What are Part Worn Tyres?

Part worn tyres are those that have previously been used but, for whatever reason, have been removed from the vehicle and are still deemed as usable.

There are a number of sources for part worn tyres:

  • Written-off vehicle with undamaged tyres
  • Vehicles from scrap yards
  • Vehicles from some parts of Europe, where tyres are deemed illegal when tread drops below 3mm.

We do not sell part worn tyres at Setyres due to motor vehicle tyre safety. As it is impossible to know the full history and source of any part worn tyre, you cannot see the full extent of any damage. This is partly what makes the resale of part worn tyres so dangerous.


At first look, it appears that part worn tyres are definitely the cheaper option, however, this is a false economy!

When you purchase a new tyre, you are investing in approximately 8mm of tread whereas part worn tyres could have as little as 2mm. This means that, per usable millimetre of tread, these tyres come in at a higher cost!

The minimum tyre tread in the UK is 1.6mm and when your tyres are below this, you are legally required to change them. In addition, low tread depth equals a low tyre life and you will need to replace part worn tyres much more rapidly than brand new tyres. This means that in the long run, due to the potential issues they could cause, part worn tyres are definitely the most expensive option.


The buying and selling of part worn tyres is legal but it is highly regulated due to the potential danger. Under The Motor Vehicle Tyres Safety Regulations 1994 (part of the consumer protection act), it is an offence for anyone to sell part worn tyres that do not meet the vehicle tyres safety regulations:

  • The structural integrity of the tyre must not be compromised
  • Tyres must be free of large cuts, bulges and lumps, both externally and internally
  • The original grooves must be clearly visible
  • Tyre tread must be at a minimum of 2mm

The legislation has been designed to ensure that the sale and use of part worn tyres is safe.

However, a study by TyreSafe revealed that 98% of part worn tyres are sold illegally and consequently, may not meet the required safety regulations.

The Dangers of Buying Part Worn Tyres

One of the biggest dangers associated with the sale of part worn tyres is that these tyres may have damage that cannot be detected by the human eye. Damage may have occurred to the internal structure of the tyre and driving on a tyre with this type of damage is highly dangerous. TyreSafe found that 34% of the part worn tyres in their study contained potentially dangerous forms of damage.

Another concern with part worn tyres is the low level of tyre tread they are usually sold with. Although the legal limit for tyre tread depth in the UK is 1.6mm, tyres with tread lower than 3mm provide significantly reduced gripping capabilities. This can then cause longer braking distances and reduced levels of safety in wet conditions.

Tyres that are worn cannot provide the same short braking distances on wet roads as new tyres

At Setyres we strongly advise against fitting part worn tyres to your vehicle due to the hidden dangers they may pose and therefore SETYRES do not fit part worn tyres. For more information on part worn tyres contact your local Setyres branch. Alternatively, you can purchase new car tyres from Setyres.