We’re hearing from our friends in the tyre industry that they’re expecting cash-strapped drivers to buy increasing numbers of used car tyres. Of course, it’s related to increases in the cost of living: motoring costs are as badly affected as food when it comes to inflation.
And buying used (sometimes called part-worn) tyres is one way people might think they can save money.
Like a visit to the dentist, no one relishes forking out to replace the rubber on their car. But I think there are several reasons why buying used tyres isn’t a brilliant idea.
Buying new tyres is one of the necessary evils of running a car. Not only do tyres inevitably come to the end of their life, they’re also deceptively expensive. Replacing all four tyres on even a modest family saloon can leave you without much change from £500. And the bigger the car, the more you’ll pay. Buy four new tyres for a high-performance motor and it’ll cost the thick end of £2000. But there are ways to save money without scrimping on safety.
Tyres might be on the scrap heap but they can still be sold legally in the UK (Picture iStock/Birdofprey)
If your car needs new tyres you might be shocked at how much replacement rubber can cost. But while often cheaper than new, buying second-hand tyres can have serious safety implications. New research has found that nine out of 10 retailers selling used or part-worn tyres are trading in illegal rubber.
Charity TyreSafe and Trading Standards have spent the past five years investigating part-worn tyres on sale in the UK. They discovered that just 13 of the 152 dealers they visited were selling roadworthy tyres. TyreSafe chairman Stuart Jackson said: “As far as we’re aware there is no other retail sector with such an atrocious track record.”
Second-hand or part-worn tyres are a booming business in Britain. But these tyres, often sold under the premise of saving drivers money, could be at best a waste of money, at worst lethal.
Tyre trade experts estimate that every year between four and a half and six million part-worn tyres are sold in the UK. However, when campaigning charity TyreSafe conducted research it found that 98 per cent were sold illegally and 34 per cent had potentially dangerous defects.