Reports suggest that the bargain of a discount part-worn tyre may not be a bargain at all
Have you ever bought part-worn tyres? Did you wonder where they originated from? Reports suggest that the bargain of a discount part-worn tyre may not be a bargain at all. Campaign group TyreSafe investigated the sale and condition of these cut-price, part-worn tyres in the UK, and the investigation revealed a thriving black market in illegal, and in some cases lethal, second-hand tyres being sold to unwitting, cash-strapped families.
The UK has strict rules on the conditions of sale of part worn tyres, all types of part-worn tyre must be marked 'PART WORN' and any repairs to tyres must comply with British Standards. By law, it is illegal to supply a part-worn tyre that is capable of being fitted to a motor vehicle or trailer unless certain conditions are met regarding specific markings and the general condition of the tyre. The Motor Vehicle Tyres (Safety) Regulations Act 1994 which is part of the Consumer Protection Act dictates the acceptable repair, tread depth and overall condition of rubber.
TyreSafe bought a random sample of 50 part-worns which were sourced online and from high street retailers. These tyres were inspected by independent tyre expert Ted Foreman who revealed that all but one wasn’t even legal. Ted said “in many cases, these tyres look great. They have loads of tread and could fool you into thinking they’re a bargain. But when you buy them, you inherit their dodgy history every time they ran up a kerb, every accident, every time the owner drove on them under-inflated. If you pump them up, next time they’re under-inflated it tops up the damage you caused first time around, and eventually leads to a blow-out.” Driving on under-inflated rubber damages the tyre structurally and this accumulates over time.
He added that most motorists wouldn’t get a chance to inspect a part-worn tyre before it was fitted, either. “You need the tyre to be removed from its rim to inspect it,” he warned. “That’s where the safety hazards lie hidden.”
TyreSafe chairman Stuart Jackson said “although a number of clear regulations exist which permit the sale of part-worn tyres, our investigation makes it obvious these are not being adhered to.” He demanded that Trading Standards act ‘as a matter of urgency’.
Motoring expert Quentin Wilson believes part worn tyres are an unregulated scandal with four million changing hands in the UK every year. He says “there is a real danger innocent people will get hurt. Think of it this way, a part worn tyre is something someone has chucked away and they will have done it for a reason.”