What Are Part Worn Tyres?

25 May 2018 by Lisa Simm

Part worn tyres are tyres that have been previously fitted and used on another vehicle and are being offered for sale second hand.

As part worn tyres have previously been used they often cost far less than new tyres, which is what attracts many customers in the first place.

Some part worn tyres come from vehicles that have either been written off or that are being scrapped but still have tyres that are useable. However, in the UK the majority of the second-hand car tyres offered for sale are imported from Germany where the legal tread depth is 3mm (nearly double the UK’s 1.6mm legal requirement).

Selling part worn tyres in the UK is not illegal, however, the Motor Vehicle Tyres (Safety) Regulations 1994 (reg.7) part of the Consumer Protection Act, states that any part worn tyres sold must meet the following criteria:

  • All part worn tyres must be marked with “Part Worn” in clear lettering that is at least 4mm tall
  • Be free from any large cuts, bulges, and lumps internally and externally. No plies or cords should be exposed
  • Part worn tyres which have not been retreaded must bear an “E” mark alongside the ‘”Part Worn” lettering
  • Part worn tyres that have been retreaded must bear the relevant British Standards mark alongside the “Part Worn” lettering
  • The tyres original grooves must still be clearly visible in their entirety and must be at least 2mm in depth across the entirety of the tyre’s circumference
  • Each tyre must pass an inflation test
  • Any damage from penetration must have been repaired in accordance with paragraphs 4-7 of BS AU 159

Are part worn tyres safe?

The problem with any second-hand tyre is that you don’t know the full history of the tyre you’re buying. Plus given that it is actually legal to sell tyres that have been damaged and repaired the potential risk posed by part worn tyres is further increased. Even if damage has been repaired or a tyre seems in perfect condition there could be irreversible damage to the integrity and internal structure of the tyre that is not visible on inspection.

Tyres are the only part of the car that is actually in contact with the road, so they play an integral part in keeping you and other motorists safe on the road. Tread depth plays a vital role in this, as the grooves aid the tyres ability to disperse water between it and the road surface. Lower tread depths can, therefore, increase your risk of aquaplaning as well as increase your braking distances. Using part worn tyres that have a lower tread depth could put you at a greater risk.

It is also advisable to check the age of any second-hand tyre offered for sale. Any tyres over five years old are usually best avoided as it is around this time that the rubber compound starts to become more susceptible to cracking and breaking, which could further increase the risk of a potential accident.

The false economy created from part worn tyres

Replacing your tyres can often come as an unexpected and costly expense that you haven’t budgeted for. Therefore the reduced cost of used tyres compared to new tyres can seem like an attractive prospect. However, when you consider all aspects of buying part worn tyres can actually offer false economy.

The legal tread depth for a second-hand car tyre to be sold is just 2mm, that’s merely 0.4mm more than the UK legal limit! The likelihood of tyres at this low tread lasting any length of time is minimal. Even if the part worn tyres do have more available tread left it is more than likely that they will have already covered several thousand miles. This means they are unlikely to offer you as much longevity as new tyres.

Furthermore just like buying many second-hand items, when you buy part worn tyres you are unlikely to have any comeback should you find a problem with the tyres. Similarly, in the unfortunate event, you were involved in an accident in which the part worn tyres were found to be the cause, you are unlikely to have any legal comeback if you wanted compensation.

Thinking long-term (Buying new)

Nowadays there are a host of tyre manufacturers producing tyres for all kinds of requirements and more importantly budgets. Many premium brand tyre manufacturers have branched out and now produce cheaper more affordable tyres under different brands. This means whatever your budget restrictions it should be possible to find new tyres to meet your requirements.

As buying new tyres is now more affordable they can offer better value for money in the long run than part worn tyres. This is because new tyres are likely to last longer than part worn tyres.

At Stoneacre we believe tyres are a key component of road safety, which is why we offer an incredible tyre guarantee. Our guarantee ensures that if any tyre supplied and fitted by us is found to be faulty or it gets accidentally damaged we will replace it either completely free of charge or at a heavily discounted rate.  Our guarantee lasts the lifetime of your tyre or until the remaining tread is less than 3mm.

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