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The Dangers of Buying Part Worn Tyres

More often than not, we’re taken by surprise when we need to replace our tyres. Whether you’ve hit a nasty pothole or your tyres have been worn down quicker than you expected, it’s understandable that you want a quick – and ideally inexpensive – way to get back on the road.

That’s why many people opt for the part worn tyres market; it attracts customers by offering low prices on tyres when they’re needed most. But part worn tyres don’t always provide the best deal for drivers. In this article, we’re looking at the safety of part worn tyres, and why buying them might prove more dangerous in the short and long term.


Safety is by far the most pressing issue when it comes to buying and fitting any tyres. We’re not just talking about your safety, but also the safety of any passengers and other road users, too. Ideally, part worn tyres will have been tested thoroughly for defects, and verified to operate safely on the road. But this isn’t always the case.

TyreSafe – during a joint investigation with Trading Standards – found that many part worn tyres that were being sold to the general public contained severe faults which could prove fatal on the roads.

These range from cracked sidewalls and shoddy repair work, to objects stuck inside the tyre and internal damage that would not be obvious to a customer.

Obviously, these issues should not be taken lightly. If, as a customer, you don’t check part worn tyres yourself before purchasing them, then it’s possible there are severe issues present that you’ll remain unaware of until it’s too late.

Unlike new tyres sold by a reputable supplier, part worn tyres have no previous road history. This means they’re a much safer option from the outset.

The cost

The appeal of part worn tyres is the savings they provide to drivers. If you’re forced to replace your tyres when you’re not expecting it or prepared for it, the low price of part worn tyres will feel like a godsend. However, a low initial price does not mean cheaper in the long run.

First, there’s the tread depth issue. New tyres will come with a brand new, unhindered tread depth of 7mm-8mm. Part worn tyres, on average, come with around 3mm. The legal minimum in the UK is 1.6mm, so with a part worn tyre, you’re looking at replacing them again much quicker than a new set. This adds up.

Of course, there’s also the possibility that a part worn tyre fails due to previous damage or wear. The cost of repairing vehicular damage could be more than you bargained for, and could be prevented by paying a little more for brand new tyres instead.

The law

The law should ensure that part worn tyres are fully vetted and safe before going on sale. Some are. Many aren’t, however. Instead, many part worn tyres on sale are entirely non-compliant with the law.

There’s the technicality of the ‘part worn’ stamp, for starters. The law states that any part worn tyres being sold to the public must come with a visible ‘part worn’ marker on the tyre. TyreSafe found that numerous dealers were ignoring this – which should immediately cast suspicion on the integrity and safety of the tyre in question.

In addition, any part worn tyres that are sold should undergo stringent tests to ensure they don’t have any serious defects or issues which could present a danger on the roads. Again TyreSafe found evidence to the contrary, with dealers selling tyres with defects both visible and non-visible to customers.

It is an offence to sell part worn tyres that:

Bumps, cuts, bulges and cracks are an instant red flag, and if a part worn tyre is being sold with these, then they should be avoided at all costs.

Of course, it’s essential for customers to check the tyres themselves before handing over a penny, but it’s also easy for cowboy dealers to take advantage of the unsuspecting public. This not only puts drivers’ lives in danger, but also the lives of anybody in their car or sharing the road with them.

To be as safe as possible on the roads, it’s always recommended to buy new tyres from a reputable, trusted supplier. This way, although you pay a little more initially, you’re investing in your safety and the long-term performance of your vehicle.

Treadfirst are a trusted tyre supplier working across East Anglia to provide and fit quality tyres at great prices. Our experienced engineers can help you find the ideal set of new tyres for your car, whatever the make or model, and offer new tyres from leading brands including Bridgestone, Goodyear, Michelin and Continental. To find out more about our tyre fitting service, contact our friendly team today.

Get in touch today for the best quality advice, competitive pricing and a personal service