Premier Vehicle Care | Part Worn Tyres

Part Worn Tyres

The only part of a vehicle in contact with the road surface, tyres play a critical role in road safety. Acceleration, braking, steering and cornering all rely on the tyres’ relatively small contact area with the road surface so their correct selection, care and maintenance is essential.

However, each year in the UK, more than 1200 road casualties are caused by an accident where illegal defective or under-inflated tyres are a contributory factor.
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To maximise road safety and prolong tyre life, a tyre’s pressure, tread depth and general condition should be checked regularly.

When replacing tyres, fitting new tyres is the safest option. However, legislation does exist which permits the sale of part worn tyres, subject to them meeting a number of criteria.

The sale of part worn tyres that do not meet these legal requirements is not only a criminal offence under the Consumer Protection Act, but also poses a serious safety risk to drivers, their passengers and other road users.

Part Worn Tyre Safety

Adequate tread depth is essential for safe driving on wet roads as the tread grooves help to remove water from the contact patch between the tyre and the road surface, which is essential for effective acceleration, cornering and braking.

A tyre with lower tread depth is less effective at removing water from the road, leading to longer stopping distances and reduced road safety.

Indeed, according to tests conducted by the British Tyre Manufacturers’ Association, braking distance in wet weather of a tyre with only 1.6mm of tread depth is almost 12m longer than a new tyre from 50mph.

Tyres are complex engineered products so it is not just their outer visual condition that affects road safety. A tyre is a high tech piece of equipment consisting of 30 different components which must all be in good condition to ensure your safety.

Running tyres under-inflated or even hitting a pothole or kerb can cause serious damage to internal components of a tyre. As part worn tyres are not required to be examined by x-ray for internal structural defects prior to their sale, it can be impossible to determine if any internal damage exists and the safety of the tyre has been compromised.

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Economics

Many drivers buying part worn tyres do so in the belief that they offer better value for money when compared with new tyres. However, this isn’t necessarily so and buyers should consider the cost per mm of useable tyre, rather than just the initial purchase price.

New tyres are normally sold with around 8mm of tread depth, whereas part worn tyres may have as little of 2mm of tread. With a legal minimum tread depth of 1.6mm in the UK, the cost per mm of useable tread of part worn tyres can be considerably more than that of a new tyre. Equally, part a part worn tyres will need to be replaced again much sooner than a new tyre meaning further expenditure will be required.

Drivers should remember that not only is it dangerous and unsafe to drive on tyres with less than 1.6mm of tread but it is also against the law and can result in fines of up to £2,500 and 3 penalty points per tyre.

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