Keep The Rubber On The Road With Quality Used Tires From B&M Auto Sales & Parts
Waukesha Auto Salvage Specialists On Used Tires
You might think driving around on worn out tires is nobody's business but your own. Well, besides being incredibly unsafe to yourself and everyone else on the road, you might be surprised to learn it's actually against the law.
We don't know the statistics on how many Wisconsin drivers get tickets for worn out tires, but we're pretty sure the highway patrol isn't going to let you off with a lecture on the dangers of driving around on baldies. As with most states, Wisconsin considers tires to be worn out when they’ve worn to the point of having only 2/32” of an inch of tread remaining. Here's the relevant part of our statute:
(2) Every tire shall have at least 2/32 inch tread depth in every major tire groove measured at 2 points no less than 15 inches apart.
But let's get real here: 2/32" is just the legal minimum. If you’re driving on wet, snowy or ice covered roads with just 2/32” of tread, you're just asking for trouble. The tire will have little, if any, resistance to hydroplaning and virtually no traction in snow.
If you’re at all concerned about hydroplaning on wet highways, 4/32” is about as low as you want your treads getting. Anything less and the tread isn’t deep enough to channel water out through the grooves in the tire fast enough. Your tires end up floating on top of the water (hydroplaning). This is usually a precursor to spinning wildly out of control on the highway.
Unless you’re planning to migrate south for the winter, odds are good you’ll be slogging through plenty of freezing rain and snow around Milwaukee. For adequate traction, you need enough tread to “bite” into that sloshy glop--at least 5/32”. Some manufacturers of snow tires even consider 6/32” the limit and have wear bars in the tread pattern to let you know when the tires have reached that point.
How Do You Know If You Need To Replace Your Tires?
If you don’t have a tire tread depth tool, you can easily check your tread depth using just a penny and a quarter. Here’s how:
Hold a penny, Lincoln’s head facing down, in a tread groove. If Lincoln’s head is covered by tread, you have more than 2/32” of an inch of tread remaining. If Lincoln’s head is just touching the top of your tread, or the tread is below his head, you need to replace your tires.
Another coin often used to check tread depth is the quarter. Holding it so Washington’s head faces down into the tread, if you see part of his head covered by tread you have more than 4/32” of tread left. There are many who consider the quarter measurement more relevant than the penny measurement, since 2/32” of tread is essentially unsafe in emergency stopping situations and in snow and rain.
Whether you’re using a penny or a quarter, it’s important to test tread depth in different parts of the tire: on both inner and outer grooves and in spots that are at least 15 inches apart (moving around the diameter of the tire).
How to Tell How Old a Tire Is
A set of used tires can be a great way to keep rolling without paying big bucks for new tires. It’s important to know how old the tires are, though, because older tires can develop cracking in the sidewalls that may not be apparent until they’re on the car, fully inflated and bearing the weight of the car.
Here’s how to tell: On the sidewall of all tires, there’s a number inside an oval. Before the year 2000, it’s a 3-digit number. For instance, you might see “167” in the oval. This translates to the 16th week of the 7th year. The problem with this coding system is that you don’t know what decade it’s referencing. It could mean the 7th year of the 1980s (which would date it to 1987) or the 7th year of the 1990s (which would date it to 1997).
Realizing the confusion this could cause, tire manufacturers changed their date stamping to a four digit number in the year 2000. With the revised dating stamp, the first 2 digits of the number indicate the week of the year and the second two digits indicate the year the tire was made. So, for instance, the number 1607 indicates the 16th week of the 7th year, or the 16th week of 2007.
Pop quiz: What would 1815 indicate as a date of manufacture? (answer at the end of this article!)
Understanding Tire Sizes
If you’re looking for a set of tires, you’ll want to look for a set of the same size as what’s on your car now. It is possible to go up or down a size, but there are just too many variables to go into here. If you’re not sure the tires on your car now are the correct size, check the label on the inside of your door jam. Car makers always put the correct tire size for the car on this label, along with info on what the tire pressure should be.
If you don’t know how to read a sidewall to determine tire size, here’s a quick primer. The sidewalls of all tires are stamped with a sequence of numbers that indicates the size of the tire. Here’s an example: 225/60/16. In this case, the 225 is the width of the tire (in millimeters); the 60 is the height of the sidewall (expressed as a percentage of the width—in this case it’s 60% of the tire’s width); and the 16 is the diameter of the wheel (measured in inches). As you can see, tire sizing is a somewhat odd combination of millimeters, percentage and inches.
What to Look Out For in a Used Tire
- Tread depth: Bring along a tire tread depth gauge and check the depth on the middle of the tire and the outside edges. Take measurements at several points around the circumference of the tires. Steer clear of any used tires with a tread depth of 2/32” or less anywhere on the tread. (New tires have a tread depth of 10/32" to 12/32", so if you find used tires with this tread depth it's a major score.)
- Damage and Defects: Look and feel for any signs of tears or damage on the inside and outside of the tire. A flashlight will help you spot any tire plugs on the inside of the tire, but you’ll be able to feel dimples or small impressions where patches or plugs have been used to repair a puncture. You’ll also want to inspect the bead of the tire for any signs of breakage or damage.
- Dry Rot: As tires age, they often develop small cracks in the rubber on the sidewall. This is dry rot. If you see cracking, the tire is too old to be trusted on the road.
Milwaukee Drivers Save On Quality Used Tires From B&M Auto Sales & Parts
If your tires aren’t passing the penny test, check with B&M Auto Sales & Parts. We have many sets of low mileage tires in a wide range of sizes. Besides the dozens of tires we have in stock on a regular basis, we can find just about anything you may need and get it for you quickly.
Before we offer any tire for sale, we give it a thorough inspection to make sure it’s road worthy. Like all the recycled auto parts we sell, we back our tires with a 90-day warranty, a 15-day return policy and a 30-day exchange policy. If there’s a problem after you get them mounted up, we’ll make it right. Sure, you might save a few bucks buying a set of tires from some guy on Craigslist, but if there’s a problem you’re completely out of luck.
You can try an online search for used tires using our parts locator tool, but for the most up to date results it’s best to just tell us what you need and let us track it down for you. With our access to the ADP Hollander Interchange computer network, we’re linked to over 2,300 other auto recyclers all across the country—and chances are good we can find anything you might need.
Contact our Waukesha recycled auto parts yard for assistance locating the tires you need.
QUIZ ANSWER: 18th week of 2015