The use of part-worn tyres has become more common for motorists across the UK in recent years and while these items are legal to buy and sell, the potential dangers they pose if not properly inspected are immense.
Vehicle safety charity TyreSafe has completed a new investigation into the present state of the UK’s part-worn tyre sector and its results could be seen as shocking to some.
The risks associated with poor tyre maintenance are well known, but following the publication of this research, vehicle owners now also need to realise that the savings they make through investing in part-worn tyres could end up costing them more in the long run.
Following a number of mystery shopper visits to retailers up and down the country, the organisation was able to purchase hundreds of part-worn tyres to determine the present standard of items that are available for sale by the general public.
Out of the 817 bought, TyreSafe determined a staggering 97 per cent had been improperly labelled and were not specifically marked ‘part-worn’.
Furthermore, in more than one-third (34 per cent) of cases the tyres purchased were later found to have been not fit for sale, with a range of faults, including dangerous puncture repairs, exposed cords, damaged beads, penetration damage and evidence of previously having being run under-inflated.
Chairman of TyreSafe Stuart Jackson commented: “Your safety on the road is reliant on the condition of your tyres so it’s essential that retailers only offer for sale either brand new tyres, or those used ones that have been carefully and thoroughly inspected to ensure they meet the various requirements laid down by law.
All purveyors of part-worn tyres are expected to carry out a full inspection of these items prior to their sale.
By law, these tests should include a thorough examination of structural integrity, with a focus on ensuring there are no exposed cords or plies and no bulges or lumps, both internally and externally. Meanwhile, any tyres that have been re-treaded should be clearly marked as such and any that have not should have the term ‘PART-WORN’ embedded into them.
The sale of part-worn tyres in the UK remains subject to The Motor Vehicle Tyres (Safety) Regulations 1994, in addition to elements of the Consumer Protection Act. This means that all those selling part-worn tyres are legally obliged to have carried out the above checks and, in cases where this is found not to have been the case, these retailers could be leaving themselves open to prosecution.
“Previous investigations into the sale of illegal part-worn tyres have focused on locations where there was a strong suspicion of improper behaviour, but these latest results show beyond doubt that this is a national epidemic that needs tackling at the highest levels,” Mr Jackson noted.
The dangers of poor quality tyres should not be underestimated by road users, as an inadequate amount of tread depth can lead to an increased likelihood of suffering a blowout. Meanwhile, internal damage to a tyre that is not outwardly apparent can also present a considerable risk to vehicle safety.
For this reason, it is essential proper inspections are carried out on all tyres prior to their sale – including those that are part-worn.
Failure to properly police the industry could therefore lead to an increase in the number of tyre-related accidents in the UK and this is something the industry must now look to avoid through stronger regulation and more thorough testing.
Mr Jackson concluded: “We look forward to working closely with even more local councils, government officials and Trading Standards Offices across the whole of the UK to eradicate this problem and help make our roads a safer place.”