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  #1  
Old 31 March 2007, 01:24 AM
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Icon05 Kickin' Tires

Does anyone know where the old "kick the tire" action when buying a car came about? Oh how I will make hubby join the board one day
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  #2  
Old 31 March 2007, 04:21 AM
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I've heard it used mostly in reference to used cars, and I've always assumed it had to do with the assumption that used car dealers were crooks, and that the "good condition Mercedes, barely done ten thou, belonged to an old lady who only drove it to church" would in fact fall apart as soon as you drove it off the lot. Maybe kicking the tires gave those hanging-by-a-thread cars a chance to disintegrate before you signed the papers?
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  #3  
Old 31 March 2007, 04:40 AM
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Now, this is all speculation (aka, probably, an UL.) But I thought this came from way back in the day when the tires were basic rubber (for lack of a better word). But even if the body of the car looked good, if the rubber in the tires was weakened or old, it would break (or crack) when kicked.

Again, this is my understanding of the beginning of this legend, probably all UL.

But I helped.
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  #4  
Old 31 March 2007, 06:40 AM
Troberg Troberg is offline
 
 
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Kicking doesn't say anyting about the car, but putting your foot on the top of the tire and giving it a good push can tell you if the tire is underinflated. Not much use if you are buying a car, as it's easy to fix...
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  #5  
Old 31 March 2007, 08:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zabia View Post
Now, this is all speculation (aka, probably, an UL.) But I thought this came from way back in the day when the tires were basic rubber (for lack of a better word). But even if the body of the car looked good, if the rubber in the tires was weakened or old, it would break (or crack) when kicked.

Again, this is my understanding of the beginning of this legend, probably all UL.

But I helped.
You're right. Back when tires used tubes and were made from actual rubber it was a good way to check the bead and to see if the sidewalls were in good shape. It isn't much use with modern tires, but still somewhat practicle if you're buying an antique...a lot of older bikes here still use Russian tires with tubes.
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  #6  
Old 31 March 2007, 05:23 PM
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Kicking or pushing on the tire with your foot? I looked at a car when I was about 16. Having seen TV where people do it, I thought that's what you were supposed to do while mulling over in your head if you wanted to buy the darn thing. Hey, I WAS 16, but on the other hand, I had also taken mechanics in school. Anyway, having kicked one tire, I heard a clunk. So I put my foot on the tire, and rocked it back and forth pushing with my foot. Well, turns out the clunk was a loose suspension part on the front end. Probably that's why the guy didn't want to let me test drive the car, saying he didn't have it licensed. I didn't buy it obviously.
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  #7  
Old 31 March 2007, 08:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charlie23 View Post
You're right. Back when tires used tubes and were made from actual rubber it was a good way to check the bead and to see if the sidewalls were in good shape. It isn't much use with modern tires, but still somewhat practicle if you're buying an antique...a lot of older bikes here still use Russian tires with tubes.
Whoo-hoo. I was right. As you could tell from all the hedging in my post, I was a bit nervous about looking like an idiot. Thanks.
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  #8  
Old 01 April 2007, 12:59 AM
Rocketman
 
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I did a little research, but couldn't find anything to back my opinion, but I think it goes waaaay back to a time before pneumatic tires, when tires were solid rubber and the tires would sometimes work loose from the wheel.
Before starting a trip, it was a good idea to kick the tires , to see if any of them are coming loose from the wheel.

Any Old timers out there that can back this or shoot me down?

Truck drives sometimes check the tire by taping them with a bar or bat as a quick test, as it is hard to tell if vehicle with dual wheel as low tire pressure or even a flat tire.

RGM
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  #9  
Old 01 April 2007, 05:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JD65 View Post
Anyway, having kicked one tire, I heard a clunk. So I put my foot on the tire, and rocked it back and forth pushing with my foot. Well, turns out the clunk was a loose suspension part on the front end. Probably that's why the guy didn't want to let me test drive the car, saying he didn't have it licensed. I didn't buy it obviously.
So you're saying the method works?
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  #10  
Old 01 April 2007, 05:31 AM
Troberg Troberg is offline
 
 
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While discussing tire tests, something I've seen occasionally on cars and very often on aircraft is a small dab of paint at one point of the circumference of the rim, over the rim edge and tire edge. This is in order to check that there is no slipping between the rim and tire. Not a big problem on cars, but can happen on aircraft, especially those which don't spin up the wheels before landing.

Quote:
Anyway, having kicked one tire, I heard a clunk. So I put my foot on the tire, and rocked it back and forth pushing with my foot. Well, turns out the clunk was a loose suspension part on the front end. Probably that's why the guy didn't want to let me test drive the car, saying he didn't have it licensed. I didn't buy it obviously.
Ouch, if it was that bad, I don't know if I would have dared to test drive it. If it clunks when kicked, things are about to fall apart.
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  #11  
Old 01 April 2007, 06:39 AM
charlie23
 
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Quote:
Any Old timers out there that can back this or shoot me down?
if it was solid rubber (a tractor tire for instance) a better method would be to bend over and look at it. Kicking it probably wouldn't make any difference as the weight of the vehicle wouldn't allow it to move much without some serious effort.

