April 24, 2018
Polish Tyre Industry Association (PTIA)
Are used tyres a safe choice?

The purchase of new tyres is an expanse, which every driver should treat as an investment – tyres are the only element of the vehicle in contact with the road. Their quality and efficiency determine not only the performance of a car or motorcycle, but also the well-being of drivers. However, only brand, unused and properly stored tyres ensure safety.

The first criterion of buying new tyres is purchasing an unused set. Not necessarily produced just a couple of months ago, but unused. Why is that? We don’t know the history of used tyres – whether or not they were incorrectly repaired or whether the last owner monitored tyre pressure levels. That’s all there is to it – points out Piotr Sarnecki, Director General of Polish Tyre Industry Association (PTIA). That’s the root of the problem – a used tyre can have severe internal damage, such as wrecked carcass due to a car accident or even broken steel belt – such damage can only be examined in a factory. A used bumper, swing arm and other fitments permitted by law can be available on the market of second-hand parts, because we can easily determine their state. Tyres have a delicate, easily damaged internal structure. Used tyres simply shouldn’t be used because of safety concerns – adds Sarnecki.

Most drivers change their tyres in the interest of their safety and the safety of their close ones. Used tyres are handled by waste utilisation companies – where, in clean and safe systems, they are converted to energy – or to recycling companies specialising in used tyres. Such businesses produce, among other things, rubber granules used to build tracks, pitches or modern, resistant roads.

Tyres can be easily damaged – driving on under inflated tyres for just a couple dozen of kilometres causes severe overload and overheating of sidewalls, and loss of the car’s adherence to the road. At a temperature above 120°C steel elements of tyres break away from the rubber layers – which drastically weakens the whole structure. While accidentally hitting a curb, a pothole or after a serious accident, internal layers of tyres – such as carcass or belt – get damaged. Drivers risk tyre damage when using low-quality car services, where the staff use old, unserviced machines. Beads can be easily damaged while removing tyres from rims and the client might not notice it.


Used tyres carry a big danger of sudden breakdowns and may cause damage to other vehicle components. A tyre break while driving on an express road or a highway poses a huge risk of loss of life and danger for human health. In a car driving at the speed of 130 km/h the number of revolutions per minute of a car tyre in a popular size is over 1000. There’s no place for mistakes or a botch in such circumstances.


Why are brand new tyres carefully checked during the last stages of their production? – to exclude the possibility of internal damage of the belt or the bead core. Nobody does such checking on the market of second-hand tyres, because such technology is only available to the manufacturers. Is the risk worth it then, if the producers offer tyres that suit every pocket?

Used tyres could have been involved in a crash, have internal damage, have been improperly exploited, unprofessionally repaired or stored in improper conditions. No expert will be able to asses the damage of tyres which may not be visible once fitted to your vehicle and which may lead to dangerous consequences – losing a tyre while driving. It’s not worth to skimp on tyres. So what we buy a used tire of a known brand that once had premium performance if it will be less sturdy and damaged inside? It is better and much safer to buy a brand new tyre in economy range. Tire tests are conducted for new products, straight from the shop. A tire that has been incorrectly exploited and damaged – even if made by a known brand – no longer has the performance declared on the basis of measurements. Caring for tires at the stage of their operation prolongs their life. Unfortunately, as drivers, we do not really care about our tires – only 40 percent of respondents declare checking tire pressure once in a while. How then are these good, undamaged, used tyres supposed to be brought to the market?

The tire while driving on the highway is the second, and in cars with turbocharging the third fastest-rotating element of the car. Buying used tires with an unknown history of use is not like the purchase of used shoes in a second-hand, where the price and originality matter. Drivers should remember that it is not possible to assess the durability of a tire that comes from an unknown source. Damage to the inner layers of the tire caused by poor exploitation can not be seen with the naked eye. Not every element in a passenger car can be changed for a previously used one without any negative consequences. Tires are such a case – stresses Piotr Sarnecki The place of used tires is in installations for recycling, not on the secondary market.

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