Is It Safe To Drive With Part-Worn Tyres?

29 Jan 2021

In this article, well discuss what the current UK law is on driving with part-worn tyres, the advantages and disadvantages, and what alternative ways you can get the same effect whilst driving.

Buying a new set of tyres can come at a big cost, especially if you drive a hefty vehicle. This is why some drivers choose to invest in a set of used tyres, also known as part-worn tyres. However, the big question that sparks in driver’s minds is actually how safe is it to drive with part-worn tyres? 

In this article, we’ll discuss what the current UK law is on driving with part-worn tyres, the advantages and disadvantages, and what alternative ways you can get the same effect whilst driving.

What Is The UK Law On Part-Worn Tyres?

The current law in the UK states that it’s not illegal to purchase or sell part-worn tyres. In fact, it’s found that driving with part-worn tyres is one of the most popular options. According to safety organisation, TyreSafe, 5.5 million second-hand tyres are sold in the UK every year.
However, this doesn’t mean that part-worn tyre dealers are not made to stick to a wide range of strict rules and regulations. This includes: part-worn tyres should be in good condition i.e. no bulges or cuts to the tread, and no carcass or cords should be visible. Part-worn tyres should also legally have at least 2mm of tread across their width and their circumference. As well as the safety regulations, part-worn tyres should be permanently marked saying ‘part-worn’ in uppercase.
The UK law on selling and driving with part-worn tyres might seem pretty straightforward, but car tyre suppliers are commonly known for breaking these rules and continuing to sell their part-worn tyres. TyreSafe also held an investigation into 68 different sellers of part-worn tyres across England and Scotland and found that all but 1 out of 68 sellers were breaking the law by selling illegal worn tyres. 
You might be thinking you have never driven with part-worn tyres before. But if your car is second-hand and you didn’t replace your tyres as soon as you bought the car, you were in fact driving with part-worn tyres. This also means you will probably have no clue where those tyres actually came from and whether they comply with the law or not.
Therefore, if you are planning on driving with part-worn tyres, you should always ensure that the seller is following the rules and regulations, otherwise, the tyres could cause you a serious accident.

The Advantages Of Driving With Part-Worn Tyres

There are a couple of advantages of choosing to drive with part-worn tyres and the major advantage is the cheaper price. This also means you could look into purchasing your part-worn tyres from a trusted brand rather than have to go to a less reputable company in order to save money on a new set of tyres.
You might also find that many part-worn tyres are shipped over from Germany, a country that has a higher tread depth of 3mm rather than 1.6mm in the UK. So, an advantage of driving with part-worn tyres is you might be driving with more than enough tread.

The Disadvantages Of Driving With Part-Worn Tyres

The biggest disadvantage of driving with part-worn tyres definitely outweighs all the benefits, and that is safety. Put it this way, if you are buying a set of tyres that another person has chosen to take off their car, then they’ve most likely taken them off because they were unsafe. So, are they really going to be safe for you?
One way in which driving with part-worn tyres is deemed unsafe is the fact they have less tread depth as they would have been worn down from previous use. So, less tread depth means less grip when cornering and braking.
You might also think you’re getting a bargain by buying part-worn tyres, but it just means you are buying less quality tyres, more often. Therefore, you find yourself not actually saving anything in the long run.

Are There Any Alternatives To Part-Worn Tyres?

If you want to save money but want to invest in a safer option than driving with part-worn tyres, you can actually buy remoulded or retreaded tyres. These are where the old tread and sidewall of a used tyre in good condition is removed and replaced with new rubber. 
Similar to part-worn tyres, remoulded tyres are legal, but must fit the rules and regulations. However, they are deemed much safer than part-worn tyres as their tread and sidewall are both no longer worn down. 

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