The Dangers of Part Worn Tyres
We’ve all been there, we suddenly find that we need two new tyres, chances are you’re finding this out during your MOT and you’re 3 weeks away from payday. So do you buy new, or part worn?
Part worn tyres are sold everywhere, but are they a safe choice? Does it even make financial sense to buy them? It turns out they do actually pose safety risks, and they are a false economy. Initially they may be cheaper, but for the price, they wear down to the legal limit quicker than new tyres.
Let’s start with the dangers:
The dangers of part worn tyres have been identified and tested by tyre manufacturers, motoring organisations and independent testers. Part worn tyres have all been fitted to a vehicle before you purchase them. This means they could have hit many pot holes before you buy them - They could already be damaged.
Also, new tyres come with 8mm tread depth, whereas most part worn tyres have only around 3mm, some even less! Although this is above the legal limit of 1.6mm, tyres below 3mm tread depth perform worse in terms of safety. Many part worns are sold with even less than 3mm tread however, and some with less than the legal minimum!
Another issue is that the tyres are sold quite often being already damaged. Some of this damage you can see, such as tears or bulges in the side walls, but some you can't, like shards of glass which increase the chance of a puncture or even a tyre blowout, or damage to the tyres structural integrity - such as hitting potholes.
A study by Tyresafe concluded that around 5.5million part worn tyres are sold in the UK per year and although there are regulations around part worn tyres, many of the ones sold don’t actually meet them.
Additionally, the tyres sold should have a minimum of 2mm of tread left and be marked clearly as part worn on the sidewalls. An investigation in partnership with BBC Scotland demonstrated that only 2 in 10 were sold legally. The other eight either had incorrect markings or were unroadworthy. TyreSafe have also undertaken many investigations into part worn tyres including with the Trading Standards Authority to help keep drivers safe on the roads.
So what are the benefits of new tyres?
Premium tyres deliver on performance and safety, whereas part worn tyres can be sold damaged and unfit for purpose. Even though they’re cheaper than buying new, part worn tyres are a false economy. This means that fitting part worn tyres mean that you’ll have to replace them sooner.
You might save around 40% on price over buying new, but you’re actually only getting around 1.4mm of tread depth before you have to change them again, instead of the 6.4mm you’d get with buying new (averaging 3mm for part worn and 8mm for new). In short, you’ve have to buy 4 part worn tyres to travel the distance of a new tyre.
In conclusion, if you travel down to your local part worn tyre supplier and haggle a deal where you’re only paying 25% of what you would for a replacement tyre, you’re getting around the same value that you would buying a new tyre, but you’re also running the risk that the tyre is already damaged. It’s usually not worth it.
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Special thanks to Matti from MWM Digital for helping us with the blog!