Part-worn tyres – a dangerous, false economy

Should you buy used tyres?

I recently read a report from the UK, warning that almost half of part-worn tyres sold are illegal. They are either damaged or don’t have enough tread on them, or both. Some part-worn tyres are nearly 30 years old! Driving on defective tyres is a big problem. It causes injuries and deaths. 719 injuries and 17 deaths in the UK in 2017 were caused by illegal, defective or underinflated tyres.

Part-worn tyres in Australia

The sale of new tyres in Australia is highly regulated. They must conform to ADR23 guidelines. New tyres have between 6mm and 8mm of tread, though the legal limit is 1.5mm. ADR23 doesn’t discuss second-hand tyres.

Why would you buy part-worn tyres?

There is only one reason to be tempted by part-worn tyres: to save money. To save a few dollars, there is a cost. That cost is risk. The risk you take by not knowing the history of the tyre. You must consider the age of the tyre – tyres don’t age well like fine wines. They degrade and weaken.

Are part-worn tyres dangerous?

The clue is in the name. Part-worn tyres are older. They have been used. Older tyres suffer from degraded rubber. Used tyres suffer from wear and tear and damage. Part-worn tyres are part-safe tyres. When you think about the job that tyres do for you – in terms of comfort, handling and safety – buying used tyres should worry you.

New tyres come with deep treads. Premium tyres provide premium grip. Part-worn tyres are often sold with 3mm of tread or less. That’s above the legal minimum, but dangerously close to being dangerous. That’s why we recommend you replace tyres if the tread is 3mm.

In the UK, part-worn tyres should have undergone testing before they are sold. Tests include internal integrity and inflation testing. They should also have at least 2mm of tread remaining. Despite these regulations, many part-worn tyres in the UK are sold in an illegal condition.

Here in Australia, we don’t have such strict rules on part-worn tyres. You’re on your own. Buyer beware. If you do buy part-worn tyres and they don’t have enough tread, you could be fined more than $100. Per tyre. And a demerit point per tyre.

When tyres are damaged, they become less safe

If you damage your tyres, each nick or scuff makes them a little less safe. Part-worn tyres have little tears, nick, scuffs and bulges. The accumulation of these could make them dangerous – even if they have enough tread. You may also find small pieces of metal or glass embedded in the tyre. This increases the chances of a tyre blowout.

Do you really save money when you buy used tyres?

You may save a few dollars when you buy part-worn tyres, at least on the initial purchase. But they won’t last like new tyres. You will need to replace them sooner. Much sooner. It’s likely that you’ll end up spending more in the long run. When you add in the poorer safety, buying part-worn tyres makes no sense.

In summary, there is no comparison between new, premium tyres and old, part-worn tyres. If you are concerned about comfort, handling and safety, then avoid part-worn tyres and buy the best-quality new tyres your budget will allow.

For advice on what the best tyres are for your vehicle, driving style and budget, call into our Darra Tyres shop. Feel free to contact us to book an appointment or ask any questions you may have.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Dean Wood

About the Author

A Professional fighter living and fighting in Thailand for many years retired at 26 yrs old with a massive hand injury which really changed his focus from fighting to training and helping the youth of their local area. After his injury and change of focus, he recently had an interest in Darra Tyres the family business and has decided to dedicate to the growth of Darra for himself and his family. Currently, he is still training kids at Corporate Box twice a week as Darra now has taken priority.

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