Worn tire on honda crv

Hi all, I am looking at buying a used 1999 Honda CRV, asking price $5,900. The car has 103000 miles on it, drives well, engine sounds good, and tranny feels solid, and the car is very clean. One strange thing, though, the tires are all Bridgestones and all have about 80% tread left except the right rear which has only about 20%. The spare which is full size has only about 20% also. Could there be a rear end traction problem? I am not a mechanic but know a little about cars. I am looking to buy this vehicle very soon, but the tire wear has me apprehensive. Any help? Thanks,Frank.

It could be a person who replaced one at a time previously.

If this CRV is an AWD vehicle (most of them are), then you should be very concerned about the current owner having run the car for a possibly extended period of time with a mis-matched tire. Yes, I know that the AWD system on this model only activates upon demand, but if this mis-matched tire was on there for an extended period of time, it could well have done damage to the center differential/AWD mechanism.

AWD systems will tolerate only a fairly small difference in tread depth, and if you can see a significant difference in tread depth, then that difference is more than enough to cause some expensive damage. Also, the center diff on this model tends to be problematic to begin with, after ~60k miles.

Even if the mfr’s maintenance schedule does not list it, these cars need to have the diff fluid changed ~every 60k miles, using only genuine Honda Dual-Pump Fluid. No other fluid is acceptable. There is a fluid connection between the rear diff and the center diff, and the fluid is changed through the rear diff. Does the current owner have invoices showing that this fluid change has been done at least once? If not, then, over and above the mis-matched tire issue, you have another reason to walk away from this deal.

If someone ignores one part of the maintenance requirements for a car, then it is possible that much of the car’s maintenance has been ignored. If the current owner ignored two vital bits of maintenance on this vehicle, then I think that this is ample evidence of a poorly-maintained vehicle–despite its outward appearance.

I’m also thinking a bad alignment, a broken or bent suspension on that corner, or an accident involving that corner.

If you can find the DOT number on the tires, you can determine their age. If all 4 tires were bought together, then there is something seriously wrong with that corner. If they are different ages, then maybe not, although it is still a concern if it was driven for extended periods of time with mis-matched tires. You can google it if you don’t know what this is.