25th April 2012
TyreSafe exposes frightening dangers of part worn tyres
Cash-strapped drivers are putting themselves, their passengers and other road users at serious
risk of injury by opting for part worn tyres, according to campaign group TyreSafe.
The group has issued the stark warning following a month-long nationwide investigation where it
purchased a random sample of 50 part worn tyres. The tyres were inspected by an independent
tyre expert and the alarming results found that 98 per cent of the tyres were being sold illegally.
But more concerning was that over a third of the tyres were found to contain potentially
dangerous forms of damage or non-compliance.
Indeed, one tyre was described by the inspection engineer as having the “potential to kill” as it
still contained a metal object penetrating 5cm through the tread in a manner which was likely to
result in sudden and total tyre failure had it been fitted to a vehicle.
Other serious safety breaches included dangerous and unsafe repairs, exposed cords, bead
damage and evidence of runflat damage.
“Although a number of clear regulations exist which permit the sale of part worn tyres, it’s
obvious from our investigation that these are not being adhered to,” comments Stuart Jackson,
chairman, TyreSafe. “Not only are drivers putting their own lives at risk, but they are also
endangering their passengers, which in many cases may be their children, and other road
users. Before buying part worn tyres I would urge drivers to ask themselves if the risk of buying
part worn tyres is really worth it?”
With motoring costs reaching record levels, a growing number of drivers are choosing part worn
tyres in the belief that they offer better value. However, TyreSafe’s investigation also disproved
this myth as it found that the average cost per mm of useable tread of the part worn tyres was
£6.33, whereas the comparable cost when selecting an equivalent new tyre was 16 per cent
lower at £5.32.
“Even if properly marked, it is impossible to know the history of a part worn tyre which makes it
extremely difficult to be sure about its internal condition and safety credentials,” continues
Jackson. “With rigorous quality controls on all new tyres, fitting these as replacements is
undoubtedly the safest option. What’s more, as our investigation showed, it’s often the best
TyreSafe’s warning about part worn tyres has been echoed by other key industry figures. Chris
Mason, managing director of Motor Codes, the provider of OFT-approved codes of practice for
the motor industry said, “We applaud TyreSafe in their efforts to help consumers make a well
informed choice when changing their tyres. With so many tyres being sold illegally, making sure
that the full facts are available to consumers is of paramount importance. Clearly, be it through
education or enforcement, this subject requires further attention.”
To help retailers understand their responsibilities regarding the sale of part worn tyres and
drivers to understand what to look for, TyreSafe has added a number of new resources to its
website, www.tyresafe.org. A dedicated part worn tyre section can now be found along with a
free downloadable information leaflet.
Part worn tyres and the law
Under The Motor Vehicle Tyres (Safety) Regulations 1994 (reg.7.) part of the Consumer
Protection Act, it is an offence for anyone to sell part worn tyres that do not meet the following
1. The structural integrity must not be compromised. It should be free of large cuts, any bulges
or lumps both internally and externally. No plies or cords should be exposed.
2. Tyres must have passed an inflation test prior to sale.
3. The original grooves must still be clearly visible in their entirety and must be to a depth of at
least 2mm across the full breadth of the tread, around its entire circumference.
4. Part worn tyres which have not been retreaded must clearly show the relevant ‘E’ mark
alongside which ‘PART-WORN’ must be permanently and legibly applied in letters at least
4mm high. These words cannot be hot branded or cut into the tyre.
5. Part worn tyres which have been retreaded must show the relevant British Standards mark
as applied at the time of retreading alongside which ‘PART-WORN’ must be permanently
and legibly applied in letters at least 4mm high. These words cannot be hot branded or cut
into the tyre. Retreaded tyres must also show speed category and load capacity index
marks in accordance with BS AU 144e 1998.
6. Any repair to a part worn tyre must have been carried out in accordance with paragraphs 4-
7 of BS AU 159.
Results of TyreSafe’s part worn tyre investigation
Fault / non conformity % of tyres found in sample (n=50)
Not correctly marked “Part worn” 98
Repair not in accordance with BS AU 159 16
Bead damage (fitting / removal) 4
Exposed cords 2
Evidence of running under-inflation 6
Inner liner damager / open liner splices 4
Object still penetrating tyre 2
TyreSafe is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of
correct tyre maintenance and the dangers of defective and worn tyres.
In 2009, TyreSafe was awarded with the Prince Michael International Road Safety Award in
recognition of its achievements in raising awareness about the dangers associated with driving
on defective and worn tyres.
TyreSafe supports the government’s ACT ON CO2 campaign which promotes Smarter Driving
tips to help cut CO2 emissions from driving.
TyreSafe is a signatory to the European Road Safety Charter which aims to reduce road
TyreSafe is a supporter of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety which aims to make roads
safer and save lives.
TyreSafe – www.tyresafe.org
Twitter – www.twitter.com/tyresafe @TyreSafe
Facebook – www.facebook.com/tyresafeuk
YouTube - www.youtube.com/user/TyreSafe
Flickr – www.flickr.com/tyresafe
For high resolution copies of these images, please contact email@example.com or call
TyreSafe’s alarming investigation found 98 per cent of part worn
tyres were being sold illegally
One tyre included a metal object still embedded within the tread
With a 5cm metal object inside the tyre it has been described as a
having the “potential to kill”
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M 07739 878365