On 7 December 2022, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) published an information article entitled: “part worns: what operators need to know”. The obvious suggestion ‘don’t buy them’ aside, what advice is the DVSA offering when it comes to part worn tyres?
The National Tyre Distributors Association (NTDA) Tyre Industry Conference has developed a reputation for assembling top-flight speakers to address the key issues of the day. The 2022 event was no different. Topics included tyre distributors’ role in highway safety as positive influencers, part worns and market surveillance as well as tyre recovery.
TyreSafe has welcomed the outcomes and initiatives of the “Government response to the consultation to ban tyres aged 10 years or older”. The Department for Transport’s (DfT) response includes legislation banning the fitment of tyres over 10 years of age to the front wheels of lorries, buses and coaches. The ban also extends to all wheels of minibuses unless they have a ‘twin axle’, which means they would have two wheels on each side at the rear.
National Tyre Distributors Association (NTDA) members have unanimously said “No!” to the sale of part worn tyres in a new independent survey. The NTDA has been instrumental in helping Trading Standards prosecute traders who illegally sold defective part-worn tyres, and its members have now rejected their sale, en masse.
The UK government is consulting on plans to ban old tyres for buses, coaches, lorries and minibuses and a new law could be introduced this year and come into force early 2020. Tyres aged 10 years and older would be banned from use on buses, coaches, lorries and minibuses under the new proposals. However, further clarity about precisely what the new rules will cover is needed.
Recent convictions of retailers across the UK highlight the potential risks unsuspecting motorists take when buying part worn tyres. These cases in Scotland and London followed investigations by Trading Standards and TyreSafe into the sale of dangerous and illegal tyres. In each instance, the retailers faced stiff penalties and fines totalling thousands of pounds.
Commenting on road safety statistics showing that tyres cause more than 1000 casualties and 183 deaths a year, TyreSafe chairman Stuart Jackson lamented the reality that the figures have not gone down during the NTDA Tyre Industry Conference.
Pictures of de-mounted tyres removed from cars at Micheldever retail businesses look more like scrap than tyres taken of road-going vehicles two weeks ago. And this has made some company representatives suggest that the problem of illegal wear is worse than ever.
Investigations by TyreSafe in partnership with Trading Standards over the past five years have revealed a staggering 139 of the 152 part worn outlets visited were selling illegal and unsafe tyres to unsuspecting motorists. That leaves just 13 dealers selling roadworthy tyres from inspections spanning from Scotland to London.
TyreSafe and Trading Standards investigations highlighted that part worn retailers are either ignoring their responsibilities when selling tyres or do not have the required skill to serve motorists properly. During test purchases, some have fitted tyres with water in them to wheels, others have provided the wrong size of tyre, and the supply of examples with nails and other objects embedded in them is all too common.
TecAlliance might be primarily known by many in the trade for its TecDoc electronic parts catalogue and identification system, but the company recently adapted its systems to provide bespoke solutions for German online used tyre retailer Orbix.
Even though there are clear regulations surrounding the sale of part worns, TyreSafe says that investigations it and Trading Standards carry out consistently uncover an alarming number with poor puncture repairs, internal damage and even nails in them. To highlight this sorry state of affairs, the tyre safety organisation has produced a video – welcome to ‘Fit & Hope’ part worn tyre sales. All the tyres featured in Fit & Hope were bought from part worn retailers or seized during TyreSafe and Trading Standards’ joint investigations.
Motorists shouldn’t need to be reminded of this, but it seems they do – safety should be the primary concern when replacing tyres. This is the message from TyreSafe this Tyre Safety Month, and the organisation emphasises that although part-worn tyres may appear to be a cheaper option, numerous studies and investigations it and Trading Standards have carried out give reason to question the roadworthiness of these products. In the most recent actions, 93 per cent of part-worns inspected were sold illegally, and more than have possessed safety-critical faults.
According to TyreSafe, drivers are increasing their motoring costs as well as the risk of being involved in an incident by ignoring tyre maintenance. The organiser of Tyre Safety Month is reminding motorists that regular tyre checks are a ‘win-win’ as they will help road users stay safe and avoid unnecessary bills. To help them, TyreSafe has drawn together a list of tips as a reference guide.