Protyre News


Cheap Tyres Red Alert


Whilst young drivers are taught about the importance of checking their car tyres as part of their driving lessons there's a lot more to learn about tyre safety.
I'd expect novice drivers to assume that motor businesses will be as reliable and trustworthy as others that cater for their financial, technology, fashion and leisure needs. So, who might imagine, for example, that independent garages and car showrooms in the UK aren't regulated and that anyone can set one up without being licensed to repair, service or sell our cars?
Thinking back to when I was a novice driver – long before the existence of today's Consumer Codes Approval Scheme (CCAS), I knew nothing about the risks I ran by buying cheap cars, garage services and tyres. Sadly, when I talk to motorists of all ages today I still hear stories about how much they've saved by buying cheap garage services and car tyres, not knowing the risks they run here.
'They're just for the wife's car' one told me after buying second-hand tyres locally. 'She only ferries the children about locally'.
So in this blog I wanted to highlight a category of car tyres that are always cheap and explain why these aren't worth the risk for any saving. They are called 'second-hand' or 'part worn' tyres.
For the following reasons, the majority of UK tyre centres do not sell second-hand or part-worn tyres but a minority do. You might even end up with them on your 'new' low cost car unwittingly, even if you didn't buy them yourself. So, it's good to know the facts.

Part Worn Tyre Facts

Here are some important facts to bear in mind when considering part worn tyres or fitting them to a car someone else will be driving.

  • 98% of part worn tyres surveyed by Tyresafe recently were being sold illegally and 34% of those had dangerous and potentially life-threatening defects.

  • New tyres are normally sold with around 8mm of tread depth, whereas part worn tyres may have as little as 2mm of tread – see Protyre's tread chart below

  • 2mm tread is very close to the legal limit of 1.6mm. Not only is it dangerous and unsafe to drive on tyres with less than 1.6mm of tread but it is also against the law and can result in fines of up to £2,500 and 3 penalty points per tyre.

NB: Most UK motoring organisations recommend that motorists change their tyres at 2mm tread, not wait till the 1.6mm illegal limit. Speaking personally, I change my tyres at 3mm because I appreciate the added grip these give me on wet roads.
Common sense says that cheap part worn tyres will need to be replaced sooner and more often than new tyres (at 8mm tread). For this reason, they are a false economy compared with value for money NEW economy tyres supplied by recommended house brands that are probably cheaper than you realise.

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Searching locally for part worn tyres I find tyre centres listed by Google as 'specialists' in this area. Clearly Google doesn't know what these are or why this matters.
Yes, I'm sure there are some honourable tyre businesses selling second-hand tyres but Tyresafe's survey findings suggest that even the good guys might acquire dodgy tyres inadvertently.
This could happen under cover of the UK's second-hand/part-worn tyre market being fed with redundant tyres from countries like Germany and Austria where higher minimum tread standards than ours are specified during winter driving conditions.
Please make sure you know the risks involved and pass this advice on to others when considering buying part worn or second-hand tyres. You can't know where they've been prior to driving on them and if you want to see why this matters, please watch the Tyresafe video link about Keith and his car after he'd fitted cheap part worn tyres.

Not sure whether your tyres need changing? 
No problem! Protyre are here to help. We offer Free Tyre Checks at every one of our centres across the UK. Simply click the button below to book your vehicle in to your local Protyre garage and let our expert technicians advise you on the condition of your tyres and if they need replacing, the best tyres suited to your vehicle.

Book free tyre check

Yes, part worns and second-hand tyres are cheap but they can never be described as good value when they could compromise your own and others' personal safety.
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About the author

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By Steph Savill
Steph runs the UK's only membership club for women drivers including VIP offers, affinity car and insurance schemes, a support helpdesk and a network of female friendly approved garages. She is passionate about the need for more regulation in the motor industry, better understanding of tyre safety standards and more women working in the motor industry. She was an early recipient of the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) Recognition Award for services to the motor industry (2015) and curates an award winning automotive blog written by and for women drivers.
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