Second Hand Car Buyer Advice – Look at the tyres, don’t just kick them

According to experts Continental Tyres Ireland, checking the tyres is critical, and it’s about more than just giving them a kick.

Buying a car is a big decision, and those who go down the second-hand route have more to consider when it comes to making the right purchase including  NCT, service history, vehicle registration certificate, as well as things like bodywork, fluid levels, upholstery, windows, electrics, accessories and tyres.

Take tyres, for example. Depending on their quality, the tyres fitted to the used vehicle when you buy it can have a significant bearing on its value.

According to experts Continental Tyres Ireland, checking the tyres is critical, and it’s about more than just giving them a kick as you walk around the car.

It’s essential that you know how much tread they’ve got left – easy to measure with a €1 coin or by looking at the tyres’ tread wear indicators – and it’s important to look at their make and model, just as you’re interested in the make and model of the car itself.

And that’s even more relevant if you’re choosing a premium vehicle.

Tom Dennigan, head of Continental Tyres Ireland, said: “All brand-new cars sold around the world are fitted with tyres that have been approved by their manufacturer.  Vehicle manufacturers work closely with premium tyre brands like Continental to develop specific tyres that ensure every car they sell drives as it was designed to – with safety top of the priority list, as well as the need to meet particular requirements in terms of performance on the road, comfort in the cabin and fuel efficiency.

“If you’re buying a used BMW 1 Series for example, being able to identify whether it’s fitted with approved tyres – that are in good condition – will help you make a confident purchase. If a used vehicle has been driven and maintained correctly, there’s no reason why its second or third owner shouldn’t enjoy the same experience at the wheel as whoever bought it new.”

The good news is that for those in the know, there are some handy symbols on the outside wall of a tyre that tell you if it’s manufacturer-approved.

And while there isn’t one for every brand, tyres are clearly marked at the premium end of the market – tyres from premium brands like Continental are designed for premium cars like BMWs, Audis and MINIs.

It’s just a question of knowing the markings to look for, such as:

  •  Audi: A0, A01
  • Alfa Romeo: AR
  • BMW/MINI: *
  • Jaguar: J
  • Mercedes-Benz: MO, MO1
  • Porsche: NO, N1, N2

For a more comprehensive list, visit

Tom Dennigan added: “We’re always going to recommend that for the best experience at the wheel, drivers choose manufacturer-approved tyres. But we do understand that as a vehicle ages, its owner might be interested in saving some money on accessories. But that should never mean compromising on safety, however, it could mean opting out of certain features that are designed to enhance performance or convenience, and that come at a premium.

“Runflat tyres for example, have a reinforced, self-supporting side wall capable of covering 80 km in the event of a puncture, at a maximum speed of 80kmh. But if your car initially came with runflat tyres and you replace them with a more basic option, don’t forget you might be stuck if there isn’t a spare in the boot!

“You also need to inform your insurance company if you do make this change as it’s technically a change of specification to the vehicle – and if it’s still in warranty, the dealer needs to know, too.”

Another puncture-busting solution is to go for tyres equipped with ContiSeal™, an innovative technology that seals 80% of punctures and enables drivers to cover a further 200km without a care.

And premium tyres don’t stop there. They come with features designed for comfort, too, like ContiSilent™ – technology that substantially reduces tyre noise inside the cabin by up to nine decibels.

Audi was the first manufacturer to fit its RS 6 Avant and RS 7 Sportback models with ContiSilent™ tyres, which have a foam coating bonded to the inside of the tread area.

For more information, visit