Part Worn vs New Tyres
25 Sep 2019
Tyres can be expensive and, when you need to replace them, you’ll often need to replace more than one at a time. Many people looking for a cheap alternative might consider part-worn tyres instead of buying new ones.
However, part worn tyres can vary significantly in quality as they’re commonly sold by scrap merchants or second-hand car dealerships. Although legal restrictions regarding the sale of part worn tyres exist, the industry goes widely unregulated. Therefore, part worn tyres may pose significant risks if they are added to your vehicle.
What's the law on part-worn tyres?
Buying and selling part worn tyres is not illegal in the UK. Approximately 5.5 million used tyres are sold in the UK each year. As costs relating to cars steadily rise year on year, it’s really no surprise that people often tend to choose the cheaper option, even though this can be at the expense of safety.
Before selling, vendors should ensure that their part worn tyres are in good condition. This means:
- no visible damage such as bulges in the sidewall or cuts to the tread
- none of the tyre’s structural carcass should be visible
- the tread of the tyre should be intact
- tyres should also be permanently marked as ‘part worn’ in large, upper case letters on the sidewall
As a buyer, you should ensure that the vendor is compliant with all these laws before buying part worn tyres. Tyres that do not meet these requirements could cause you to have a serious accident.
Difficulties with part worn tyres
The quality of worn tyres can be variable as one person’s idea of what is safe may not equate with another’s. Sellers are often trying to make money quickly, so may not pay attention to selling a safe product. Even if they are nearly new tyres, they won’t come with a manufacturer’s guarantee or fitting warranty. If your car is in a road traffic accident as a result of tyre failure, there will be no legal means of getting compensation.
Compromising on safety
When considering buying part-worn tyres, you should remember that if somebody has removed a set of tyres from a car, it’s usually because they were deemed to be unsafe.
Part worn tyres could be compromising your safety for the sake of money, as worn tyres will generate less grip, especially when they’re wet. Their tread depth is also often lower than usual, which results in less braking grip and an increased response time.
Studies have shown that up to 34% of part worn tyres are considered dangerous, which means that there’s a good chance that you’ll be reducing your road safety if you buy part worn.
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