Part Worn Tyres - Tread Carefully!

Posted by Thame Cars on Feb 23, 2018 8:57:58 AM


I am often asked for advice on whether part worn tyres are a safe and good value alternative to brand new tyres. Tyres are absolutely essential to safe motoring, so it's really important to ensure that you make the right choice. Here are some tips and ideas to help you choose.


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We rarely think about just how important our tyres are, it’s easy to forget that your tyres are the only point of contact between your car and the road. Then consider that your tyres arguably do the most important jobs - providing grip in corners and when braking, dispersing water and keeping traction in wet and icy conditions, as well as making sure the car goes where it should when steering. You should think carefully when contemplating used tyres.

Facts and Figures

Here are some interesting facts. A brand-new tyre comes with about 8-9mm of tread. Part worn tyres usually have about 4-5mm left. So, half of it has worn away before you even get it. The minimum legal tread depth for a car tyre is 1.6mm across the centre three quarters of the tyre. That's the bare minimum, tyre experts recommend you replace your tyres at 3mm. According to ROSPA, grip and braking performance continually reduce as the tyre wears, meaning that once you get below 3mm your car could take as much as 44% further to stop in wet conditions. This is where the tread on your tyres is really important, because the channels in the tread pattern work to disperse surface water away from the tyre, preventing you from aquaplaning (where the tyre can't disperse quickly enough, and the car lifts off the road). When the tread wears away, so does its grip and water dispersal ability.

What's the History?

Have you ever asked yourself why part worn tyres are on the market, and why someone would sell a tyre with up to half its life left? A large proportion of part worn tyres are taken from cars that have been involved in accidents. It doesn't take much imagination to understand how much force the tyres could have been subjected to - but you'll never know. There are strict conditions on the sale of second hand tyres, including that they must be clearly stamped "part worn", which indicates that they have been inspected and deemed safe. But according to BBC News, a Local Government Association (LGA) investigation found that of 39 tyres they checked, only one was correctly stamped, and 25 had significant safety issues. It said that in some areas more than 80% of part worn tyres are sold illegally. Many part worn tyres have been previously repaired, and 25% of the tyres checked had unsafe repairs.

A False Economy?

If you're on a strict budget or you worry about being able to afford tyres, part worn tyres may seem an attractive choice. But if you speak to a reputable tyre dealer you will find that brand new budget tyres cost only a fraction more, will last a lot longer and you have the knowledge that you’re safe. There is a large selection of tyres available to suit all budgets, from entry level tyres to performance tyres, depending on your needs. A tyre dealer will advise you of the best tyres available in your budget, and they'll fit them for you, brand new and with the backup of the manufacturer in case any defects should arise. You won't get any manufacturer backup with a second-hand tyre because they simply won't know where it's been. And with half its tyre tread gone already and perhaps only 1mm left before it should safely be renewed, you may find yourself needing new tyres very quickly.

So in conclusion, part worn tyres may be slightly cheaper. But you'll have no idea what you're buying. New tyres are safer and more trustworthy, with a guarantee and the backup of a reputable dealer. When it comes to tyres, you really do get what you pay for.

If you'd like more advice or a tyre quote, you can visit our website at Or if you just want to pop in to have your tyres checked to make sure they're safe and roadworthy, we're very happy to help.


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