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Part Worn Tyres Typically Dangerous & Illegal in UK

By Stephen Turvil | February 24, 2019


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SafetyTyre Month research concludes the vast majority of part worn tyres are dangerous, illegal, and risk lives

Part Worn Tyres Typically Dangerous & Illegal in UK

Safety charity condemns part worn tyres

TyreSafe has warned that almost every part worn supplier it inspected was selling dangerous, illegal, tyres that could have caused collisions – so stay safe and buy new instead. Along with other organisations, the safety charity visited 68 retailers in England and Scotland for Tyre Safety Month in late 2018. It learnt:

  • 99% of retailers were selling dangerous and illegal tyres 
  • 75% of the tyres it inspected were unsafe 
  • Only 1 of 68 suppliers met the required standard 

Chairman of TyreSafe, Stuart Jackson, was horrified by the result of this investigation and others in the past. ‘Despite years of appalling results into the retail of part worn tyres, these findings still come as a shock’, he said. He also asked ‘how can it be acceptable’ for such a vast percentage of tyres to be dangerous?

Mr Jackson added: ‘The number of dangerous part worn tyres being sold is no doubt related to the widespread incompetence of the retailers. With just 1 of the 68 retailers found to be compliant with the law, surely the part worn trade must vastly improve its standards’. Buyers cannot have confidence in it otherwise, he said.

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Tyres and the law

The Motor Vehicle Tyres Safety Regulations define the criteria a part worn, non-retread, tyre must meet in the UK. It must, for example, be free of serious flaws such as: large cuts, bulges, lumps, exposed plies, and exposed cords. Further criteria includes:

  • Pass a test that confirms it is airtight 
  • Original grooves visible throughout 
  • Tread depth at least 2mm 
  • E mark to prove it meets European regulations 
  • Part worn written in capital letters at least 4mm high 

Such rules have been put in place as tyres influence how your vehicle brakes, handles and rides. On this basis, any imperfection can have significant consequences that impede safety. For instance:

  • Low pressure caused by a puncture makes the tyre less responsive, more likely to overheat and more likely to explode 
  • Cracks and bulges make the tyre more likely to collapse 
  • Low tread depth increases the stopping distance in the wet 

Avoid part worn tyres

Despite such consequences, most part worn retailers fall foul of the rules that keep their customers, other motorists any anyone else in proximity safe. Mr Jackson therefore said: ‘TyreSafe continues to urge drivers to buy new tyres’. There is a ‘potentially heavy price’ for choosing part worn instead, he added.

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