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First Time Owner

I've finally bought my first car at the age of 54! In April 08 I bought a Honda Accord, new, and I like it very much. But I've put 45,000 + miles on it in about 30 months of driving!

My question is this: I know so little about cars, and I'm worried that I won't know if my dealer (to whom I want to take it for all its maintenance, to develop a relationship) is telling me the truth about it or just trying to get money from me. After my last oil change he said I'll need four new tires soon! Already?

Is there a reliable way of finding out what maintenace and repairs are truly needed and what's just salesmanship?

Thanks for your help. Jeffrey

If your tires lasted for 45K miles you did great, and yes they should be getting low on tread. You can examine the tires yourself. To see them easier you can turn the steering wheel full left, or full right and take a good look at the tread on the front tires. Put a penny in one of the big grooves and if you can see all the hair on Lincoln’s head your tread depth is worn out and the tires need to be replaced. To look at the back tires you might have to get down on your hands and knees and take a look.

Most of the tires that come on new cars don’t last very long, many are shot at 30K miles. 45 to 50K miles your original equipment tires is way above average. If you want tires to last a long time replace your tires with Michelin brand tires. In general Michelin tires last a long time. You might get 75K miles out of a set of Michelin tires on your Accord.

For general information on what maintenance needs to be done, and when it needs to be done, you need to refer to the Honda maintenance schedule contained in the Owner’s Manual. Nobody knows more about how to properly maintain the car than the folks who designed and built it, and they have imparted their wisdom in the manual.

As to the tires, 45k miles on a set of original equipment tires is actually very good. Typically, OE tires are not of the highest quality, and thus may last only 25k to 30k in many cases.

In any event, a visual inspection of the tires by you should prove to be very informative.

Are the tire treads worn evenly across the width of the treads, or are they more worn in some areas than others? Uneven tread wear is usually the result of a need for wheel alignment, or tires that are not balanced properly, or worn components like struts, ball joints, tie rod ends, etc. Worn components are not likely after 3 years/45k+ miles, but this is not impossible.

Are the wear bars beginning to show on any of the treads. This is a horizontal bar running across the tread. Once this bar is even with the rest of the tread, it is time to replace the tires. I replace my tires before this happens, as the ability of the tires to resist hydroplaning on a wet roadway are severely diminished as the tread gets more worn.

Did the service folks give you any information on the most recent service invoice about the amount of tread remaining on the tires? This is usually expressed in tenths of an inch or twelfths of an inch–as in 3/10 remaining, or 4/12 remaining.

I have never seen tread depth expressed in anything other than x/32 with x being anything from 2/32 (worn out ) to 9 or 10/32 new tire.

Read the manual, if you did not get one let us know.

You can go to any autoparts store ( not walmart ) and purchase a tread depth gauge. You can also purchase a haynes repair manual for your car ( not all cars are covered such as my vw jetta vr6 model ) and it will give you basic service to advanced service information including your tires and what you need to do. Plus coming to sites like this is also helpful.

I have a 2005 Honda Accord and got over 60,000 on the original tires. Getting 45,000 miles on Accord OEM tires is not out of the ordinary to me. I would buy a tire inflation pump and tire pressure gauge if you don't have them already. Check the tire pressure every week or two and fill them as needed. The tire pressure is on a sticker on the door sill.

Read the recommended services at each service interval in your maintenance guide. If the dealer suggests anything extra, like fuel injector cleaning or doing maintenance earlier than required, he is probably padding the bill. One item that should be done sooner is changing the transmission fluid every 30,000 to 40,000 miles. If your auto trans fluid hasn't been changed yet, it's time.