worn tyre warning
A great way of saving money, or a ‘cancer’ of the tyre industry and a ‘menace to the public’? CCW looks into whether you should fit your classic with part-worn rubber – and if it’s safe
‘Even new-old-stock tyres share the same potential dangers as part-worns’ stuart Jackson
If you don’t use your car frequently, you might be tempted to fit part-worn tyres instead of new ones. Yet, supplying and fitting them is only legal if they are inspected internally and externally, pressuretested and marked ‘PART-WORN’ as dictated by the Motor Vehicle Tyres (Safety) Regulations 1994.
Having studied thousands of part-worn tyres in 2013, Trading Standards and the TyreSafe charity concluded that 98 per cent of them were being sold illegally and 34 per cent had serious safety defects. When their follow-up research in 2016 revealed that the part-worn tyre market continued to pose a serious safety risk to motorists, Joanne Waller, Durham County Council’s head of environment, health and consumer protection, voiced concerns about the apparent lack of knowledge displayed by investigated part-worn tyre traders. This was after its own Consumer Protection service had visited nine regional outlets.
The National Tyre Distributors Association (NTDA) chose its annual conference during Tyre Safety Month last October to call for a ban on the sale of part-worn tyres. NTDA chief executive, Stefan Hay, says: ‘They’re a cancer to our business and a menace to the public.’
Instances of end-of-life tyres being stolen from garages and resold as part-worns have also led to the NTDA recommending that its members drill holes though the sidewalls of all tyres that are stacked for recycling.
the classic perspective
TyreSafe chairman Stuart Jackson advises classic car owners to also be wary of new old-stock tyres. He says: ‘At autojumbles especially, it may be tempting to pick-up a tyre bargain or one in a rare size, but new-old stock tyres share the same potential dangers as part-worns; even an expert cannot confirm what has happened to the internal structure of a given tyre and you can never be sure how well – or otherwise – it has been stored, or how many years of UV damage it may have sustained.’
Dougal Cawley, of classic tyre specialist Longstone Tyres, agrees, and argues that there is little benefit to be had from a risky ‘jumble purchase’, especially when such traders tend to appreciate neither the needs of a particular classic car, nor how to store tyres correctly. He says: ‘Most new vintage and classic car tyre sizes are available new, so I’d always recommend that classic car owners buy their tyres from a reputable source and never trust pre-used partworn tyres for road use.’
stopping distances increase dramatically if a car is fitted with partworn or nos tyres.