Posted On 16 Mar 2022

Does part-worn mean part safe?

Have you ever considered buying part-worn tyres? It’s certainly considered by many as a cheap alternative to buying brand new tyres. But is that really the case?

Why tyre care is important

Tyres are the only part of your car in contact with the road, known as the contact patch, which is why it’s so important that they’re maintained and checked on a regular basis. The postcard-sized patch of tyre that’s in contact with the road is key to keeping you safe, and in many cases part-worn tyres have been found to do the opposite to that. In fact, many are found to be unsafe and unregulated when checked.

What are part-worn tyres?

Part-worn tyres, as the name suggests, are second-hand tyres that have already been used. You’re likely to find them being sold at scrap yards or other locations that deal with used cars.

They’re completely legal to fit to your car, however because they’ve been used they do come with certain risks.

Are you aware of hidden dangers of part-worn tyres?

They may be cheaper than brand new tyres, however part-worn tyres do come with certain risks and potential dangers:

  • They’ll usually be road legal, but it’s worth checking to make sure the tread depth is at least .4mm above the minimum legal requirement of 1.6mm
  • Is there any repaired or unrepaired damage that could suggest bigger issues?
  • There may be unseen forms of damage, such as internal structural damage
  • They’ll usually have an unknown history

Should you buy part-worn tyres?

Part-worn tyres can be purchased legally in the UK but they must meet strict regulations in order to be deemed safe. Any reputable vendor must ensure these standards are met and unsafe tyres are not sold.

None of the structural integrity must be compromised and it should have no large cuts, bulges, or lumps both internally or externally. No plies or cords should be exposed.

Tyres must have passed an inflation test prior to sale.

The original grooves must still be clearly visible in their entirety and must exceed the legal minimum tread depth of 1.6mm by just .4mm.

Part-worn tyres which have not been retreaded - aka remoulded tyres - must clearly show the relevant 'E' approval mark alongside 'PART-WORN' which must be permanently and legibly applied in letters at least 4mm high. These words cannot be hot branded or cut into the tyre.

By following these regulations the sale of a part-worn tyre should be a safe bet, but it can be just that: a gamble.

Tyresafe investigation

Tyresafe is an independent body that is working with drivers, tyre manufacturers, and retailers to raise awareness of tyre safety in the UK.

In a recent investigation, they found that a large number of tyres are sold illegally in the UK and 34% of part-worn tyres contain potentially dangerous forms of damage or non-compliance. From tyre treads below the legal minimum depth to severe structural damage, there’s a lot that can go wrong with a part-worn tyre.

To find out more about Tyresafe and their investigation, visit the Tyresafe website.

If you’ve purchased part-worn tyres or feel that tyres being offered to you were dangerous or illegal, contact your local Trading Standards who will happily investigate further.

Be wary of the cost of part-worn tyres

When looking for replacement tyres, the main reason people usually opt to buy part-worn is the cost. It’s a used product, and because of this often has less tread left, which will be reflected in the price. However, what money you save now can cost you later if problems are found. 

A new tyre usually has 8mm of tread, whereas a part-worn tyre could be supplied with much less tread than this. The legal minimum for selling part-worn tyres is just 2mm. In the UK the legal tread depth for tyres fitted to your vehicle is 1.6mm across three-quarters of the tyre circumference, meaning that you may need to replace your ‘new’ tyres much more quickly than if you had invested in brand new tyres.

At Just Tyres we don't advocate the purchase of part-worn tyres as the risks associated with them can be high. We value our customers and we’re passionate about their safety, which is why we only sell high-quality, new tyres. We really believe that part-worn is part safe.

Only buy brand new tyres

If you’re in need of new tyres, come into your local Just Tyres centre, we're confident that you'll be pleasantly surprised by the cost of a brand new tyre in comparison to a part-worn. Or, just pop your vehicle reg into our online tool to buy new tyres right now.