Part Worn Tyres: A Definitive Guide

When it comes to vehicle maintenance, one of the crucial aspects is choosing the right tyres. Part worn tyres, which are essentially tyres that have been used previously but still have legal tread depth, have become a popular choice for many. They offer a budget-friendly alternative to new tyres without necessarily compromising on quality. This guide aims to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of part worn tyres, helping you make an informed decision.

What Are Part Worn Tyres?

Part worn tyres are previously used tyres that are still in a condition fit for use. They differ from new tyres mainly in terms of their wear and history. While new tyres come with a full lifespan ahead, part worn tyres have already been used to some extent.

How Much Are Part Worn Tyres?

One of the most appealing aspects of part worn tyres is their cost. Generally, they are significantly cheaper than brand-new tyres. The price varies depending on the brand, size, and remaining tread depth. On average, you might find part worn tyres costing about half or even less than new ones, sometimes as low as £10 per tyre. However, the key thing here is to balance cost with quality and safety!

How Long Do Part Worn Tyres Last?

While new tyres can last anywhere from three to six years, depending on usage, part worn tyres naturally have a shorter lifespan since they’ve already been used. The exact duration they last depends on their initial condition and how well they are maintained. Understanding this is crucial to avoid frequent replacements, which might offset the initial cost benefits. Remember, the cheapest option isn’t always the best. It’s worth investing a bit more for tyres in better condition.

Are Part Worn Tyres Legal?

Part worn tyres, also known as second-hand tyres, are a legal and widely used option in the UK. However, their safety largely depends on adherence to specific regulations and the condition of the tyres when sold.

According to The Motor Vehicle Tyres (Safety) Regulations 1994, part of the Consumer Protection Act, there are strict criteria for selling part worn tyres. These include ensuring the structural integrity is not compromised, passing an inflation test, having visible original grooves with a minimum depth of 2mm across the full breadth of the tread, and having specific markings. For instance, non-retreaded part worn tyres must show the ‘E’ mark and the words ‘PART-WORN’ in legible letters. Retreaded tyres have additional requirements, including certain markings and the word ‘RETREAD’.

How Safe Are Part Worn Tyres?

Safety is a paramount concern when it comes to tyres. Part worn tyres can be safe, provided they meet certain standards. They should have at least 2mm of tread depth and be free from serious damage. However, it’s vital to purchase from reputable dealers who ensure these tyres are rigorously tested and meet safety criteria outlined by The Motor Vehicle Tyres (Safety) Regulations.

Where to Buy Part Worn Tyres?

Finding reliable sources for part worn tyres is crucial. You can purchase them from tyre shops, online retailers, or specialised dealers. The key is to buy from a place that has a good reputation for selling quality and most importantly safe part worn tyres. Always inspect the tyres or have them inspected by a professional before purchase.

Some tips to keep in mind if you’re considering part worn tyres:

Check for Legal Compliance: Ensure the tyres comply with The Motor Vehicle Tyres (Safety) Regulations 1994. They should be free of large cuts, bulges, or lumps, and the original grooves must be clearly visible with a depth of at least 2mm across the full tread​​.

Examine the Tread Depth: The legal minimum tread depth in the UK is 1.6mm, but it’s advisable to choose part-worn tyres with a much deeper tread for better safety and longevity. Many tyre experts recommend replacing tyres at 3mm​​.

Look for Damage: Inspect the tyres for any signs of damage, such as cuts, bulges, or punctures. Check both externally and internally if possible, as internal damage isn’t always visible from the outside.

Age of the Tyre: Check the tyre’s age by locating the date code on the sidewall. Tyres older than five to eight years might be riskier due to the hardening and cracking of the rubber​.

Reputation of the Seller: Purchase from reputable dealers or outlets known for their adherence to safety standards. Avoid buying from sources where the quality and history of the tyres cannot be reliably ascertained.

Understand the History: If possible, try to learn why the tyres were removed from the original vehicle. Tyres removed due to safety issues or severe wear might not be a wise purchase.

Be Wary of Repairs: Check if the tyre has been repaired and if so, whether the repair was done professionally. Poorly repaired tyres can be a safety hazard.

Inflation Test: Ensure the tyre has passed an inflation test before sale, which is a requirement under UK law​​.

Are Part Worn Tyres Worth Buying?

In most cases, no. While part worn tyres are generally cheaper than new tyres, offering initial cost savings, part worn tyres typically have less tread remaining than new tyres, which means they might need to be replaced sooner. This could potentially negate the initial savings over time. It’s also worth considering that many part worn tyres are sold with tread depths of 3mm or below, which is close to the legal minimum and may not last long.

Studies in the past have shown that a significant percentage of part worn tyres on sale did not meet legal requirements​. Remember, part worn tyres might have been removed from their original vehicle due to wear, damage, or other issues. This raises concerns about their overall safety and performance, especially if they have not been adequately inspected or repaired.

Part worn tyres offer a cost-effective solution for those in need of tyre replacements without the hefty price tag of new tyres. However, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons, particularly in terms of safety and longevity. Always prioritise quality and safety over price.

If you’re considering part worn tyres, take the time to assess your needs and safety requirements.

ClickMechanic can help if you’re looking for a (new) tyre fitting service for your vehicle.

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Louanne is a marketing and communications professional in the automotive tech industry currently at ClickMechanic, boasting over 5 years of experience.

Louanne’s work at ClickMechanic might revolve around branding and customer engagement, but her passions extend far beyond the marketing sphere. A true foodie at heart, she loves exploring diverse cuisines and talking about her culinary adventures across the world. Her writing prowess shines through in her car-related blog content, where she offers invaluable driving tips and practical car repair advice.

In her Suzuki Jimny 4-wheel drive, Louanne combines her sense of adventure with her automotive know-how, transforming every drive into a lesson and a pleasure.