Car tyres Used or part-worn tyres

Are used car tyres safe?

Second-hand tyres can be dangerous

Fitting second-hand, part-worn tyres to your car can be dangerous

It might be tempting to save money by buying used or part-worn tyres, but we don't think it's worth the risk. 

It is legal for garages in the UK to sell part-worn – or second-hand – car tyres, but only if they are safe and properly marked.

Under the Motor Vehicle Tyres (Safety) Regulations 1994, a part-worn tyre must not have:

  • Cuts longer than 25mm – or 10% of the section width of the tyre – which are deep enough to reach the ply or cord
  • Lumps, bulges or tears caused by separation or failure of the tyre's structure
  • Any penetration damage that has not been repaired
  • Any of the internal or external cord or ply exposed

Part-worn tyres must also be properly marked. They have to:

  • Show all the original markings for their type and design, including speed ratings and load indexes
  • Feature the words ‘part worn’ in capital letters at least four millimetres high (this must be permanent, legible and not be made by cutting or branding)
  • Be inspected internally if they are to be sold on the rim.

Some outlets sell part-worn tyres that do not meet these standards, which means they might have suffered internal damage – and could be dangerous. That's why Which? advises that you don't buy part-worn tyres.

More on this...  

Other sections in this guide

  1. Overview
  2. Which tyres should I buy?
  3. Tyre buying tips
  4. When to buy tyres
  5. Used or part-worn tyres
  6. The energy label for tyres
  7. The UK's top tyre makers