Tyres might be on the scrap heap but they can still be sold legally in the UK (Picture iStock/Birdofprey)
If your car needs new tyres you might be shocked at how much replacement rubber can cost. But while often cheaper than new, buying second-hand tyres can have serious safety implications. New research has found that nine out of 10 retailers selling used or part-worn tyres are trading in illegal rubber.
Charity TyreSafe and Trading Standards have spent the past five years investigating part-worn tyres on sale in the UK. They discovered that just 13 of the 152 dealers they visited were selling roadworthy tyres. TyreSafe chairman Stuart Jackson said: “As far as we’re aware there is no other retail sector with such an atrocious track record.”
What exactly are part-worn tyres?
Experts believe there could be millions of illegal tyres on our roads
Illegal tyres are becoming an ever more regular occurrence when police stop cars for vehicle defects. With winter approaching and the threat of more adverse weather conditions, drivers are being urged to pay more attention to their tyres.
By analysing data from Britain’s police forces, researchers from garage chain Kwik Fit found that half (50 per cent) of the defective vehicles stopped in 2015 had illegal tyres. That’s up by 10 per cent over 2013. Two thirds (65 per cent) of drivers who were given penalty points for a dangerous vehicle had tyres below the minimum 1.6mm tread depth.
A quarter of cars stopped with dodgy rubber (26 per cent) had tyres with the cord or ply exposed. Cords are part of the structure of a tyre. If you can see them it means the tyre is seriously worn and possibly structurally damaged and could be liable to suffer a sudden deflation or blow out.
This tyre is illegally damaged but it was still sold by a dealer as a part-worn (Picture © TyreSafe)
Second-hand or part-worn tyres are a booming business in Britain. But these tyres, often sold under the premise of saving drivers money, could be at best a waste of money, at worst lethal.
Tyre trade experts estimate that every year between four and a half and six million part-worn tyres are sold in the UK. However, when campaigning charity TyreSafe conducted research it found that 98 per cent were sold illegally and 34 per cent had potentially dangerous defects.
What is a part-worn tyre?
A bulge like this in a tyre is illegal and could cause a dangerous blow out
Millions of drivers are taking to the road with dangerous illegal tyres. A new survey suggests that one in four cars and light commercial vehicles on Britain’s roads will have an illegal tyre at some point during 2015. With 35.3 million vehicles on our roads that means nearly 10m could have dangerous illegal tyres. Here’s what you should look out for to prevent becoming one of them. Continue reading
Defective tyres can cause crashes. (Picture © TyreSafe)
Latest official figures show that dangerous tyres were a factor in a third of the casualties caused by defective vehicles. Department for Transport statistics revealed that defective vehicles were responsible for 2855 casualties in 2013. Dangerous tyres contributed to 968 of those, or 34 per cent. Continue reading