The warning follows a recent Trading Standards sting in Halton, Cheshire which found that 40 per cent of part-worn tyres on sale were not up to scratch.
Four in ten tyres were withdrawn from sale and seized during the investigation last week.
TyreSafe, the UK’s leading tyre safety group, has voiced concerns about the number of dangerous and illegal part-worn tyres being sold to motorists across the UK.
TyreSafe Chairman, Stuart Jackson said: “Your safety on the road is reliant on the condition of your tyres so it’s essential that retailers only offer for sale either brand new tyres, or those used ones that have been carefully and thoroughly inspected to ensure they meet the various requirements laid down by law.”
Following its own undercover investigation which sourced 50 part-worn tyres from online and high street retailers, TyreSafe found that more than a third of part-worns sold had illegal repairs, tears or punctures that had been botched or ignored.
Independent tyre expert Ted Foreman, who carried out the inspections, 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.”
According to the Consumer Protection Act, it is an offence for anyone to sell part-worn tyres that do not meet structural integrity requirements.
The law states that part-worns must have a minimum 2mm tread depth around its entire circumference, repairs must have been carried out in accordance with the relevant British Standard and the tyre must be permanently marked ‘part-worn’.
Adrian Walsh, RoadSafe director said: “Tyres are a vital part of your car. You cannot brake, steer or accelerate properly when they are worn or underinflated.”
Consumer guide Which? Advises motorists to avoid buying part-worn tyres, claiming on its website: “It might be tempting to save money by buying used or part-worn tyres, but we don’t think it’s worth the risk.”
A separate study by TyreSafe found that not only were new tyres safer, they also offered better value as the cost per useable mm of tread for part-worn tyres was £6.33 whereas the equivalent cost for a new tyre was 16 per cent less, at just £5.32 per mm.
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