Sale of part worn tyres branded a ‘national epidemic that needs tackling’

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Thousands of drivers are being exposed to frightening levels of risk through the purchase of second hand tyres that fail to meet minimum safety standards, according to the largest ever nationwide investigation into the sale of part worn tyres across the UK has revealed.

More than a third (34 per cent) of the 817 part worn tyres bought in mystery shopper exercises across the country during the last year, contained faults or damage which meant that they should not have been offered for sale.

While a staggering 97 per cent had not been marked by retailers as ‘part-worn’ as is required by law, according to the research co-ordinated by TyreSafe and the National Tyre Distributors Association, in conjunction with various Trading Standards offices and local councils around the UK.

Stuart Jackson, chairman of TyreSafe, commented: “The results of this latest investigation are truly horrific. 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.”

Jackson added: “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 a national epidemic that needs tackling at the highest levels.

“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.”

Among the faults found by the independent tyre inspectors assessing the tyres were dangerous puncture repairs, exposed cords, damaged beads, penetration damage and evidence of being run under-inflated, all items which could pose a potential safety hazard to the user and other motorists.

According to Consumer Protection Act, it is an offence for anyone to sell part worn tyres that do not meet a number of principal requirements such as the tyre’s structural integrity must not be compromised, the tyre must pass an inflation test, it must have at least if 2mm of tread depth around its entire circumference, repairs must have been carried out in accordance with the relevant British Standard and the tyre must be permanently marked ‘part-worn’.

Despite the huge safety risks associated with buying part worn tyres, many motorists continue to choose them in the belief that they are safe and offer better value for money when compared with brand new tyres. However, a previous study by TyreSafe found that not only were new tyres safer, they also offered better value as the cost per useable mm of tread for part worn tyres was £6.33 whereas the equivalent cost for a new tyre was 16 per cent less, at just £5.32 per mm.

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