from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- v. To inspect something to ensure it meets expected standards or has favored characteristics, typically before committing to purchasing or otherwise selecting it.
- v. To inspect a vehicle's tires by kicking them to check for defects or poor quality.
Early 20th century. Tires on early automobiles were made of thin rubber and were sometimes of poor quality, hence a prospective buyer might kick them to see how thick they were or if they would deflate. (Wiktionary)