Shopping for part-worns
Choosing a part-worn tyre is a bit different to buying a new one. With new rubber, you normally drop your car at the tyre bay, let the sales assistant know what type, size and price of tyre you require, then sit back with a cuppa while the fitters go about their business.
Buying a part-worn tyre requires a bit more interaction. You should inspect what you’re about to buy carefully before parting with your cash, and any tyre vendor worth their salt will be more than happy for you to inspect their stock at close quarters. If they’re not happy for you to do so, you don’t want it on your car.
When inspecting the tyre, check the tread wear is even and look very closely at the tread itself for signs of plugs where a puncture has been repaired. While the sale of puncture-repaired tyres is legal, they’re not something we’d recommend buying.
Also, every tyre has a date-mark on the side consisting of four numbers, which indicate the week and year in which the tyre was made. For example, ‘2216’ means the tyre was made in the 22nd week of 2016. Rubber perishes as it ages, so don’t entertain buying anything more than four years old, and walk away if the date stamp appears to have been rubbed away.
You should also check that the tyre has the correct ‘PART-WORN’ marking on it, or that the vendor stamps the tyre as such when they fit it.
Look very carefully at the sidewall for signs of cuts, bulges or other damage. If the tyre is sound, ask the fitter to fit and balance it, watching carefully as they do so, to ensure they use the correct bead of sealant and balancing machine.
We’d also recommend that you choose part-worn tyres based on brand rather than price. A part-worn budget tyre is a worse choice than a new budget tyre, whereas a part-worn high-quality tyre could be a better choice than a new budget one.