Buying second-hand tyres: Am I Saving Money?
Second-hand or part worn tyres are tyres which have been used on another vehicle. If you are thinking about buying a part worn tyre, you must ensure the tyre is safe and meets the minimum legal requirements. You should also think about whether or not you’re getting real value for money.
The following are some important points to look out for before buying a part-worn tyre;
- Check for an E-Mark on the tyre. Your tyres will need to carry an E-mark for the NCT
- Check that there is a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm on the tyre. Anything less is illegal for use on a public road. Always measure in the middle of the tyre surface, and not at the edges.
- Tyres also have a ‘tread wear indicator’ block set into them at a depth of 1.6mm. You should check this block to ensure that this indicator is not at the same level as or lower than the tyre tread.
- Ask the seller if the tyre has undergone a condition check (including when it is inflated) to make sure it meets the minimum legal requirements and is free from defects both internally and externally. Common defects include tears, lumps, and bulges. A tyre that is not roadworthy will result in a car failing its NCT as well as reducing your safety on the road.
- Ask the seller to confirm that the tyre you are buying is the correct size and design for your vehicle, and that it has the correct load and speed rating for its intended use. If you’re not sure about what tyre is best suited for your vehicle, you could consult your vehicle manufacturer or look it up in the owner’s handbook.
- Find our the age of the second hand tyre and make sure that is is not more than six years old. A tyre that is six years old is a ‘pass advisory’ item at the NCT. A tyre’s age can be determined by the serial number on the tyre sidewall. This serial number comprises of a four digit code and refers to the tyre’s date of manufacture. The last two digits refer to the year or manufacture: the first two refer to the week in that year. For example 1411 = week 14 of 2011. Tyres deteriorate with age. Signs of tyre aging include cracking or crazing (lots of fine cracks) on the side wall of the tyre caused by the tyre’s flexing movements. The shape of the tyre tread can become distorted too. Tyre aging increases the risk of tyre failure. Tyres may begin to show the signs of aging from when they are six years old.
- Be aware that there could be damage to the inside of the rubber which you mightn’t be able to see from just looking at it, but that it would be possible to see in an x-ray. The seller might be able to show that the tyre was x-rayed to prove that there is no internal damage.
- Be satisfied that you are getting value for money. The remaining tread depth of a second hand tyre is very important, and this is something you need to consider carefully in terms of the value for money.
Part Worn Tyres: Am I Saving Money ?
A part worn tyre costing €30 has tread thickness of 3.6mm. Therefore, it has 2mm of usable tread before it reaches the minimum legal tread depth of 1.6… This works out at €15 per mm of usable tread.
On the other hand, a new tyre costing €80 has 8mm of tread. Therefore, it has 6.4mm of usable tread before it reaches the minimum legal tread depth of 1.6mm. This works out at €12.50 per mm of usable tread, and therefore offers better value.
In addition to the increased costs in this example, you would have to buy three sets of these part worn tyres in order to get the same life as one new set of tyres.
The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, today (Friday) announced a new Fixed Charge Notice (FCN) offence for motorists who drive with defective or worn tyres on their vehicle. Although it is already an offence to drive a vehicle with defective or worn tyres, there will now be a fixed charge (or fine) of €80, with two penalty points endorsed on the licence on payment of the fixed charge for commission of the offence, or four penalty points following conviction in court. The new regulations take effect from Sunday, 17th April 2016.
Speaking today, Minister Donohoe said: ‘Following consultation with the Road Safety Authority and An Garda Síochána, I have decided to extend the fixed charge notice system to vehicles with defective or worn tyres. This new measure is intended to promote greater awareness among motorists of the hazards of driving with tyres that are not in roadworthy condition.
“Since the penalty points system was introduced in 2002, there has been a dramatic fall in the numbers dying needlessly on our roads. The penalty points system has played an important role in reducing fatalities and improving road safety since that time. We need to keep up the pressure to reduce road deaths, and I am confident that the measure I am introducing today will make an important contribution to achieving that.
“Just this month, the Road Safety Authority reported that vehicle factors played a role in one in eight fatal collisions across the period 2008 to 2012. Defective tyres were the most significant factor, representing almost two thirds of all vehicle factors identified as contributing to a collision and to the deaths of 71 people on Irish roads in the past five years.
“The RSA report also highlighted just how important it is that every aspect of a vehicle is in proper roadworthy condition. None of us can predict what will happen on our roads; we may encounter other drivers behaving poorly or adverse weather conditions. However, we can take personal responsibility for ensuring that our vehicle is properly maintained and be confident that our tyres can reliably respond to whatever conditions we may encounter. In a bid to highlight how critical this issue is to road safety, I have expedited the work to bring the offence of defective and non-roadworthy tyres within the penalty point system. I am urging people to take preventative measures today by checking their vehicles regularly and ensuring they are up to standard and roadworthy. It may just save your life.”
Why is it Important to Have Your Tyres Checked Regularly?
One of the most important yet often ignored car safety precautions is checking your tyres on a regular basis. After all, tyres are the sole point of contact between your car and the road, with the air inside them supporting the weight of your vehicle. When they’re in perfect working condition, they help secure your safety and don’t disrupt the driving experience.
- Monthly tyre pressure check
The recommended tyre pressure will be mentioned in the user manual, on the inside of the fuel flap, or on a label on your car door. It is critical that the tyres maintain this tyre pressure. Over or under inflation can cause uneven wear and affect their longevity. Importantly, it can affect cornering, stability and braking. Low tyre pressure can also increase fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Tyre under inflated by even 1 bar can drive up fuel consumption by 6 per cent.
Get your tyre pressure checked at least once a month; more regularly during warm weather when they usually lose more air; and before and after a long journey.
- Monthly tire tread wear check
Low tyre tread depth increases the risk of tyre failure and hydroplaning, where standing water, slush or snow causes the wheels to lose contact with the road surface and makes your vehicle slide out of control. It is especially important to check tyre tread depth during the winter months.
The legal minimum tread depth is 1.6mm. Tread wear indicators are also moulded into the base of the main grooves. When the tread surface wears down to the same level as the indicators, it means the tyres are at the legal limit and require replacement. A tread depth gauge is used to measure tread depth. But if you have any doubts or feel like you’ve not measured the tread depth accurately, it is best to let auto centre experts handle the job.
- Tyre valves
Over time, the rubber valves of your tyres will wear out and deteriorate, causing air loss. The valve cap can also suffer damage and fail to perform its main function: keeping out dirt and dust particles. By checking tyre valves and caps periodically, you can ensure an airtight seal, the correct tire pressure, and extend the life of your tyres.
- Tyre servicing
The performance of and wear-and-tear sustained by your car’s tyres is dependent on a variety of factors. Periodic tyre inspection can reveal if your tyres need servicing or they must be replaced. At the very least – an annual inspection must be performed – and if your tyres have been in use for ten years now, it’s time to get a new set.
Baldoyle Auto Centre’s free tyre digital scan provides a detailed thread analyist of the condition of your tyres. Get your report and take the best course of action for optimal safety and a superior driving experience.