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Used Tires a Bad Value and a Danger, Says TyreSafe

Following a month-long nationwide investigation that involved purchasing a random sample of 50 used tires, U.K.’s TyreSafe reported over a third of the tires were found to contain potentially dangerous forms of damage or non-compliance.


Empty pockets? Strapped for cash? Being short of a dollar or two can make life unpleasant, but it is never a reason to risk the safety of yourself and others.

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TyreSafe, the U.K. campaign group dedicated to exactly what its name suggests, says that hard-up motorists who opt for part-worn tires are doing exactly that.

The group has issued a stark warning following a month-long nationwide investigation that involved purchasing a random sample of 50 part-worn (used) tires. The tires were inspected by an independent tire expert, who delivered the verdict that 98% of the tires were sold illegally.

Of greater concern to TyreSafe was that over a third of the tires were found to contain potentially dangerous forms of damage or non-compliance. Indeed, the inspection engineer described one tire as having the “potential to kill” as it still contained a metal object penetrating 5 cm through the tread in a manner that was likely to result in sudden and total tire failure had it been fitted to a vehicle. Other serious safety breaches included dangerous and unsafe repairs, exposed cords, bead damage and evidence of run-flat damage.

“Although a number of clear regulations exist which permit the sale of part worn tires, it’s obvious from our investigation that these are not being adhered to,” commented Stuart Jackson, chairman of TyreSafe. “Not only are drivers putting their own lives at risk, but they are also endangering their passengers, which in many cases may be their children, and other road users. Before buying part-worn tires I would urge drivers to ask themselves if the risk of buying part-worn tires is really worth it?”


Ongoing motoring costs are reaching record levels and petrol pump pain is spurring growing numbers of drivers on to choose part-worn tires in the belief that they offer better value. However, TyreSafe’s investigation also disproved this myth as it found the average cost per millimeter of useable tread of the part-worn tires was £6.33, whereas the comparable cost when selecting an equivalent new tire was 16% lower, at £5.32.

“Even if properly marked, it is impossible to know the history of a part-worn tire, which makes it extremely difficult to be sure about its internal condition and safety credentials,” Jackson continued. “With rigorous quality controls on all new tires, fitting these as replacements is undoubtedly the safest option. What’s more, as our investigation showed, it’s often the best value too.”

TyreSafe’s warning about part worn tires has been echoed by other key industry figures. Chris Mason, managing director of Motor Codes, the provider of OFT-approved codes of practice for the motor industry, said, “We applaud TyreSafe in their efforts to help consumers make a well-informed choice when changing their tires. With so many tires being sold illegally, making sure that the full facts are available to consumers is of paramount importance. Clearly, be it through education or enforcement, this subject requires further attention.”


To help retailers understand their responsibilities regarding the sale of part-worn tires and drivers to understand what to look for, TyreSafe has added a number of new resources to its website. A dedicated part-worn tire section can now be found along with a free downloadable information leaflet. (Tyres & Accessories)

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