Used car buyers urged to check tyres as sales soar to record heights

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With used car sales reaching record highs in the first quarter of 2017*, now is a good time to remind buyers about the importance of checking the tyres before handing over their cash.

Check tyres ahead of buying a used car

Pristine paintwork and an immaculate interior create a favourable first impression, and while it might be impossible to detect any problems under the bonnet, it is easy to ensure the tyres are fit for purpose and will not need replacing in the very near future.

It is crucial to know what to look out for and how to detect signs of damage which can help potential buyers getting a poor value deal, because – unfortunately – it is not unheard of for sellers to swap a tyre in good condition with an older, more worn replacement, so they could sell the original tyre on for a profit.

If you spot any problems you can use them as a point for negotiation to bring the price of the vehicle down, as you will have to buy a new set of tyres in the near future.

1. Tread depth – the minimum legal tread depth for a tyre is 1.6mm across the central three quarters and around the entire circumference. If you are not sure how to do this follow these steps: locate the tread wear indicators, these are raised bars situated at regular intervals around the tyre and moulded into the tread grooves to indicate when a tyre is worn to its safety limit. When the tread is worn down to the same level as these raised bumps, your tyre needs replacing.

2. Uneven wear – if there is a marked difference between the wear and tread of the front left and right side tyres, this could indicate the wheels are not correctly aligned or signal a more serious problem.

3. Size – check that all the tyres are the same size.

4. Tyre pressure – while it is an easy job to alter tyre pressure if it is too high or too low, what is not so straight-forward is knowing whether any damage has been inflicted while it has been run-on without the proper inflated level.

5. Age – check the age of the tyre, if it is more than five-years-old it will be nearing the end of its recommended shelf life, even if there are no visible signs of damage, this is because the rubber will be deteriorating with age. Click here to see how to check the age of a tyre.

6. Spare tyre – determine whether the vehicle comes with a spare tyre and if so that it is safe and legal.

* Figures released by the SMMT show that 2,133,956 used cars changed hands in the first three months of the 2017, that is 3.4% more than in 2016.

Denna Bowman, Head Office

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