Trying to save cash by buying second hand 'part worn' tyres could end up costing you your life, according to research by Brent and Harrow Trading Standards officers.
In July officers bought second hand tyres from 12 different traders around Brent and Harrow, which were handed to an independent safety expert for inspection.
The expert, whose services were provided by the National Tyre Distributors Association and tyre safety charity Tyresafe, found that only two of the 12 tyres matched up to legally acceptable standards, while at least six of them had defects that could pose a serious safety risk if they were put back on a car.
In general, second hand tyres will often show signs of deterioration and defects after six years of use, and it's impossible to tell what kind of use the tyres had under their previous owner. Over half of the tyres inspected were over eight years old, with the oldest tyre a staggering 17 years old.
Although all the traders had been visited and advised by Trading Standards officers in the months before the test purchases were made, many had ignored the advice. Revisits to the worst traders have resulted in two seizures of unsafe tyres, and two traders are now being investigated by Trading Standards.
Cllr Michael Pavey, Brent Council's Cabinet Member for Stronger Communities said: "Tyres are the only part of the vehicle in contact with the road surface, so they play a vital role in keeping you safe while driving. Part worn tyres can be very cheap and the savings can be seductive, but it's not worth it if it ends up costing you your health or damaging your vehicle.
"This investigation by our Trading Standards team highlights once again the importance of checking your vehicle's tyres. If you must buy second hand tyres, make sure you go to a reputable trader, or shop online to get the best possible price on a new tyre."
If you have concerns about second hand tyres that you've bought in either Brent or Harrow, you can contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06.
You can find out more about second hand tyres at www.partworn-tyres.co.uk.