Cutting corners with used tyres
April 30, 2019
Are you risking your safety and huge fines by purchasing used tyres for your car?
According to the AA and as reported by numerous news outlets, around 20% of drivers have bought used tyres in the past and a further 13% plan to do so in the future. This is despite just 7% of motorists believing them to be as safe as new tyres.
The recently released figures indicate that 33% of drivers believe that used tyres are either more cost effective than new ones or just don’t know whether new or used tyres offer better value.
However, drivers choosing used tyres based on cost effectiveness are seemingly in the dark when it comes to the key facts. Notably, 62% of British drivers are said to be unaware of the legal minimum tyre tread required with 56% also being unaware that the maximum fine for driving on worn-out tyres is £2,500 and three penalty points. In addition, 42% of Brits don’t know that a new tyre could have as much as 8mm worth of tread whereas second-hand tyres are often sold with as little as 2 millimeters of tread, which is a mere 0.4 millimeters above the legal limit. Indeed, it is believed that as many as 98% of second hand tyres sold in the UK do not comply with regulations.
James Fairclough, CEO of AA Cars comments: “Despite some really effective campaigns from the likes of TyreSafe warning consumers about the dangers of second-hand tyres in recent years, it’s clear that a number of prevailing myths about part-worns continue to underpin their sales.
“The safety case for buying new over used tyres has been well-documented but it’s important that drivers understand the argument that part-worns offer better value for money is a fallacy too.
“Secondhand tyres might boast cheaper price points than new ones, but the tread left on these tyres is typically materially less, meaning you’ll be looking for yet more replacements in no time at all.
“It’s also worth considering that a large proportion of the secondhand stock in the UK actually fails to meet the minimum legal safety standards.
“Car buyers should be mindful that, in the past, nearly-new and used cars have been found to have been fitted with much older tyres. A look at the dot code on the sidewall of the tyre can give you an indication of how old the tyres are – the last four digits of this code can tell you, respectively, what week and year the tyre was created.
“Since it’s often hard to discern whether tyres are up to scratch when you head down to the forecourt, a few simple checks can put your mind at ease when buying your next car; the ‘20p test’ will help to establish – at a glance – the depth of tread left on the tyres; it’s also worth taking a pressure gauge, or asking for a gauge at the forecourt, to see if the car’s tyres are correctly inflated.
“If you see any bumps or bulges in the sidewall of the tyre, it’s important that you don’t drive away from the dealer, as these aren’t roadworthy and can be very dangerous to drive on.
“While some of these tyre deformities can be spotted straightaway, for extra peace of mind it might be worth considering a pre-sale vehicle inspection since not all issues are immediately apparent.”
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