Are part worn tyres safe?

Thursday 10th December 2020

how old are my tyres

Part worn tyres, or second-hand tyres, are easily available to buy from many garages, dealerships and tyre manufacturers. However, are part worn tyres a safe choice for your vehicle?

Our guide dives into the possible dangers part worn tyres can pose, whether part worn tyres are legal and how you should choose between new tyres and second-hand tyres.

What are the dangers of part worn tyres?

Safety is an important aspect to consider when deciding whether to buy part worn tyres. This is because part worn tyres have already been fitted to a vehicle previously, meaning that, naturally, these tyres will have been worn down before you purchase them. Some of the main dangers of part worn tyres include:

  • Less tread depth – it’s likely that when purchasing second-hand tyres, the amount of tread depth left on the tyre will be much less than when new. This will therefore generate less overall grip, especially in wetter conditions.
  • Reduced performance – as well as grip, other elements that will be affected by using part worn tyres would be traction, cornering and your braking grip. This would lead to an overall minimised performance for your vehicle.
  • Safety – your safety in general is something to consider when purchasing part worn tyres. Due to the reasons above purchasing part worn tyres is a risk that sometimes can lead to accidents.

Are part worn tyres legal?

In the UK, the selling and buying of part worn tyres is legal. However, tyre vendors must abide by a number of strict regulations, which include:

  • Condition – the used tyres being sold are in a good condition, meaning they do not have any large cuts in the thread, bulges in the sidewall and none of the cords are visible.
  • Tyre tread depth – the used tyres must also have at least 2mm of tread across the width of the tyre, as well as the circumference.
  • Clearly marked – these used tyres must also be clearly marked as ‘part worn’ in capital letters on the sidewalls of the tyres.

Should I buy part worn tyres?

Of course, deciding whether to buy part worn tyres is completely your choice. There are also some advantages of buying part worn tyres, including:

  • More affordable – one of the main benefits of part worn tyres is that they are typically much more affordable than new tyres. However, it should be noted that although they are initially a cheaper purchase, these tyres will wear down below the legal limit a lot faster than new tyres will – which can lead you having to fork out more money down the line.
  • International tyres – often, part worn tyres can be shipped over from international countries where the tread depth limit is much higher – such as Germany. In Germany, the legal depth is 3mm – meaning there will likely be plenty of tread left on the tyres before they wear.
  • Buying a new car – it’s also important to point out that, if you purchase a second-hand car and do not immediately change the tyres, too, this is the equivalent of purchasing used tyres. It’s very common, and many of us go through this process without necessarily questioning where the tyres came from, and what their history is.

However, when deciding if you should buy part worn tyres, you should consider all of the above points regarding the safety aspect of your vehicle - as part worn tyres can significantly decrease the performance of your vehicle, and your overall safety.

Here at Formula One Autocentres, we provide a wide range of new tyres to buy online. Locate your nearest centre for your tyre fitting, or get in touch with a member of our specialist team for more information on why we recommend to buy new tyres over part worn tyres today.

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