Investigation by safety charity and Trading Standards reveals widespread sales of illegal rubber.

More than nine in 10 retailers of ‘part-worn’ tyres have sold illegal and unsafe tyres to unsuspecting motorists, according to a long-running investigation.

Tyre safety matters

Over the past five years, tyre safety charity TyreSafe has worked with Trading Standards to check the stock of 152 UK retailers, and found that 139 were selling illegal tyres. Just 13 of the outlets investigated were offering motorists road-legal rubber.

According to TyreSafe, part-worn tyre sellers are either “ignoring their responsibilities” or lack the skill to serve motorists in the correct way. During the investigation, the charity saw tyres fitted to wheels with water still inside, while others provided incorrectly sized tyres. Some tyres even had nails and other foreign objects embedded in the tread.

Worn tyres

Stuart Jackson, Chairman of TyreSafe, said: “It must be acknowledged that the retail of dangerous and defective tyres by part worn dealers is unacceptably commonplace nationwide.

“While the shocking findings of joint investigations may reveal some part-worn dealers are compliant, even if it is fewer than one in 10, motorists have a 90 percent chance of visiting an outlet selling illegal tyres. As far as TyreSafe is aware, there is no other retail sector with such an atrocious track record. Let’s remember these dealers are selling safety critical components – when tyres are driven in an unroadworthy condition, a vehicle’s braking and steering are compromised, and road users are put at significant risk of a catastrophic tyre failure.

McLaren Pirelli winter tyres

“TyreSafe pledges to continue its potentially life-saving work with Trading Standards and partners with an ambition to drive compliance and competence among part worn retailers.”