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Buying part worn tyres: cheap but risky?

So you have a low budget to spend on tyres and you’re considering buying cheaper part worn (used) tyres rather than new ones? To get the best deal possible, it’s important to check that the tyres you’re buying are in good condition. Read on to find out how to assess the condition of second hand tyres and detect any faults.
Is is worth buying second hand tyres?

Think before buying part worn tyres: evaluate the risks © fr.fotolia.com

Part worn tyres: what are the risks?

Whether online or through tyre distribution networks, there is no shortage of cheap second hand tyres for sale. But how can you tell if these tyres are good value? You don’t know, for example, if the tyres have sustained damage, if they have been correctly maintained when used, or if they have been properly stored. This is important because well-maintained tyres are vital to guarantee your safety on the road.  What’s more, if the tyres you buy don’t meet legal standards, you risk failing your MOT, or even being fined if checked by police.

Factors which affect the quality of used tyres:

  • Age: tyres age even when not used. The rubber hardens over time and the tyres can lose a lot of their performance in just 5 years.
  • Maintenance: tyres can wear unevenly when over- or under-inflated, or if there is an alignment fault for example.
  • Storage: tyre rubber is sensitive to humidity, temperature changes, direct sunlight, chemical products, etc.
  • Use: the tyres may have sustained damage resulting in external deformations (bulges, cracks), but also internal damage which is not visible.

Because these factors are difficult to control, there is always a degree of risk when buying second hand tyres.

rezulteo recommends:

Before deciding to buy part worn tyres, why not check the price of new tyres with our comparison tool. If the price difference is small, you may want to consider reducing your risk by buying new tyres.

How to assess tyre wear and minimize risks?

If you are really determined to buy part worn tyres, here are 3 rules to follow to avoid making the wrong choice:

  1. Buy from a professional rather than from a private individual to be sure that the tyres are in good condition and have been properly stored.
  2. Make sure you comply with the law:
    – The size of the part worn tyre you’re buying must be approved for your vehicle and comply with the load and speed ratings recommended by the manufacturer.
  3. Check tyres for wear before buying them:
    – Measure the depth of the main grooves at several points on the tyre: don’t forget that as soon as the minimum legal tread depth of 1.6 mm is reached, you will need to change your tyres.
    – Pass your hand over the surface of the tyre to detect any abnormal wear such as bulges, cracks, deformation, or irregularities at the centre of the tyre or on the sides.
    - Check the tyre manufacturing date using the DOT code  stamped on the sidewall.

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