Last edited by charlie23; 01 April 2007 at 06:48 AM.
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  #12  
Old 03 April 2007, 06:59 AM
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I once was told by a car mechanic that it is not right to "kick the tire" but to put your foot on the upper half and push-release-push-release.
This way you can check if the wheel bearings are ok or worn out.
Maybe kicking the tire has the same effect, but I started to use the technique the mechanic told me.

Gavida
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  #13  
Old 04 April 2007, 07:57 AM
JD65
 
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It kind of worked, but it was more of a push release as mentioned by Gavida's post. It was a bad ball joint, apparently, just about to fall out, which caused the clunking noise. Bad bearings will also make some noise, but it is more noticeable by feel than noise in my experience.

Also, when I was 16, the appeal of driving a car far outweighed the danger of having something fall off while I was driving.
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  #14  
Old 04 April 2007, 09:34 AM
Troberg Troberg is offline
 
 
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Quote:
I once was told by a car mechanic that it is not right to "kick the tire" but to put your foot on the upper half and push-release-push-release.
This way you can check if the wheel bearings are ok or worn out.
Yep, that's how to do it. It should be nice and silent. Testing the suspension by putting some weight over the wheel and see that the chassis stop bobbing quickly is also a good test to do.

Another thing I do when buying a car is to smell the exhaust when it's warm. It should not smell petrol or oil.

It's also very important that the oil is either clear or black, never grey. If it's grey, you got water in it and that possibly means a new engine.
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  #15  
Old 04 April 2007, 05:53 PM
kingohrts
 
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I always heard that "kicking the tires" was something a car buyer did that would cause the salesman to recognize this was a buyer who had no clue about cars, and was therefore an easy mark. I, at this moment can't remember where I heard that, but I will say it was a rule of my father's that when car buying, "No son of mine will kick a tire."
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  #16  
Old 04 April 2007, 06:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Troberg View Post
If it clunks when kicked, things are about to fall apart.
My old Cougar, which had bad struts and loose suspension, would squeak and creak pretty much any time you touched it. If you were to kick the tire or give the front end a little shove, or even shut the door, it would bob up and down like it had hydraulics and make this horrible SQUEAKA SQUEAKA SQUEAKA noise. Driving it around was embarrassing; people would stop and stare at me because the car squeaked and creaked so loudly. It made the loudest noise when I turned the steering wheel - it often sounded like a dying cat. Amazingly, we managed to sell it in that condition. (With bald tires, too!)
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  #17  
Old 04 April 2007, 06:16 PM
zerocool zerocool is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Troberg View Post
While discussing tire tests, something I've seen occasionally on cars and very often on aircraft is a small dab of paint at one point of the circumference of the rim, over the rim edge and tire edge. This is in order to check that there is no slipping between the rim and tire. Not a big problem on cars, but can happen on aircraft, especially those which don't spin up the wheels before landing..
Another reason for marking the tire and the wheel at the same spot is to keep it balanced. If you puncture your tire and decide to fix it, mark the tire and the wheel before you take the rubber off so you can put it back in the same place. This will keep it balanced.
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  #18  
Old 04 April 2007, 10:50 PM
Meka Meka is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JD65 View Post
Kicking or pushing on the tire with your foot? I looked at a car when I was about 16. Having seen TV where people do it, I thought that's what you were supposed to do while mulling over in your head if you wanted to buy the darn thing. Hey, I WAS 16, but on the other hand, I had also taken mechanics in school. Anyway, having kicked one tire, I heard a clunk. So I put my foot on the tire, and rocked it back and forth pushing with my foot. Well, turns out the clunk was a loose suspension part on the front end. Probably that's why the guy didn't want to let me test drive the car, saying he didn't have it licensed. I didn't buy it obviously.
I autocross, and one of the checks done in the pre-meet inspections is something similar. Inspectors push on each wheel to check the bearings and suspension.

On the subject of marking tires, one of the things we'll do to see if we need more air in our tires is make chalk marks on the sidewalls before making a run. If some of the chalk gets rubbed off during the run, it means the tire is rolling onto its sidewalls in the turns and needs more air pressure.
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  #19  
Old 31 May 2007, 11:15 PM
drdelco
 
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hello...i stumbled across this webpage last night and i enjoyed reading all the replies..so i signed up !!..ive been a gm certified technician for over 20 years and a ase master tech for about 16 years,,im also a automotive trivia nut..i thought i would try to help answer the question about kicking the tires and how that got started..maybe i could tease everyone here with a few hints...so here goes!!!..kicking the tires has nothing to do with the tire itself...or the suspension...it was a practice that would have been done a very long time ago,,,and it would have only been done on a used vehicle. when a person was kicking the tires they were really checking for something on the car that back then would have been a very important thing..any ideas?????
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  #20  
Old 01 June 2007, 06:59 AM
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Gavida Gavida is offline
 
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First: Welcome to the board

Regarding the tire question I am drawing a blank right now.
Could you give a hint about the time this started?
Did cars still have spokewheels?

Gavida
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