Drivers are likely to be putting themselves and others at unnecessary risk if they’re buying cheap second-hand tyres for their cars, a new council investigation has revealed.
An investigation carried out by 10 councils across Yorkshire and the Humber under the guidance of the Local Government Association (LGA) found that nearly half (45 per cent) of 29 used tyres examined were unsafe.
Department for Transport figures show that 17 people were killed and a further 147 were seriously injured during 2017 in accidents on Britain’s roads in which a tyre defect was a contributory factor.
Running the risk: Councils have warned drivers about the dangers of buying part-worn tyres after finding that almost half it examined were potentially lethal
LGA’s new report found examples of tyres being sold with serious safety defects, unsafe repairs and incorrect labelling – all of which can make vehicles lethal.
It also highlighted examples of tyres with exposed cords – due to being worn down too much – and some that were so old that they had become dangerous.
Trading standards officers from East Riding of Yorkshire Council seized two used tyres from a garage that had degraded due to their age.
Both tyres not only had exposed cords but one was estimated to be around 28 years old and therefore well past its use-by date.
The organisation which represents councils in England and Wales urged drivers buying second-hand tyres to check they are in good condition and have the required ‘part-worn’ marking.
Concerns over second-hand rubber is already rife following recent investigations by Trading Standards and safety group Tyre Safe.
They found that 99 per cent of part-worn tyre retailers were selling dangerous products in a report issued in December.
Of the 129 tyres Trading Standards inspected, 75 per cent were deemed unsafe and far from fit for use. And almost all the remaining samples were considered dangerous, the report said.
LGA’s report found examples of tyres being sold with serious safety defects, unsafe repairs and incorrect labelling
Councils are already starting to crackdown on retailers.
A prosecution by the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham resulted in a tyre business and company director being ordered to pay £2,712 for selling a customer an unsafe second-hand tyre which had a nail embedded in it.
Three tyre fitters were ordered to pay a total of more than £12,000 after being convicted of 20 charges of selling illegal part-worn tyres and having illegal tyres in possession for sale, following a prosecution by Brent Council.
All three premises were visited prior to test purchases and given comprehensive advice on how to comply with tyre laws.
In a prosecution by Redbridge Council the director of a tyre company who sold dangerous and illegal used tyres, was ordered to pay £1,270.
The tyres were not labelled as ‘part-worn’ and one had a deep cut that investigations proved would damage its structure causing it to fail.
Used tyres might be cheaper but they’re risky choice considering they are the only part of the vehicle in contact with the road
Simon Blackburn, chairman of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: ‘Dangerous part-worn tyres are putting motorists’ lives at risk and blatant, inexcusable breaches of the law are happening with shocking prevalence in some areas.
‘Cheap used tyres might be tempting to buy but if they don’t have the correct legal markings, motorists could unknowingly buy illegal tyres which could contribute to a major accident.
‘Motorists buying used tyres should go to a reputable trader and check they have ‘part-worn’ stamped on them as without this mark, they are unlikely to have been checked and the retailer is breaking the law.
‘They should also look out for any cracks, tears, lumps and check the state of the thread before buying.’
Drivers buying second-hand tyres have been urged to check they are in good condition and correctly labelled
RAC patrol of the year Ben Aldous said: ‘It doesn’t matter how new or well-maintained the rest of a car is, if its tyres are in poor condition drivers leave themselves open to losing grip on the road, and all the horrible consequences that could bring.
‘Every year we attend hundreds of thousands of breakdowns where drivers’ tyres have failed them. While these might sometimes be unavoidable, such as after hitting a pothole, there are far too many times when breakdowns are caused by tyres that are badly worn.
‘We strongly advise drivers to check the tread and pressure of their tyres at least once a fortnight, and before any longer journey, to ensure they are in in tip-top condition.’