Buying A Used Car? Here Is Information You Can Glean From The Tires

If you are buying a used car, there is a lot you can tell about the condition or previous use of the car just by looking at its tires. Here are various forms of tire wear that can give insight into the car's condition.


Tire cracks have different causes. The nature of the cracks can point as to their causes. For example, numerous small cracks on the tread blocks or sidewall typically affect tires that have been exposed to different weather elements or aging tires. The cracks occur because the tires deteriorate and lose their flexibility. Thus, a car with such tires has probably been parked outside for a long time or has had the same tires for a long time.


Feathering refers to tire wear that looks like a series of ramps that runs sideways across the tire. Various issues can trigger feathering wear, but two of them are more common. Car misalignment (where the car wheels don't point straight forward when you steer the car straight) is a common cause of feathering wear. The same wear can also occur if the car's suspension is damaged or worn.

Flat Spots

When flat spot wear occurs, one section of the tire is more worn out or depressed than the others. Again, flat spots have more than one cause, but the most common one is long-term parking in the same spot. When you park a car for a long time in the same place, the weight of the cars places extreme pressure on the tire surfaces in contact with the ground and causes the flat spots.


Cupping is a form of tire wear that looks like a series of hills and valleys. Cupping occurs when tires bounce on the road and the surfaces that hit the road experience more wear than the other parts. Any problem that interferes with the even rotation of the tire can cause cupping wear. Examples include bad shock absorbers, out-of-balance wheels, and other suspension problems.

Single-Side Wear

In single-side wear, one side of the tire experiences considerably more wear than the other. Such damage occurs if the weight of the car is not distributed evenly across all the car tires, the car leans, and one side of the tires experience accelerated wear. Unevenly distributed heavy loads, damaged suspension, and insufficient tire rotation are some of the problems that trigger single-side wear.

Hopefully, you will get a good used car the next time you purchase one. Look at cars for sale at a local dealership to see what your options are.