The dangers of part-worn tyres

In these difficult times it’s perhaps understandable that a set of new tyres can come at a greater financial cost than usual. One solution for some would be to look at part-worn tyres, those already used by someone else and therefore avoiding the need for new rubber altogether.

Industry body TyreSafe believe as many as 5.5 million used tyres are sold in the UK every year and whilst the trade is not illegal the tyres still need to be in good condition. Vendors are bound by law to adhere to strict regulations, namely that they should have at least 2mm of tread across the width and circumference and that they should be clearly and permanently labelled as part-worn on their sidewalls.

Flouting regulations

Although straightforward, many part-worn suppliers are known to flout these regulations leading to tyre safety issues for customers and licensing authorities. This was particularly highlighted in March 2020 when local business owner and campaigner, John Stone set out to expose the taxi licensing offices of Liverpool, St Helens, Wirral and Sefton councils. John fitted his vehicle with three part-worn tyres aged between 17 & 21 years and an illegal part-worn winter tyre imported from Germany 10 years prior.

Whilst the tyres used were not labelled as ‘part-worn’, as they should be by law, the councils lack of concern for checking beyond this raised some very serious concerns. John Stone commented on this, saying:

“Part worn tyres are not safe, yet some councils are awarding licenses to vehicles running on illegal and potentially unsafe tyres – it is a disgrace and the licensing of vehicles running illegal part worn tyres needs to be stopped now.”

In light of this, when approached by John with his findings, St Helens council has taken the news with great seriousness. They have even agreed to ban the use of part-worn tyres on all licensed vehicles.

Stefan Hay, chief executive of National Tyres Distribution Association (NTDA) comments on the matter:

“As we have advised the Department for Transport on a number of occasions part-worn tyres should not be fitted to vehicles, full stop.”

Whilst many believe their tyres are safe, a study by TyreSafe found that 98% of part-worn tyres were sold illegally and didn’t meet legal requirements. With over 40% of vehicle related deaths in the UK resulting from the improper use of tyres, we urge that road users check their tyres in order to improve road safety.

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