It seemed to me that the use of second-hand or ‘remoulded’ tyres on cars was a rubber folly of the Twentieth Century consigned to history like that out-of-date prophylactic you once found at the back of the glove box. With modern motors, even city cars, having more power than ever you’d have thought that quality black hoops would be the order of the day for all. This seems not to be the case, at least according to supplier AA Tyres.
We are told that over four million UK drivers (four million!) are planning to buy potentially dangerous used tyres over the next twelve months. With reduced tyre tread and existing problems that are often missed by pre-sale inspections, this could mean an alarming influx of unsafe tyres onto the UK roads over the course of the next year.
I suppose it is a little bit understandable. The cost of quality products, as with the cost of ALL motoring expenses including taxes, is very high. Many people struggle financially to keep a motor going. These people could of course use public transport. This is something that the Mayor of London wants us do, for example. Unfortunately, the transport Utopia he imagines doesn’t exist in the real world of family economics for most of the UK. It is entirely understandable that folk would want to keep that old motor running.
The Folly Of Cheap Tyres
But cheap tyres are not the answer. They just aren’t. There is a reason you have never heard of that particular brand. It is because they have as much grip as a greased pig on a water slide. Yet almost 2 million British motorists mistakenly think used tyres are as safe as new. Sure, 55% of motorists think new rubber is too expensive – but the ‘affordable alternative’ of part-worns is very much a false economy possibly to the point of death as the main cost.
This is further proof of my contention that we have lost touch with our cars. Not so long ago motorists would be out on their drives, fettling their motors. It’s true that modern cars are very complex which accounts for much of the general ignorance about how they work. Yet it is easy to check tread and condition but still we learn that over two thirds of drivers would not feel confident checking the condition and safety of their own tyres. This is unbelievable. It’s so easy and so essential.
Almost 2 million British motorists incorrectly believe that used tyres are just as safe as new rubber. The younger generation it is that appears to be less clued-up, with 14% of 18-24 year age group believing used goods are just as safe.
Tyres Save Us
When it comes to choosing tyres, picking price over safety is a dangerous idea. Used or recon rubber can certainly be a lot cheaper than the real thing but they will certainly be a more risky proposition. Consider this: the legal limit for tread is a depth of 1.6mm. Buying a used tyre with 2mm left of tread is therefore far less economical than buying a new tyre with 7mm, for example. The penalty for driving with tyres below the legal tread depth in the UK can cost you £2,500 and three points per tyre. With a goodly number of serious accidents attributed to faulty tyres over the last few years, it is simply not worth the risk to make a quick saving.
The internet is awash with good advice about buying and maintaining tyres. It pays to sit up and take notice because buying super-cheap or used tyres is the height of rubber folly. Realising that when your car is sliding toward a child on the pavement is too late. Geoff Maxted