Part-worn tyres in Hull

by chris sanders on 10th May 2012

In this post I want to talk about a growing talking point in the tyre industry, the seedy world of part worn tyres, or as I prefer to call them, part safe tyres!

I’m writing this with a focus on my local area of Hull, East Yorkshire where whichtyres is based, although I’m sure that there is a similar picture across the country.

Times are pretty hard in the UK right now and when we take into account record highs on fuel prices and rapidly increasing insurance premiums it’s not surprising that motorists are looking for ways to save money on their motoring expenses. But should you scrimp on tyre costs and go second hand? I recently attended a conference ran by tyresafe and we were presented with the question, “would people fitting part-worn tyres also fit part-worn brakes?” I certainly hope that the answer to this question would be, “don’t be ridiculous” but the two concepts are not far apart. However the fitting of these is a growing trend and it’s predicted that around 4 million part-worns will be fitted this year.

So what are part worn tyres?

Sounds like a simple question but let’s be clear how it is that second hand tyres end up out in the market place again?
It’s fair to say that the part-worn business came about with European imports; in Germany tyres are removed when they get down to 3mm tread depth. These ‘scrap’ tyres where then shipped across the water and second hand tyre shops sold them onto price conscious motorists. More commonly now there are more UK waste tyres being recirculated, this happens as waste tyre companies are sorting though collected tyres and re-selling anything that looks like it can be used again.

What’s the problem?

Where to begin? Well tyres are changed in Germany at 3mm because the majority of a tyres performance is lost beyond this point. Braking distances start increasing dramatically as tyres wear down, Auto Express did a great test which questioned the UK’s tyre laws allowing tyres to be allowed to worn all the way to 1.6mm, you can watch the video here:

In addition to being nearly worn out the seller or customer will never know the history of the product, it could have been punctured and driven flat which could have damaged the structure of the tyre and such damage may not be visible easily. The UK tyres will have been taken off the vehicles for a reason, I don’t know many people that change tyres before they really need to, do you? Often tyres removed will have had a puncture in an area that can’t be legally repaired, they may have uneven wear or internally damaged in some way. Whatever the case many of these tyres that are being sold as part-worn are in fact only part-safe!

Auto Express test

In the April 2012 edition Auto Express published a shocking feature on part-worn tyres. They went out and bought 50 second hand tyres from a range of shops and got all the tyres inspected by an expert. In the UK we have laws which govern the sale of part-worns, the consumer protection act dictates acceptable repairs, tread depth & condition. Tyres must then be stamped to show that they have been inspected and meet these requirements. Of the samples bought only 1 was stamped, therefore:

98% of the tyres were sold illegally

Of the tyres inspected the following dangers existed; kerb damage, evidence of being run under-inflated, nails going right through the tyre and more than a third had shoddy illegal repairs, tears or punctures.

The inspector warned that some of these faults…

“could kill you, no doubt about it”.

Surely it’s not worth taking the risk on these potentially dangerous tyres, the small patch or rubber is the only thing keeping you gripped to the road, tyres really are life critical products.

Value for money?

Auto Expresses study also highlighted the illusion that using second hand tyres is a cheap way to buy tyres. By measuring the tread depths and comparing to new tyres they were able to calculate costs per mm of tread. On average the part worn tyres have a cost per mm of £6.33, yet for a new tyre this was down to £5.32.

So new tyres are cheaper and safer, whilst part-worns are potentially dangerous and represent poor value for money. I know I wouldn’t want my wife and son driving in a car fitted with tyres that could kill! Please take my advice and buy new, if money is tight there are some economy new tyres available which are a much safer option.

If you are looking for NEW tyres in Hull then get in touch with our partner, Tyremen on Witty Street,

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