When things are tight and it's time to replace your tyres, you'd be forgiven for thinking that you would need to take out a mortgage to cover the cost of them! Buying part worn tyres (or second hand tyres) can help you when you are watching the pennies, and help keep you safe on the road.
Are Part Worn Tyres Safe?
Like everything you buy used, there is always an element of risk buying something that is not new. Lots of people have commented that part worn tyres are not safe, that they should not be allowed to be sold, but what about used cars? When you buy a used car, they have tyres on that have been used? What's the difference? None.
The sale of second hand tyres is governed by law, as explained here, but by following a few basic steps, you can protect yourself from buying dodgy tyres and save yourself money:
- Buy part worn tyres from established sellers. By doing this, should something go wrong, you have somewhere to go back to for a refund or help
- If the description does not say already, ask the seller if the tyre has had any puncture repairs done to it and/or any major repairs. If a tyre has had a major repair (sidewall or tread) DO NOT buy it as it could fail. Do not buy a tyre from a seller where the description says 'we have not tested this tyre' or 'due to the nature of part worn tyres some tyres may have puncture repairs in them'
- If not already stated in the listing, ask the seller for the DOT code of the tyre. The last 4 digits of the DOT code is the tyre's manufacturing date (so for example a DOT code of 0810 would be the 8th week of 2010). Do not buy any tyre that is over 5 years old
- Never by a used tyre that does not match your existing tyre specifications. If your existing tyre is a 225/45R18 91W, you must make sure that you buy a 225/45R18 with a speed rating of 91W or higher (i.e. 91Y). Buying the incorrect speed or load rating could result in the tyre 'blowing' out and it may also invalidate your insurance
Cost of Used Tyres v New Tyres
A recent study by TyreSafe, showed that the cost of a part used tyre against the equivalent in new, favoured the cost of buying new. However the size of tyre they choose to use in their example was a 155/80/13. We totally agree, tyres in this size new only cost £40.00 (source Tyre-Shopper.co.uk), so it not be beneficial to choose a part worn tyre that costs approx £20.00.
But what about the bigger tyre sizes? Take for example 275/40R20 Runflats, a common fitment for the front of a BMW X5. A Bridgestone runflat tyre in this size is £329.50 inclusive of VAT (source Tyre-Shopper.co.uk). The same tyre, albeit part used, with 6mm tread (a new tyre has 8mm tread) is £120.00 (source ebay.co.uk). This tyre had no puncture repairs, no scuffing, edge damage or cuts.
As you can see, this is a significant saving.
Part Worn Tyres are an effective way of saving money and helping the environment. By being careful you can get yourself some great tyres for a fraction of what they would cost when new.
For a in depth guide on staying safe when buying part worn tyres, click here.