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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.


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.


Monitor your vehicles with Zubie

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Zubie for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
Being a mother of two teenage daughters can be very stressful at times. When you factor in driving, it makes you feel like you have completely lost your sanity. Although my oldest daughter is very responsible, I still can't help but worry a little each time she leaves the house. My younger daughter has been studying her driver's book to get ready for her license this upcoming summer.
Aside from the stress of having teenage drivers and thinking of their safety, I also think about the actual car itself. Is there enough air in the tires? Is the battery holding a strong charge? Is the temperature at a normal level? One of the best things in this day and age is technology. Introducing, Zubie.
What is Zubie, you ask?
Zubie combines a smart device (about the size of a matchbox) that plugs into a standard port in every car* along with a smartphone app that help you get the most from your car. Features such as:
  • Family Safety:  AlwaysSmart™ location tracking and alerts when family members arrive at home, work or school.
  • Problem alerts:  Be alerted to car problems before they leave you stranded, such as a Check Engine light or a dying battery.
  • Safe Driving:  Track and improve your driving, and connect and compete with friends. Monitor and coach teen drivers.
  • Trip Coordination:  Connect with friends to share locations and simplify coordination on short trips or car-pools. 

Know and understand what’s going on under the hood. Zubie helps you keep your car running by giving timely information about your car’s health, and alerting you to potential problems.
  • Engine Problems: Be alerted to problem codes reported by your engine, and understand what they mean.
  • Check Engine Light: Know exactly why the light is on, and avoid an unnecessary trip to the repair shop.
  • Dead Battery: Track battery levels and be alerted to a problem BEFORE a dead battery leaves you stranded.
  • Repair Cost & Insight: Know how serious a problem might be, and receive an estimate of likely repair costs before you go to the repair shop.
I really like the idea of receiving alerts on potential problems going on with any of our cars. I think it would save us money in the long run by having us get our vehicle checked before it ends up malfunctioning or breaking down.
You can check out the Zubie site for more information. Hit the road with Zubie! Order today with code SAVE20FEB and SAVE 20% on your Zubie Key plus one year of service (Offer good through March 31, 2014. Shipping charges apply)  It would make a great late Valentine's gift or a gift 'just because'!
Stay connected to Zubie on Facebook and on Twitter.
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