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Part-worn tyres: The risks, rewards and what to look out for

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By Saoirse McClure Fisher

calendar 22-04-2022 tag MAINTENANCE clock 10 min read

If you’re on a budget, used goods can be a handy solution for ever-increasing car costs. Part-worn tyres can save you money, however, there are things to look out for.


What are part-worn tyres?

Exactly what it says on the tin, these are tyres that have had previous use and therefore, may not be in as good condition as if you were to buy brand new. 

You’ll find part-worn tyres on sale at second-hand car dealerships or salvage merchants who often take them from vehicles that are no longer in use. A quick and easy source of income for businesses, these tyres have both upsides and downsides for potential buyers.


The upsides of part-worn tyres

Cars can be expensive to run and maintain. Often, we look for cheaper options to cut costs, whether it be a friend who is a mechanic or buying parts at lower prices. Part-worn tyres often meet the legal requirements needed to be roadworthy, so can sometimes be a better choice if your current tyres are in bad shape.

The history of the tyre itself is also a key factor when buying used. If you know where the tyre has come from and that it’s in roadworthy condition, it can offer peace of mind that both your bank account and vehicle are secure.


The downsides of part-worn tyres

As with most second-hand items, there’s always a risk involved. Unfortunately, with part-worn tyres, this involves the safety of you and your passengers.

Part-worn tyres don’t have the maximum tread that brand new tyres do, therefore putting your vehicle at a much higher skid risk, which in turn can cause serious accidents.

Another factor is cost. Yes, you may think that a cheaper used tyre will save you money, however, long term - worn tyres will need replacing far more than new ones, leaving you with added costs.

We often see used goods as bargains, but what happens they don’t do what you expect? Unlike a new item, which you could easily return, a part-worn tyre has no such benefit. Second-hand tyres come with no obligation to perform as new ones would. This means they have no legal right to return or compensation, leaving you out of pocket and without a car.


Making the right choice when buying part-worn tyres

As tyre quality standards vary from seller to seller, you need to ensure that you’re making the right choice when buying used tyres. We’ve compiled a list of useful things to look out for, to help you evaluate your purchase.

  • Ask about the history of the tyre. If you can find out where the tyre came from and what its condition is, you’ll be able to make a better judgement when deciding if it’s safe to buy.
  • Look for well know brands. This can help reassure you that even though it’s part-worn, the branding ensures great build and quality.
  • Take note of the tyre tread depth. Safe tyres should have at least 1.6mm of tread depth but considering new tyres often come with 8-9mm, it’s always safer to go with a higher depth.
  • Be wary of repaired tyres. Often repaired tyres perform well, however, as most repairs only consist of a rubber plug, it’s worth inspecting the overall shape and structure for damage as well as asking why the tyre was repaired in the first place.
  • Check the tyre sidewall. Accidents, bumps, and even bad parking can cause slits, cuts and rubber to come away from the tyre. Inspect the sidewall for signs of wear to ensure its roadworthiness.
  • Buy from a trusted seller. Look up reviews online and ask friends or members of your local community. It’s always worth getting a second opinion before buying anything second hand. This helps avoid loss of money and prevents future issues for you and your vehicle.


Consider the facts

It's important to consider all factors before purchasing part-worn tyres. You may be looking for a solution to money worries, but long term they could bring both financial and psychical damage to you and your passengers.

In 2016, unsafe tyres were responsible for over 1000 road accidents. As most people don’t know what to look for when buying used tyres, this means that often, they are part of this statistic. 

If you haven’t checked your tyres recently, take a look before your next journey. Your car and bank account will thank you. For great quality, new tyres find out more here.

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