Used & Part Worn Tyres

The best option for any car is to buy brand new car tyres. However, there are times when people end up with spare, previously used tyres, or are tempted to save money with secondhand tyres. So, is there anything worthwhile in using these products? Let’s answer some of the most common questions about using partially worn tyres.

The only noticeable benefit to buying previously worn tyres is that they can be up to 80% cheaper than new tyres.

Economy of Part Worn

The cost of a part-worn tyre is, at first sight, lower than that of a new tyre. The very nature that they are a used product reflects this. However, despite the initial cost, part worn tyres do not offer good value for money in the long term. Given the fact that a part-worn tyre has already been used, they come with significantly less tread depth than a new tyre. A part worn tyre typically has 4mm and under, whereas a new tyre on average comes with 8mm of the tread. When purchased a part-worn tyre may have as little as 2mm of the tread. In the UK, the legal minimum tread depth of a tyre is 1.6mm across 75% of the circumference of a tyre. So, it would not be long before another new set of tyres was required.

Are Used Tyres Worth Buying?

Buying used tyres is highly uneconomic in the long run and, besides this, can be a very risky thing to do.

Should You Buy Part Worn Tyres?

In the UK it is not illegal to sell a part-worn tyre. Legislation has been put in place to permit the sale, subject to the tyres meeting a number of strict criteria. However, the number of part worn tyres sold illegally is worrying and poses a serious safety risk to motorists.

A campaign carried out by TyreSafe discovered that 98% of part worn tyres they checked were sold illegally – with 34% of the tyre containing dangerous forms of damage.

Trading Standards

To protect motorists, trading standards have defined the legal expectations of a part worn tyre.

  • Have an EC approval mark and a speed & load capacity index
  • Be marked with ‘PART-WORN’ in upper case letters at least 4mm high.
  • Not have a cut over 25mm or 10% of the section width of the tyre
  • Not have any internal or external lump, bulge or tear
  • Not have any ply or cord exposed
  • Not have any penetration damage that has not been repaired
  • The original tread pattern of the tyre must be at least 2mm deep
Part worn tyres must:

Buying used tyres is highly uneconomic in the long run and, besides this, can be a very risky thing to do.

If you have looked into buying part worn tyre and believe that the tyres that were up for sale did not comply with the legislation, it would be advisable to contact Trading Standards.

Hidden Dangers of Part Worn Tyres

One of the main reasons is the potential dangers that lurk within the internal structure of a used tyre. Although the tyres do need to meet certain regulations, the test which takes place when a part-worn tyre is put through to deem whether it is safe for reselling does not make use of any x-ray machinery and as such, it is impossible to tell what unseen damage may have occurred.

Most part worn tyres are imported, mainly coming from continental Europe, with many coming from Germany where the legal minimum tread depth is 3mm. The tyres are typically sold with around 50% of the original tread depth – meaning they have often been used for several thousand miles prior to the sale.

It is hard to know the full history of a part-worn tyre. You can never truly know how often they have hit kerbs, been run with the wrong air pressure, or if there is any irreparable invisible damage.

Why Are Used Tyres Uneconomic If They Are Cheaper?

In the long run, an average driver does not have enough knowledge to check the true condition of a partly worn tyre. Second-hand tyres can come from various sources, including crashed cars, which means there is always the potential possibility that such products have severe internal damage. Furthermore, you also can’t tell if such tyres were used with their correct tyre pressure values, or if they were placed in correct tyre storage conditions off-season.

How does this relate to money? Because of their questionable quality – and the fact they are already partially worn down – you will often wear through these tyres quite quickly. Whether its due to existing damage becoming more apparent or just adding to the tread wear, you will quickly need to spend more money to buy replacement tyres.

What Are The Dangers Of Using Partly Worn Tyres?

As already mentioned, partly worn tyres are more susceptible to tyre damage or defects. In extreme situations, such a tyre may even break or explode while driving, which is a serious threat to your safety.

New And Partly Worn Tyres

Ultimately, only new tyres can ensure your full safety. This is even more vital when considering winter tyres, as the tread depth as plays a vital role. New winter tyres are around 8-10 mm deep, which guarantees at least two seasons of safe driving. Second-hand winter tyres, however, will often have shallower treads, which can be dangerous, as it well noted that winter products lose their seasonal properties when the tread wears down past 4 mm.