ERJ staff report (BC)
Bournemouth, UK – 1.5m UK motorists have bought substandard second-hand tires since 2009, putting themselves and other road users at risk, according to research commissioned by motor insurer LV= from ICM Research.
The research found that around 23m part-worn tires have been sold over the past five years as cash-strapped drivers look to cut the cost of maintaining their vehicle. It was estimated that 26 percent of those sold did not meet legal safety requirements and were unfit for road use.
The UK has strict rules on the condition and sale of part-worn tires under the Consumer Protection Act, notes LV=. Second-hand tires must be stamped “part worn” on the side to show that the tire has been checked and meets all legal requirements. More than half (51 percent) of British motorists who had purchased secondhand tires in the past five years were found not to be aware of this legal requirement – and, over the same period, only two in five (41 percent) said the products they bought were appropriately labelled.
Insufficient tread will reduce a tire's performance and make brakes less effective, potentially resulting in skidding, and increasing the distance needed to stop. Over the past five years, more than half a million (570,000) motorists who have bought secondhand tires are reported as saying they have skidded while they had the tires on their car, and an additional 512,000 said their car took longer to stop than usual.
Driving with substandard tires not only compromises vehicle safety but it is also a criminal offence in the UK. Those caught driving with defective tires risk a £100 (€121) fine and three penalty points on their driving licence for each offending tire. Police data are cited as showing that more motorists are now being pulled over for driving with defective tires – an increase of 9 percent since 2009.
With a new set of four tires costing anything up to £1,000 (€1207) compared to just £150 (€181) for their part-worn equivalents, motorists can save hundreds of pounds by buying second-hand. The part-worn tire market is booming as a result, but LV= points out that some unscrupulous dealers are selling substandard tires and putting their customers at risk.
LV= cites official figures showing that the number of part-worn tire dealerships being investigated by Trading Standards has almost doubled since 2009.
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Press release from LV=