Road Safety News

New website highlights pitfalls of part worn tyres

Wednesday 6th January 2016


A website has been launched to make drivers aware of the dangers, real cost and legal regulations on the sale of part worn tyres.

The website,, was created by TyreSafe*, who say that millions of motorists choose to take a risk on safety each year by buying used tyres, despite the hazards.

Last month, (Dec 2015) an episode of the BBC consumer programme Fake Britain featured a report highlighting the dangers associated with buying part worn tyres.

Made with the support of Trading Standards and TyreSafe, the programme featured a family car fitted with four unroadworthy tyres by a part worn dealer, highlighting the poor handling characteristics of used tyres.

TyreSafe says the website has been built to “interrupt the purchase process of consumers” when they are actively looking to buy part worn tyres, and to encourage them to reconsider.

The website shows examples of tyres offered for sale by unscrupulous dealers. The “horrifying faults” includes tyres which would have been likely to suffer catastrophic failure on fitment, while unsafe repairs, cuts and objects in the tread are also revealed.

The site also gives guidance on the false economy which part worn tyres represent to the buyer and lays out the regulations and checks which need to have been completed before they can legally be offered for sale.

Stuart Jackson, chairman of TyreSafe, said: “ is TyreSafe's latest initiative to inform the motorist of the risks they take when buying part worn tyres. Safety should be every driver's primary concern and used tyres come with no guarantee that they'll provide that.

“Even if a used tyre has passed all its regulatory checks – and there's little evidence many are checked at all - it'll need replacing much sooner than a new tyre, increasing the long term cost and inconvenience.

“TyreSafe urges motorists considering buying used tyres to reconsider and remember part worn means part safe.”

TyreSafe is one of the UK’s leading tyre safety organisations, dedicated to raising awareness about the dangers associated with defective or illegal tyres. Established in 2006, it is a not for profit organisation and campaigns in line with current legislation and duty of care regulations.



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Re. Hugh Jones comment, surely the dealer would be almost bald?

A few years ago my employer leased a motorbike from a local dealer. When the tread depth wore down to around 3mm I asked for new tyres. It was towards the end of the year and I wasn’t prepared to ride in wet weather with less than 3mm tread. The dealer refused to replace them as they were still legal and wouldn’t replace until they reached the legal minimum. Needless to say the bike was returned.

Education on tyres and the correct pressures needs to be increased. As part of a road safety campaign, last year we offered free motorbike checks. Over 60% of all the bikes that we checked had under inflated tyres. Quite a few riders brought their bikes in because of poor handling issues only to be told that their tyres are running on around 10psi instead or around 38psi.

Perhaps Tyresafe could look at promoting some of their education messages towards motorcyclists?
Garrad Bailey, Bristol

Agree (3) | Disagree (0)

Many suppliers of part worn tyres look like they would not inspire confidence in any quality and safety credentials they allege to hold. If you do check out such a supplier, it is probably a good idea to go with your gut instinct, whatever that may be. However don’t forget the another factor though – that some cheap new tyres are just bad buys, having poor grip. Over the years independent tyre testers such as Which? have given a “don’t buy” rating to some new tyres due to poor performance even though they pass all the minimum legal performance requirements. Even with the new information labels introduced in 2012, sadly for many people tyres are still a “distress purchase” where the cheapest tyre is sought with little thought to the fact that not all tyres are equal.
Pat, Wales

Agree (3) | Disagree (0)

I can well remember having a 'robust' conversation with the lease company that provided our fleet, who refused to change tyres at 3mm because they were still legal, even though it was at the start of winter. As with many other things in our world, the legal limit is not necessarily the safe limit.
Iain Temperton - Norfolk

Agree (14) | Disagree (0)

Re-the fourth para. How would one recognise a 'part worn' dealer? A bit frayed around the edges? Creaky joints? Haggard appearance?
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (6) | Disagree (3)

Yes - amazing how many part worn tyres are for sale with a tread depth below what I would consider to be safe enough - why would you pay a tyre fitting/balancing fee of around £12 to have a tyre fitted with only 2mm to 4mm of tread? Surely it makes more sense to choose even new budget brand with the highest wet grip rating possible?
Paul Biggs, Tamworth

Agree (11) | Disagree (2)