Official figures for the past five years put the number of deaths or serious injuries on the road caused by illegal or defective tyres at a shocking 989. According to a recent Sunday Mirror investigation carried out in conjunction with Trading Standards, however, traders continue to sell potentially lethal part-worn tyres to unwitting motorists.
Part-Worn Tyre Regulations
Under ‘The Motor Vehicle Tyres (Safety) Regulations 1994 (reg. 7)’ portion of ‘The Consumer Protection Act’ it is an offence to sell part-worn tyres which do not meet a set of five specific and exacting criteria. Those are as follows;
- The structural integrity must not be compromised. It should be free of large cuts, any bulges or lumps both internally and externally. No plies or cords should be exposed.
- Tyres must have passed an inflation test prior to sale.
- The original grooves must still be clearly visible in their entirety and must be to a depth of at least 2mm across the full breadth of the tread, around its entire circumference.
- Part worn tyres which have not been re-treaded must clearly show the relevant ‘E’ mark alongside which ‘PART-WORN’ must be permanently and legibly applied in letters at least 4mm high. These words cannot be hot branded or cut into the tyre.
- Part-worn tyres that have been re-treaded must be marked in a manner also set down and explained at length in the act.
The recent Sunday Mirror and Trading Standards sting, therefore, set out to investigate whether the tyres sold met the criteria set forth in these regulations.
In order to assess the safety and legality of part-worn tyres sold, Trading Standards watchdogs posed as motorists in order to buy such tyres from dealers in County Durham. The tyres bought were then inspected by Tyresafe, a charity founded in 2006 which is devoted to tyre safety.
Of the seven tyres purchased by Trading Standards and tested by Tyresafe, fully six were found to have serious faults which fell foul of the aforementioned regulations. Two of the tyres possessed serious damage from being under-inflated, two more had damage to the bead, one had an illegal reinforced rubber section inside the wheel and the other contained water due to having been stored incorrectly.
Five of the seven tyres, too, were found to be illegal even before the faults were discovered due to the fact that they had not been marked with ‘PART-WORN’ as required by point four above. As if to add insult to injury, what’s more, the only legal part-worn tyre from the investigation was found to be more than 18 years old.
Due to findings such as thoseuncovered in this investigation, the National Tyre Distributors Association has called for a blanket ban on part-worn tyre sales and has described sales of such tyres as both ‘appalling’ and ‘a ticking time bomb’. A Tyresafe spokesperson, meanwhile, explained that ‘competence among used tyre retailers is questionable. The majority of used tyres are not properly inspected. A tyre is classed as a waste product until it’s been fully checked.’
At Clover Auto’s we care most about our customers and would never supply tyres that could put lives at risk. Find out more about our tyre service.