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Auto Maintenance: Choosing One Repair Shop

One of the things I learned from my dad is that it pays to find a good auto repair shop and stick with it. True enough, I have tried using more than one shop, based on what I needed done to my car. Every time, I found myself going back to one shop that knew my car and the car's history. I had found that shop not too long ago. They had offered help with everything from rebuilding engines to dent repair. The shop is located near my home, and they keep records that went back for years. Thanks to the long history, they always knew what to do when something was not working as it should. If you think that finding one shop to meet all your needs is a good idea, let me help. With a little effort, you'll know exactly where to take your vehicle any time it needs some work.


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Auto Maintenance: Choosing One Repair Shop

How To Safely Buy Used Tires

by Noelle Snyder

Buying used tires may be a great way to save money as compared to buying brand new tires for your vehicle. However, there is the possibility that the used tires you are purchasing are so worn or damaged that driving on them could actually put your car, yourself, and your passengers at risk. Knowing the tell-tale signs of tire wear can help you shop for used tires in a way that allows you to enjoy your cost savings without worrying about potential safety issues in the near future. 

Tire Age

After about 5 years of age, you'll want to start looking for newer tires. You may want to make an exception if: 

  • The price is extremely low
  • The tire appears to be in better-than-expected condition based on the criteria listed below
  • You only plan on using the tire for a year or less (until you get a newer set of tires, for example)

In order to determine the age of a tire, you'll need to find the identification number stamped on the side wall of the tire. You should see the letters "DOT" (Department of Transportation) before the number. The last two digits of the number will let you know what year the tire was made. 

For example, an identification number ending in "5214" means the tire was manufactured in the last (52nd) week of the year of 2014

If you ever come across a tire without this DOT number, do not purchase that tire--at any price! If there's no DOT ID, there's no way to know how old the tire is and it's too risky to buy. 

Inside Liner

With a quick glance, outside wear is often easy to see. However, pay attention to the inside as well. Get a flash light if you need to, but take a good look at how the interior of the tire looks. If you can see things like rubber chipping away, exposed wires, large cuts, or punctures that were filled with a cork-like plug instead of a full patch, don't buy that tire.

Tread Depth

This will probably prove most helpful in your used tire shopping. You want a used tire with as much tread on it as possible. This means that the groves on the outside of the tire should be deep. The more shallow the grooves, the older and more worn the tire, and the less safe it is to drive on. 

Use the penny test to determine if tires have a safe amount of tread or not. Simply place a penny, upside down, into the grooves of the tire in various places. Each time you insert the penny, part of President Lincoln's head should be missing, even if it's just his hair. If you can see his entire head, the tread is too low. 

Buying used tires doesn't have to be inherently dangerous as long as you are a smart shopper. Combine these guidelines to help make safe, financially-savvy used auto parts and tire-buying decisions for you and your family.