A close up of a worn tire tread

Dangerous part-worn tyres are a national epidemic

The safety of part-worn tyres has come under scrutiny as a nationwide study by TyreSafe and the National Tyre Distributors’ Association showed that a third of those inspected were faulty or damaged and should never have been sold, Car Dealer magazine reported last week.

Independent assessors took a sample of 817 part-worn tyres and found a range of faults, including dangerous puncture repairs, exposed cords, damaged beads, penetration damage and evidence of them being run under-inflated – all factors which could put the driver in danger.

Additionally, most of the tyres (97%) did not fulfil the legal requirement of being marked as part-worn by retailers.

Stuart Jackson, chairman of TyreSafe, talked of his dismay over the results. He said: “The results of this investigation are truly horrific. Your safety on the road is reliant on the condition of your tyres so it’s essential that retailers only offer for sale either brand new tyres, or those used ones that have been carefully and thoroughly inspected to ensure they meet the various requirements laid down by law.”

Stack of tyres

Under the Consumer Protection Act, it is an offence to sell part-worn tyres that do not meet a number of basic requirements. These include an inflation test; at least 2mm of tread depth around the tyre’s entire circumference; repairs must have been carried out in accordance with the relevant British Standard; and the tyre must be permanently marked ‘part-worn’.

Jackson said that the figures show that dangerous used tyres are a “national epidemic”. Where previous investigations had concentrated on specific cases where there was a strong suspicion of improper behaviour, the results of the latest survey show that the issue needs tackling “at the highest levels”, he argued.

TyreSafe will work alongside local councils, government and Trading Standards Offices to deal with the problem, Jackson added.

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