Part- worn tyres: The real truth about fitting used tyres...

It may seem like a quick, cheap and convenient option to buy some second-hand, part worn tyres when you’re in need for a replacement, but in the long run they may not always be the cheapest nor safest option.

Is it legal to buy part-worn tyres?

The short answer to this question is yes. It is legal to buy part- worn tyres as long as they adhere to certain requirements. 

These requirements include:

  • Have an EC approval mark and a speed & load capacity index
    • Be marked with ‘PART-WORN’ in upper case letters at least 4mm high.
    • Not have a cut over 25mm or 10% of the section width of the tyre
    • Not have any internal or external lump, bulge or tear
    • Not have any ply or cord exposed
    • Not have any penetration damage that has not been repaired
    • The original tread pattern of the tyre must be at least 2mm deep 
Despite this, a huge 98% of part-worn tyres are sold illegally- putting you and your loved ones’ safety in danger. Remember, if your tyre has any of the above- DO NOT buy it. Your safety is more important than saving ££’s.

It's false economy

According to the UK’s legal requirements for tyres, the absolute minimum tread depth for a tyre to be deemed safe is 1.6mm. Part worn tyres have a minimum tread depth of just 2mm. This means that you will have just 0.4mm of tread depth on your tyre before it will need replacing- which seems like a waste of your money; as soon as you buy the second-hand tyre, it will need replacing again! Brand new tyres come with 7-8 mm of tread depth, meaning you will be much safer on the roads as well as the tyre lasting for much longer, so you will be saving money in the long term as you wont need to keep buying tyres due to them not meeting the minimum legal tread depth level. 

Hidden dangers

During an investigation carried out by TyreSafe and AutoExpress, 50 part-worn tyres were tested and 34% of them contained potentially dangerous damage- so if you DO go ahead and buy a second-hand, part worn tyre, you must make sure that they meet the legal requirements first, for the sake of you and your family’s safety

Alongside the lack of financial benefits of part-worn tyres, we also have to consider the detrimental effects that these products could have on the safety of you and your family. The problem with buying these kinds of tyres is that you never know exactly where they have come from, if they have been in any accidents or if there will be potentially dangerous damage within them.  Do they have cuts and bulges? Kerb damage? Have they been badly repaired? These are things that aren’t always visible and may be concealed as internal damage within the structure of the tyre. You must make sure that the tyre you are buying has passed all the necessary tests and fulfilled the requirements first. This is essential to ensure your safety.

The best alternative

Part- worn tyres are not your only option if you are looking to save money on a new set of tyres. In response to the high demand for cheaper tyres, more manufacturers are creating budget range tyres, which are simultaneously cheaper for you to buy, but are much safer than buying a used tyre. Some examples of brands that sell budget range tyres are RadarZeta and Accelera to name just a few. New budget tyres have 7-8mm of useable tread and so are much better value than fitting a used or second hand tyre which may only have 2-3mm of tread. 

Alongside this, these budget tyres also have good EU ratings. These ratings indicate the efficiency of 3 feautures of the tyre and these are:


-Fuel efficiency: measures the rolling resistance to indicate which tyre will give the best fuel economy

-Wet grip: How quickly the tyre stops on a wet road surface

-External rolling noise: This measures the external rolling noise made by a tyre in motion 

This means that you know exactly how your tyres will perform when you buy them, along with having significantly more tread which will save you money in the long term, as well as hugely increasing your safety.



Thanks to the growth of budget tyre manufacturers, there are many more options when it comes to affordable tyres. A brand new tyre may not be as expensive as you think! Enter your registration below for an instant quote of a budget tyre for your vehicle.