Are Part Worn Tyres Better Value For Money?

When it comes to vehicle and tyre safety, you should never cut corners to save a few quid. Though it’s understandable considering the tough year we’ve all had, contrary to popular belief, part worn tyres do not offer better value for money.

Part worn tyres may seem like a great bargain but you don’t know what you are getting. There’s no history on how the tyres were used and you have to remember that somebody has removed those tyres as they were no longer good enough.

Don’t get duped into the false economy of part worn tyres as they are not safe! While some may seem in good condition to the untrained eye, there could be several ‘hidden’ issues. This includes sidewall damage which could put you and passengers at great risk.

What Is The Law On Buying Part Worn Tyres?

Whilst buying or selling part worn tyres is not illegal in the UK, vendors are bound by law to adhere to several strict regulations. This includes the following:

  • All second-hand tyres should be in good condition with no bulges in the sidewall, no large cuts in the tread and no visible structural carcass or cords
  • Part worn tyres should still show the original tyre tread grooves and must be to a depth of at least 2mm around the circumference
  • They should be clearly and permanently marked ‘Part-Worn’ in upper case letters at least 4mm in height on the sidewalls
  • Part worn tyres which have not been retreaded must also clearly show the relevant ‘E’ mark alongside the ‘Part-Worn’ marking
  • Retreaded part-worn tyres must clearly indicate the manufacturer, model and tyre classification. Find out more about tyre symbols and markings

Why Are Part Worn Tyres Considered A False Economy?

Aside from the glaring safety issues of used tyres, there’s also the cost factor. Part worn tyres may seem good value for money but most are not. It provides a false economy and significantly increases the risk of potential accidents. Remember, less tread means less grip which affects the handling of your vehicle especially in adverse weather conditions.

The average tread depth for part worn tyres in the UK is 4mm but 2mm is common as it is the minimum tread depth required by Trading Standards. If you consider the UK legal tyre tread depth is 1.6mm, that’s just 0.4mm more. Compared to a new tyre with around 8mm of tread depth, part worn tyres suddenly seem a lot less attractive.

Cost Implications Of Used Tyres

Let’s use an example of a budget tyre costing around £50 and a part-worn tyre £30. Assuming your used tyres have the maximum of 4mm of tread (which is very uncommon), it still doesn’t come anywhere near the 8mm tread on a new tyre.

Using these figures, the average part-worn tyre would cost you around £7.50 per mm of tread. A new tyre, however, would cost around £6.25 per mm of tread which is almost a 20% saving. This doesn’t even include the cost of fitting the tyres, wheel balancing and alignment.

This example shows an optimistic 4mm of tread but the price per mm is typically much higher. Based on this, you have 2.4mm of tread before the tyre becomes illegal, which gives you approximately 6,000 miles under normal driving conditions. Using the same calculations, a new tyre will go for at least 20,000 miles.

The Risks Of Using Part Worn Tyres

Not knowing how tyres were used should be a real concern as many part worn tyres are often sold with pre-existing tyre damage. This includes tears, cuts, nicks, bubbles or bulges which can all severely compromise the overall integrity of the sidewall. Considering this part of the tyre absorbs most of the pressure while driving, it’s vital to maintain the vertical strength of the tyre.

Nails, glass and other sharp objects have also been found in part worn tyres which increase the chance of punctures or a tyre blow-out. If you’re travelling at high speed with part worn tyres, the consequences could be significantly more serious.

Is your safety worth saving a few measly quid? Wouldn’t you rather entrust the safety of your family and other road users with new quality tyres?

Final Thoughts

Even though the regulations are simple, many tyre suppliers don’t conform to the rules which increases the risk even more. Looking at the facts, part worn tyres are not only dangerous but they will cost you more in the long run.

With only a portion of the tread to play with, you’re wasting your money as you’d have to replace them again very soon. Used tyres are not ideal but if you are considering it, at least make sure the vendor is compliant.

However, if you want to save some money without compromising on safety, switch to budget tyres from Elite Garages. We have several fitment centres across the country offering great tyre deals and valuable advice from tyre experts. You can reserve your tyres online and book a free tyre safety check. We have a large range across all of our tyre fitment centres.