What are part worn tyres?

Ever seen part worn tyres advertised but not sure exactly what they are or if they are safe to use? As the name suggests, part worn tyres are tyres that have been used previously and, therefore, partly worn. Second hand tyres can seem like an attractive choice for motorists as the upfront cost is often considerably cheaper than buying brand new tyres. However, tyres that are partly worn can come with significant risks.

In this article, we’ll cover the dangers of buying part worn tyres and why you’re better off buying a brand-new set.

Should I buy part worn tyres?

We advise against buying part worn tyres as there are a number of risks involved. Second hand tyres will have significantly less tread depth than new tyres, which can lead to reduced grip on the road, increased stopping distances and more chances of experiencing a puncture.

As second-hand tyres are already partly worn, you’ll likely need to get them replaced sooner than if you purchased brand new tyres from the outset. As a result, part worn tyres are essentially a false economy.

The closer your tyres get to the minimum UK tread depth of 1.6mm, the higher your chances are of receiving a fine, which can be £2,500 per illegal tyre or 3 penalty points your license.

Why do part worn tyres exist?

Part worn tyres tend to come from Germany as motorists often replace their tyres once the tread depth has reduced to 3mm as tyres often decline rapidly after this point. The minimum tread depth in the UK is 1.6mm, so technically part worn tyres are legal to sell as long as the tread depth is above this level. The tread depth of brand-new tyres usually start at approximately 8-9mm, so to purchase tyres with a 3mm tread depth is not a good idea.

It's also worth noting that part worn tyres can often come from damaged or written off vehicles, leading to further concerns regarding their condition.

Are part worn tyres safe?

Part worn tyres are likely to be unsafe due to their low tread depth and the purchaser’s lack of knowledge around the history of the tyre. Part worn tyres are often sold by scrap merchants or second-hand car dealers and, while it’s a legal requirement that part worn tyres are examined by a certified retailer for safety issues, some dealers will bypass this. As a result, part worn tyres can be sold illegally, with the tyres not being checked and meeting legal requirements. Tyre safety breaches are not always easy to spot with the naked eye, which is why it’s best to steer clear.

What to look out for with part worn tyres

Driving with part worn tyres is a gamble given that you won’t know the history of the tyre and the potential issues involved. However, there are a number of obvious signs to look out for that will be a strong indication of their lack of safety:

  • Excessive tread wear
  • Cracks or other damage to the tyre sidewall
  • Nails or screws in the tyre
  • Previous repairs such as plugs to cover previous punctures
  • Any bulges or lumps

Part worn tyres are risky at the best of times but if you see any of the above signs, you know for sure that they are unsafe to use. Tyres consists of over 30 different kinds of rubber so there could be underlying damage which is difficult to spot.

How much are part worn tyres?

Part worn tyres are significantly cheaper than brand new tyres, which is why motorists may be tempted to purchase them. In some cases, you could find part worn tyres for as low as £10. However, if the price looks too good to be true, you can be certain that it will be a risky purchase and the tyres will likely be unsafe to use.

Buying a brand new set of tyres is not only much more cost-effective in the long run but you’ll have peace of mind that you know what you’re paying for. At Halfords, we stock a wide range of tyres to suit all vehicles and budgets including affordable quality brands such as Autogreen, Sailun and Firestone.

Enter in your vehicle registration and we’ll show you all the tyres suitable for your vehicle. You can then filter by price, brand and much more.

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Same day tyre fitting

Did you know that we now offer same day tyre fitting service across our garages nationwide? Simply book online before 1pm and we can replace your tyres the same day to help you get you back on the road safely and swiftly. Please note that availability varies by location. For more information, please head on over to our dedicated same day tyre fitting page where you can find answers to frequently asked questions, choose the right tyres for your vehicle and book your appointment.

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