Motorists are being warned to take care after a mystery shopping exercise in the city found old and unsafe part worn tyres for sale.

Officers from City of Wolverhampton Council’s Trading Standards team joined forces with Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) Market Surveillance Unit to carry out the test purchases.  

A total of 11 part worn tyres were bought from a number of traders. Two were found to be selling tyres with nails embedded in them. The nails were clearly visible and should have been spotted during pre-sale checks. 

Other issues included the age of the tyres on sale, with some being up to 12 years old, and the fact some tyres were not marked with the warning ‘Part Worn’ which is a legal requirement.

Trading Standards officers will now be considering what action to take against each of the businesses.

The mystery shopper exercise built on work started last year when city businesses selling part worn tyres were visited by Trading Standards and DVSA and advised of their legal obligations.

As a result of the test purchases, officers from Trading Standards are giving the following advice to motorists looking to buy part worn tyres:

  • Check tyres carefully for any damage. Tyres deteriorate with age, which increases the risk of failure.
  • Look for the age of the tyre. This is a 4 digit code: the first 2 figures represent the calendar week in which it was made (from 1 to 52) and the second 2 figures are the year of manufacture. Therefore, a code of 1320 would mean the tyre was made between 28 March and 3 April, 2020. 
  • For a part worn tyre to be legally sold, it must have a minimum tread depth of 2mm all round, be free of large cuts and bulges and not have any plies or cord exposed.
  • Tyres should be permanently marked as ‘part worn’ in lettering 4mm high and have passed an inflation test prior to sale.  

Councillor Steve Evans, cabinet member for city environment and climate change at City of Wolverhampton Council, said: “We are all watching our money at the moment and tyres can be expensive, so it is understandable that people may consider buying part worn to keep cost down.

“It is legal to buy part worn tyres, but motorists need to be confident that the tyres on offer are safe. Old or damaged part worn tyres are a serious danger to all road users and are not worth the savings if they end up costing you your health or damaging your vehicle. 

“The mystery shopper exercise has brought some important issues to light and we will return to these businesses and continue to work with them to ensure they are aware of the legislation to prevent the sale of unsafe tyres.”

Further advice on buying part worn tyres can be found from the DVSA.