the light comes
on and stays on without flashing – yet the car seems to be running smoothly –
chances are your car can be examined by a mechanic after you get home, or when you can get to one. On the other hand, if the Check Engine light is blinking
while you're driving, pull over or get to a mechanic right away. A blinking
check engine light usually indicates a severe misfire that could damage your
car's engine.

4. Don't let your car run too low, or out of gas

You know it's important to fuel your body with food for optimal performance at
school and play, and it is equally important to fuel your car appropriately,
which means not letting your car run too low on gas. Most of today's vehicles
have fuel-injected engines that rely on in-tank electric pumps that use gas to
cool and lubricate its components. Driving your fuel injected engine frequently
on fumes could cause hundreds of dollars in repairs, and leave you stranded on
the side of the road, which is always a dangerous place to be. A good rule of
thumb – keep the fuel level above a quarter tank to keep your car running well,
and to avoid running out of gas!

Did You Know? You don't need to use the highest grade of gasoline for your car's engine to perform its best. The variation in quality between different grades of gasoline today is very small, so don't waste your money by filling up with
premium gasoline unless your car "requires" it (if this exact wording is stated
in your owner's manual).

5. Steer clear – take care of your windshield

The windshield is like the eye of your car. Therefore, it is critical to keep it
clean and clear for safe driving. Some parts of the country are, or will be,
experiencing their first rainfalls after months of being dry. You don't want to
discover that your windshield wiper blades don't work during the first rainfall
when you need them most. Wiper blades that have cracks, skip, streak or leave
spots or smears should be replaced. You should also check spray nozzles for
proper aim. If the nozzles are clogged, clean them with a needle. Use windshield
washer fluid in the tank to prevent corrosion and remove stubborn dirt, grime
and insects from your windshield. Whether it rains or not, you should try to use
your spray nozzles and wiper blades every few weeks to keep them functioning

Click here for guide on How to Replace Wiper Blades:

Did You Know? Carrying a squeegee with a scrubber in your car or trunk is a good idea. It can help remove splattered bugs, and maximize visibility.

6. Teen life moves fast, but your car doesn't have to. Slow down – avoid

Perhaps one of the best ways to keep your car well maintained, and keep you safe on the road, is to avoid speeding! It may seem fun to drive fast, or you might
simply be in a hurry (late for school, maybe?), but speeding is incredibly
dangerous, and bad for your car. In fact, driving slower puts less demand on
your car's engine and transmission, and also helps to reduce the amount of gas
you use in the process. Avoid all driving habits that put stress and strain on
your vehicle, such as fast driving, hitting curbs, and off-roading. It is also a
good idea to slow down and increase your following distance when driving in
harsh weather, as vehicles can lose traction in rain, snow and ice.

Did You Know? Speeding is so dangerous because it reduces your reaction time to avoid a potential collision. According to one website[2], among serious crashes involving teen driver error, 1 in 5 crashes occurred due to speeding. Remember that speeding is reckless driving.
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