main logo

Is second-hand safe? The true price of part worn tyres

By Dan BezerTyre Advice5th September 2019

Part worn tyres can seem like a good way to save money. They’re cheaper, after all. But are they value for money, and are they even safe to drive on?

If you’re caught driving on bald tyres, you risk three penalty points on your licence and a fine of up to £2,500 – and that’s per tyre. So, a car with four bald tyres could cost you £10,000 and 12 points (which is your licence!).


In this article, we discuss some of the dangers of buying part worn tyres.


The economy of used tyres

First of all, new tyres – even new budget tyres – come with a tread depth of around 8mm. That’s significantly greater than the legal minimum of 1.6mm deep.

Remember, your tyres are your vehicle’s only point of contact with the road. Tread depth is what gives them their grip, and is a crucial factor in maintaining the safety, handling and fuel economy of your vehicle over time.

Time is the second important factor. Buy used tyres and you’re not getting full value – and you probably have no idea of how many miles the tyres have already driven.

At best, you get less tread than on brand new tyres, even cheap new tyres. At worst, you could end up with a tyre that is already close to the legal minimum, leaving you to pay for yet another replacement next time you get your car serviced or put it through its MOT.

Finally, be aware that tyres don’t necessarily wear evenly all the way around. If the wheels on the previous vehicle they were fitted to were not balanced well, the tread might wear more on one side. What’s more, harsh braking could also lead to flat spots with greater wear and tear. That means you might miss a spot where the tread depth is already at or below the legal minimum – again something that is unlikely to go unnoticed during an MOT.

Did you know that 34 percent of all part worn tyres offered for sale have potentially life-threatening defects? You can find more information about the dangers of buying part worn tyres by heading to TyreSafe’s website.


How to check used tyres

To avoid buying bald tyres, there are some quick checks you can carry out. For a full guide, see our page about How to Check Tyre Tread Depth.

First of all, look at the full perimeter of the tyre. See if there are any obvious areas where the tread has worn down more than others – a sign of a past life installed on an unbalanced car.

Check the shoulders and sides of the tyre for bulges, cracks and splits, and look closely for any sign of a repaired puncture.

In an emergency, you might be tempted to take whatever tyre you can get, but it’s not worth putting yourself in danger by driving on wheels that are badly worn or at risk of a blow-out.

The most common top tip to check tyre tread depth – albeit not the most accurate – is to insert a 20p into the tread. The raised outer band on the face design of the coin should be completely covered by the tread if it is above the legal minimum of 1.6mm deep. Please bear in mind, however, that many motoring organisations recommend you replace worn tyres once the tread reaches 2-3mm.


Don’t buy bald tyres – buy budget tyres from TOTD 

Tyres on the Drive only sell new tyres. With the great range of budget tyres on the market, there is simply no need to drive on bald tyres and put your safety, finances and driving licence at risk.

We can come to your vehicle and, providing there is enough safe workspace, our technicians can get your new tyres fitted and balanced. Most of our callouts are to driveway tyre replacements, but as long as your vehicle is in a safe location, we can come to other places too, such as your place of work.

In an emergency, we can often fit in last-minute callouts, so if you’re stuck at home with a puncture and there’s somewhere you need to be, give us a call. We also have a huge range of tyres: from cheap tyres – which still offer great quality and excellent grip – through to premium tyres from brands like Bridgestone, Michelin and Pirelli.

If you call us out to replace your tyres, we can supply your preferred replacement as part of our mobile tyre fitting service. We will install one or more new tyres to your vehicle and make sure everything is balanced, so you get even wear out of your tyres over time.

This gives you maximum longevity from your new tyres. So whether you choose a budget tyre brand, mid-range tyres or one of those big-name premium tyre manufacturers, you can be assured of the best possible economy over the life of your new tyres.

Get started

Simply enter your postcode and choose a service


Need your tyres replacing, but don’t fancy spending all your cash in one go? If so, then we can help you spread the cost, covering spends over £99. Choose PayPal Credit at checkout and get 0% interest for 4-months!
Representative Example
Representative 21.9% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 21.9% p.a (variable)
Assumed credit limit £1,200
Halfords Autocentres Limited (Tyres on the Drive) is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) for the purposes of credit broking. Ref 755309.
Registered office: lcknield Street Drive, Washford West, Redditch, Worcestershire, B98 ODE United Kingdom. Company number: 04050548.

Terms and Conditions apply. Credit subject to status. UK residents only.

Credit is provided by PayPal Credit, a trading name of PayPal (Europe) S.à r.l. et Cie, S.C.A. Société en Commandite par Actions Registered Office: 22-24 Boulevard Royal L-2449, Luxembourg RCS Luxembourg B 118 349.