A new set of tyres can easily cost hundreds of pounds. It’s no surprise, then, that so many drivers opt for used ones. Here’s why they’re making a mistake…
Are Used Tyres Legal?
For some drivers, the very notion of ‘part-worn’ tyres probably raises concerns. The clear implication being that they may be worn and damaged; therefore compromising the safety of drivers. That said, anyone who’s purchased a second hand car has effectively purchased a set of part-worn tyres. Given that 8.1 million used cars were sold in 2017 alone it’s hardly a rare occurrence. It’s perfectly legal in the UK to sell, purchase and use part-worn tyres and businesses dealing with them are bound to comprehensive and strict regulations. The tyres have to be free of structural damage, have a minimum tread depth of 2mm across both width and circumference and be clearly marked with ‘part-worn’ in upper case lettering on their sidewalls.
But despite tough regulations, many dealers almost certainly ignore them. A recent study found that as many as 99% were breaking the law. The study involved 18 investigations into 68 used tyre companies and 75% of 129 inspected tyres they sold were found to be unsafe. It’s therefore exceptionally important to research the supplier and to check the tyres for the necessary specifications before purchasing them.
Here’s Why They’re Trouble
In theory, part-worn tyres that obey regulations should be functional and safe. After all, every driver will at some time be driving on tyres that have clocked up a lot of mileage. If we’re happy to go without constant changes, there’s no real reason to put us off second-hand tyres. After all, a lot of the second hand tyres for sale in the UK actually originate in Germany. Over there, tyres are legally required to have a tread depth of at least 3mm; much higher than the UK’s minimum of 1.6mm.
What all this means is that even if they are used they’re probably still in a fairly good condition. That said, there’s a reason these tyres aren’t attached to a vehicle; someone, somewhere, has decided that it’s time for a change i.e. the tyres were either considered unsafe (or not safe enough) or weren’t in the condition they wanted them to be in. The question needs to be asked, then, if they’re not good enough for someone else why should they be good enough for you?
The Bottom Line
It’s the ability of a tyre to grip to road surfaces that makes them so important and, over time, this grip fades as the tread depth is reduced. In other words, the more worn a tyre is the less grip and traction you’re going to get out of them. This means that worn tyres are objectively less safe than new tyres. If you can afford new tyres you should always opt for them. Otherwise, you need to ensure you’re dealing with a trusted and regulated provider and to keep a close eye on your tyres after they’ve been fitted; conducting regular checks and inspections. So, should you buy part-worn tyres? Only if you have absolutely no other option and you make sure to research and inspect what you’re buying thoroughly.
Punctures & Tyre Replacements – https://autoserve.co.uk/our-services/punctures-tyre-replacements/
5% Off New Tyres (Online) – https://autoserveclub.co.uk/new-tyres/