Millions of motorists are risking serious accidents by driving around on part worn and second hand tyres, after defective tyres were blamed for 1,210 casualties on British roads last year.
With the slow recovery of the UK’s economy, the HiQ fast fit network can reveal that more 35 per cent of motorists are currently purchasing second hand or used tyres.
Figures from the Department for Transport show that 18 motorists were killed during 2010 from defective tyres, bringing the number of tyre related deaths on UK roads in the last five years to 164.
To coincide with the release of these figures, HiQ has commissioned its own research which reveals that millions of motorists are willingly putting themselves at risk by buying part worn, second hand tyres that are ‘unsafe’ and a ‘false economy.’
The survey found that over a third of motorists have bought used tyres with over 40% saying they did so to save money.
Almost half of those questioned said they didn’t consider the possible dangers involved with buying used tyres, despite many coming from written off cars and imported from Eastern European scrapyards.
Nearly a third of those surveyed did not know that part-worn tyres can actually suffer from severe structural damage which can’t be seen with the naked eye.
Nearly half of motorists were not aware that part worn tyres can also add two car lengths to a car’s stopping distance in the wet when travelling at just 50mph.
Furthermore, less than a third actually considered the false economy involved in buying used tyres, which typically don’t last as long and need replacing much sooner than new tyres.
The HiQ fast fit network said that while appreciating that times were hard, motorists were in fact paying five times more money for second hand tyres in the long run compared to a mid-range or budget new tyre.
A used tyre has typically 3 mm of tread left on it. As 1.6mm is the minimum legal tread depth, motorists are paying for just 1.4mm of useable tread compared to 6.4mm of useable tread from a new tyre that typically has 8mm of tread when new. HiQ’s message to motorists is to simply do the maths. Used tyres are a false economy.
Richard Edy, director of the NTDA (National Tyre Distributors Association) said that around 60 per cent of all part worns are imported from mainland Europe.
He said: “A used tyre working group for the Government states that there are three million used tyres sold on the UK roads each year, up from 2 million last year. Of that total, around 10 per cent of the total are part-worn tyres.
“Around 60 per cent of part worn tyres will originate from mainland Europe, with German imports figuring significantly.
“German motorists are far more responsible about replacing their tyres than motorists in the UK. The vast majority opt for winter tyres and won’t want to put their summer tyres back on their cars if they only boast around 4mm in tread depth.
“Many of those tyres then end up on our cars over here.”
HiQ Retail Marketing Manager Geraldine McGovern said: “In the vast majority of cases many part worn tyres are retailed illegally as they are not clearly marked as partworn at the point of sale. The main misconception is that they are simply ‘worn’ and everything else is OK. The truth is you never know where they are from.
“But the overriding message is that they are a false economy and extremely unsafe.
“We take tyre safety extremely seriously and if there is a small chance that a tyre might not perform as it should, then we could never recommend them, no matter how cheap they are.
“We are offering free tyre safety checks at all of our centres and we are committed to providing the right tyre for each and every motorist, whatever their budget.
“We completely appreciated the financial constraints around many motorists’ pockets right now, but they can actually save money in the long term by purchasing new tyres at affordable prices instead of part worns.”
For more information about HiQ’s part worn education campaign, click on http://www.hiqonline.co.uk/tyres/whatcost