Among the faults found by the independent assessors were dangerous puncture repairs, exposed cords, damaged beads, penetration damage and evidence of being run under-inflated, all factors which make them hazardous.
The study, co-ordinatored by TyreSafe and the National Tyre Distributors’ Association, also found that 97 per cent of the 817 part-worn tyres assessed had not been marked by retailers as such, which is required by law.
The chairman of TyreSafe, Stuart Jackson, said: ‘The results of this investigation are truly horrific. Your safety on the road is reliant on the condition of your tyres so it’s essential that retailers only offer for sale either brand new tyres, or those used ones that have been carefully and thoroughly inspected to ensure they meet the various requirements laid down by law.’
According to the Consumer Protection Act, it is an offence for anyone to sell part-worn tyres that do not meet a number of principal requirements. The tyre must pass an inflation test; it must have at least if 2mm of tread depth around its entire circumference; repairs must have been carried out in accordance with the relevant British Standard and the tyre must be permanently marked ‘part-worn’.
Jackson added: ‘Previous investigations into the sale of illegal part-worn tyres have focused on locations where there was a strong suspicion of improper behaviour, but these latest results show beyond doubt that this a national epidemic that needs tackling at the highest levels.
‘We look forward to working closely with even more local councils, Government officials and Trading Standards Offices across the whole of the UK to eradicate this problem and help make our roads safer.’