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Part-Worn tyre purchases questionedObviously that is the tyres that are part-worn, not the survey; but joking aside, the fact that the largest ever nationwide investigation into the sale of part worn tyres across the UK has found some startling facts about the dangers of buying part-worn tyres is enough to not only raise a few eyebrows but to also set some very loud alarm bells ringing.

Because the findings of the survey have exposed the fact that thousands of drivers are being subjected to frightening levels of risk through the purchase of second hand tyres that fail to meet minimum safety standards.

Part-Worn tyres may be plentiful, convenient and cheaper but are they as safe? The study was co-ordinated by TyreSafe and the National Tyre Distributors Association, working alongside a number of local Trading Standards offices and councils, and it found that more than a third (actually 34%) of the 817 part worn tyres that were bought as part of a mystery shopper exercise across the country during the last year contained faults or damage which meant that they should not have been offered for sale in the first place.

And what makes it worse is that 97% of tyres bought had not been marked by the retailers as ‘part-worn’  - and this is a legal requirement.

“The results of this latest investigation are truly horrific,” exclaims Stuart Jackson, chairman of TyreSafe. “Your safety on the road is reliant on the condition of your tyres so it’s essential that retailers only offer for sale either brand new tyres, or those used ones that have been carefully and thoroughly inspected to ensure they meet the various requirements laid down by law.”


Among many things found to be wrong with the part-worn tyres (following an assessment by independent tyre inspectors) were dangerous puncture repairs, exposed cords, damaged beads, penetration damage and evidence of being run under-inflated – and all of these faults are potentially a safety hazard to the user and other motorists.

Part-Worn tyres may be cheaper but are they as safe? purchases questionedAccording to the Consumer Protection Act, it is actually an offence to sell part worn tyres that do not meet a number of principal requirements; requirements such as an uncompromised structural integrity to the tyre, a pass certificate for an inflation test, a minimum of 2mm of tread depth around the entire circumference of the tyre, and the fact that repairs need to be been carried out in accordance with the relevant British Standard. On top of all this, when advertising the tyre, it should be stated that the tyre is be permanently marked s ‘part-worn’.

It goes without saying that there are huge safety risks associated with buying part worn tyres, but many motorists continue to buy them because they are not only considered to be just as safe but that they are actually cheaper than new tyres, and therefore considered better value for money.

Sadly this is often wrong, as proved in a previous TyreSafe study that revealed that new tyres, besides being safer, actually were better value according to figures regarding the cost per useable mm of tread: for part worn tyres it was £6.33 whereas the equivalent cost for a new tyre was 16% less, at just £5.32 per mm.

Stuart Jackson concluded the findings by saying: “Previous investigations into the sale of illegal part worn tyres have focused on locations where there was a strong suspicion of improper behaviour, but these latest results show beyond doubt that this a national epidemic that needs tackling at the highest levels., We look forward to working closely with even more local councils, Government officials and Trading Standards Offices across the whole of the UK to eradicate this problem and help make our roads a safer place.”