According to new research by LV= car insurance, there are almost six million part-worn tyres that don't meet minimum safety standards on UK roads.
With an average of £150 for a part-worn set, motorists can make a big saving by buying second-hand tyres and as the financial climate is tough combined with the ever increasing cost of motoring, many motorists opt to buy part-worn tyres. However some unscrupulous dealers are knowingly selling illegal tyres and Trading Standards said the number of part-worn dealerships under investigation has almost doubled sine 2009.
Since 2009, 23 million part-worn tyres have been sold in the UK but a quarter of these were illegal, meaning 1.5 million motorists have bought sub-standard rubber. UK law states all part-worn tyres must be stamped in order to show that they have been checked in accordance with the legal requirements. Shockingly, only half of British motorists, at 51%, were aware that these regulations existed when buying their seconds-hand tyres.
The company's research showed that since 2009, nearly half a million motorists have re[ported skidding at some point while they have driven on part-worn tyres, with 512,000 reporting noticeably longer braking distances.
Managing director of LV= car insurance, John O'Roarke, commented, “In the current economic climate, motorists are understandably looking to cut costs wherever they can and buying quality used tyres is one way to do this. Those wanting to buy part-worn should look for reputable dealers that work with the British Standards Institution, which ensures all tyres sold meet the minimum requirements.”
Tyres should be checked regularly with some imperfections being easy to spot on visual inspection. Research has shown that 78% of motorists check their tyres less than once a month, with 1 in 20 leaving it up to a year when their MoT comes around.
Tyres must have at least 1.6mm of tread over the central three-quarters of the width of the thread and around the entire circumference. If there is less than this, the tyre needs to be changed. Driving with unsafe tyres is a criminal offence, with fines of £100 and three penalty points per offending tyre. According to recent police data, there's been a 9% increase over the past five years in drivers being pulled over for defective tyres.