Councils in England and Wales have issued a warning about buying second-hand tyres, stating that as many as 83 per cent of used tyres in some areas are being sold illegally.
Part-worn tyres are being sold with serious safety defects, unsafe repairs and incorrect labelling, with some used tyres on sale found to be 23 years old, according to council Trading Standards teams cracking down on irresponsible businesses flouting the law.
The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales, is urging motorists buying second-hand tyres to check they are in good condition and bear the required ‘PART-WORN’ tyre marking. The stamp lets drivers know that the tyre has been checked and meets legal requirements.
Latest government figures show there were 16 people killed and 908 road casualties – more than two a day – in reported incidents in the UK in 2015 where illegal, defective or under-inflated tyres were a contributory factor.
With research showing that around 4.5 million part-worn tyres are being sold in the UK every year, the LGA is warning sellers of illegal used tyres they face confiscation of their stock and prosecution which could lead to a hefty fine and a prison sentence.
Cllr Simon Blackburn, Chair of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: “The prevalence of dangerous used tyres for sale at some businesses is alarming and irresponsible traders have got questions to answer because they are putting lives at serious risk.
“Cheap part-worn tyres might be tempting to buy but if they don’t have the correct legal markings, motorists risk buying 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.
“It’s also worth looking at how good a deal used tyres offer. New tyres are available to suit all budgets, provide a safer option and should last longer, meaning they may offer better value for money in the long term.”