There’s the headline, during a previous Tyre Safety Month, of all the tyres pre-owned, we’ll call them that, but really, they’re part worn tyres, 98% were sold illegally and 16% were life threatening.
We’ve been selling tyres for over 40 years under the ‘current’ owner, but for over 50 years as Tyremen, so we have learnt a thing or two about tyre safety. We have watched recently as tyre ‘experts’ have fallen and been caught selling dangerous and uncertified tyres to the public, putting lives at risk.
But what are part worn tyres? Well, they are just as the name suggests. They are used, have been ran on another vehicle, taken off because its either had a puncture or the previous owner feels that there is not enough tread on it for them and their vehicle, simple.
However, it’s the tyres that have been checked, repaired properly and have then been stamped to prove that they have received the full inspection to confirm the tyres compliance with the law. Excellent, so far so good, yes?
No. Like most markets where there is a chance to make a few quid, then it is very possible that products that don’t meet the legislation get through, rather like cheap bottles of Vodka, look the part but really, could end up doing you some serious damage. So the tyres reach the UK, the vast majority aren’t checked and they are offered for sale to unsuspecting motorists.
Now we need to look at where these tyres are coming from. The main market for part worn tyres starts in Germany. The law in Germany states that tyres must be changed when they reach a minimum of 3MM on the tread depth. Why? Because below this, and this is something we agree with, the tyre starts to dramatically lose the ability to clear water and it extends braking distances. To make the supply of these tyres worse, or better dependant on your view point, winter tyres are now compulsory in Germany, meaning some tyres will be discarded a little sooner than previously.
The next issue is surrounding the integrity of the casing, because, well, you can’t see any damage that may have occurred to it, why would you? The typical motorist won’t know if the tyre is damaged, has been ran flat so that the side walls are compromised or if it has had a puncture in the shoulder and repaired. You just will never know the true history of the tyre.
What about the main reason for buying a part worn tyre? The cost. Currently within a few miles of our retail site in Hull, you can buy a 205/55R16 part worn tyre with 4mm of tread for around £35, that works out at £8.75 per mm. Now compare that to a brand new economy tyre with 8mm of tread for £56, that’s £7.07 per mm. It just doesn’t make any sense, a short term solution that’s covered in danger.
Others will have a different opinion on our view, mainly because we sell new tyres and never, ever touch part worn tyres, it is not worth the risk.