Kick the tires

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PBMS

Member
Mandarin
Hi everyone.

"Quit kicking the tires and make a decision".

What does 'kick the tires' in this context mean?

Thank you in advance.
 
  • Hi everyone.

    "Quit kicking the tires and make a decision".

    What does 'kick the tires' in this context mean?

    Thank you in advance.



    Hi PBMS,

    Metaphorically (sometimes literally) people can aimlessly kick car tyres as a result of anger, frustration or indecision.

    We don't use this term in the UK. I imagine, in AE, it means "stop wasting time/hanging around".

    Please see what others have to say.




    LRV
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    Actually, I believe it came from buying a used car, when it was often advisable to kick the tires to see if they are old and flabby. The tires are an extra expense that you don't want to take on.

    The meaning has broadened into a general saying now. It means "test it out", "check it out for flaws or errors", "try before you buy." If you are walking around a car lot, window shopping, a salesman may come up to you and say, "Do you want to kick the tires?" He doesn't mean that you should actually kick the tires. He means, "do you want to sit in it / ask questions about it / take it out for a test drive?"
     

    Kelly B

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I agree with JamesM. In PBMS's context, I think it means "stop gathering more information" (because you already know enough to make a decision.)
     

    PBMS

    Member
    Mandarin
    Thank you all, especially for JamesM's clear explanation.
    Now I understand the meaning of the phrase, and I think it's an interesting phrase. :)

    P.S.
    If I said 'I have understood the meaning of the phrase,' is that strange?

    Thanks.
     

    PBMS

    Member
    Mandarin
    Hi LRV,

    Do you mean 'I understood the meaning of the phrase' is also OK? :confused:

    I understood the meaning of the phrase.
    I understand the meaning of the phrase.
    I have understood the meaning of the phrase.

    Which one is better in this situation?

    Choosing the tense of a sentence is often confusing to me.

    Thanks.
     
    Hi LRV,

    Do you mean 'I understood the meaning of the phrase' is also OK? :confused:

    I understood the meaning of the phrase.
    I understand the meaning of the phrase.
    I have understood the meaning of the phrase.

    Which one is better in this situation?

    Choosing the tense of a sentence is often confusing to me.

    Thanks.

    Hi,

    "I understood the meaning of the phrase" is perfectly OK.

    "I understand the meaning of the phrase" is the best choice in this context.

    "I have understood the meaning of the phrase" sounds a little awkward. It is grammatically correct inasmuch as it is describing a completed action in the past.

    "I have been to the shops and bought enough food to last me for a week." - a commonly used phrase describing a completed action.





    LRV
     

    Sabelotodo

    Senior Member
    English, United States
    In the context of original example, "Quit kicking the tires and make a decision," to kick the tires means to stall--to make someone wait for a decision. It is generally well known that kicking the tires doesn't really give any useful information about modern types of tires. Kicking them is just something that we do out of ritual or for something to do to look busy while we're trying to make a decision--especially if a pushy salesperson is standing there trying to rush us into spending our money.
     
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