Most of you will likely have heard people talk about, or perhaps seen adverts promoting part-worn tyres – but do you know what they are?

They are, as the name suggests, tyres that have been previously used. Often seen as a cheap alternative when the time comes to replace your tyres, but as many will know – cheaper usually doesn’t mean better.

Part-worn tyres are usually sold by the likes of scrap merchants or any company dealing with second-hand vehicles. There are also some vendors who deal in part-worn tyres that have been imported from Germany – where the minimum legal tread depth is 3mm (vs 1.6mm in the UK). 

There are regulations in place in the UK that govern the sale of part-worn tyres to try and keep things safe. Though unfortunately many vendors have been seen ignoring these laws – a survey from TyreSafe discovered as many as 98% of used tyres sold in the UK did not comply with the regulations.

So, why shouldn’t you buy part-worn tyres?

Though the price might seem attractive, there’s only really one thing that it all boils down to and that is safety.

If someone has removed a tyre from their vehicle, they have most likely done so because the tyre is no longer safe and needs to be replaced. Though regulations do exist to ensure the tyres are still suitable for road use, the TyreSafe survey mentioned previously stands to prove there are no guarantees. 

With less tread depth than a new tyre, the tyre is going to have less grip and also a shorter lifespan, meaning you’ll likely find yourself buying new tyres again much sooner than you would with new tyres. As the old cliché goes; buy cheap, buy twice.

Other issues with the tyre could well be underlying and not something you can see, if a tyres internal structure has been damaged, this might not be visible without the tyre having been scanned – which as we’ve learned some vendors may not do. So you could find yourself experiencing a far more serious tyre failure, an unnecessary risk to both yourself and other road users.

Our advice?

Unless you know the full history of a tyre (for example, it’s come of a friend’s car) part-worn tyres are otherwise a complete gamble and should be avoided. There are plenty good quality, new tyres available – which, in the long term, could save you money vs buying part-worn tyres more regularly and will also keep you far safer than a potentially dodgy second hand tyre.

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