Anyone who is considering purchasing part-worn tyres in a bid to save money may want to think again after research conducted by Leicestershire County Council's Trading Standards Service has revealed alarming safety issues.
Of the 17 tyres purchased from 13 separate suppliers, four were shown to be dangerous and therefore unfit for purpose.
Head of Leicestershire County Council's Trading Standards Service David Bull said: "It is worrying that almost a quarter of the part-worn tyres sold and fitted during this survey were unsafe.
"It is vital that sellers have systems to check that all part-worn tyres they sell are safe and are fitted correctly."
During the testing of the tyres, one was found to have such severe impact damage that it was deemed to pose "a risk of total failure to the user", the trading standard service stated.
Mr Bull said that offenders will be prosecuted "in appropriate circumstances", and he promised that the trading standards service would be carrying out further checks to ensure the safety of part-worn tyres across the country.
This is not the first time issues with the quality of part-worn tyres have been exposed, and in May this year Auto Express ran an investigation alongside TyreSafe which revealed serious faults in the majority of pre-used tyres.
Of the 50 tyres purchased as part of the investigation, only one was deemed legal under the Motor Vehicle Tyres (Safety) Regulations Act 1994.
Independent tyre expert Ted Foreman was quoted by AutoExpress as saying that while tyres may look in good condition, they can be masking serious problems.
Mr Foreman said: "In many cases, these tyres look great. They have loads of tread and could fool you into thinking they’re a bargain. But when you buy them, you inherit their dodgy history – every time they ran up a kerb, every accident, every time the owner drove on them under-inflated."
He suggested that motorists who still insist on purchasing part-worn tyres need to ensure that they see them before they are put onto a vehicle. "You need the tyre to be removed from its rim to inspect it", he said, as "that's where the safety hazards lie hidden".
Chairman of TyreSafe Stuart Jackson said: "Despite clear legislation it would appear from our investigation that the sale of illegal part worn tyres is a very real problem and needs to be tackled head on by Trading Standards as a matter of urgency.
"Those who sell illegal part worn tyres need to be educated and stopped as it really could be a matter of life and death."
In addition to uncovering the appalling quality of part-worn tyres, the investigation revealed that the companies selling these goods do not comply with labelling and traceability rules, which are designed to ensure the safety of such practices.
Any repair to a tyre should be marked with the name and registration number of the garage which carried out the work, and yet none of the part-worn tyres purchased as part of the Auto Express and Tyresafe investigation had these markings.
In addition, a part-worn tyre is meant to carry a stamp on the sidewall which indicates that it has been checked and therefore conforms to legal requirements.
However, only one of the tyres bought for the purposes of the investigation had the part-worn mark.
This means that the buyer has no way of telling whether their tyre is safe, and should probably therefore assume that it is not.
Mr Jackson said that while TyreSafe is aware of "budgetary pressures" on public sector departments, the organisation "would still urge Trading Standards offices to prioritise whatever resources they have to tackle rogue traders who continue to flout the law by selling illegal part worn tyres".
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Posted by Danielle Barge