Trading Standards Institute Advice
In the guide
The law requires part-worn tyres to be labelled and to meet minimum safety standards
This guidance is for England, Scotland & Wales
The Motor Vehicle Tyres (Safety) Regulations 1994 set out minimum safety standards for the supply of part-worn tyres. To comply, it is important that you and your staff are fully aware of these Regulations.
Under the Regulations, it is illegal to supply any part-worn tyre that is capable of being fitted to a motor vehicle or trailer unless certain conditions are met regarding specific markings and the general condition of the tyre.
Most importantly, all types of part-worn tyre must be marked 'PART WORN', any repairs to tyres must comply with British standards and it is illegal to have unsafe tyres in your possession for sale.
Part-worn tyres (except retreads) should have an ECE approval mark (for example, E11) and a speed and load capacity index (for example, 76 S) moulded into the sidewall at the time of manufacture.
In addition, all types of part-worn tyres must be marked 'PART-WORN' in upper case letters at least 4 mm high.
This wording must be permanently and legibly applied to the tyre, otherwise than by hot-branding or cutting into the tyre, and adjacent to every approval mark.
Rubber labels can be cold vulcanised to the tyre and are available from companies that advertise in the trade press.
Part-worn tyres, whether deflated or inflated to the highest operating pressure at which they are designed to operate, must not have:
- any cut over 25 mm or 10% of the section width of the tyre (whichever is the greater) on the outside of the tyre, deep enough to reach the ply or cord
- any internal or external lump, bulge or tear caused by separation or partial failure of its structure
- any ply or cord exposed internally or externally
- any penetration damage that has not been repaired
In addition, the grooves of the original tread pattern of the tyre must be at least 2 mm deep across the full breadth of the tread and around the entire outer circumference of the tyre.
Part-worn retreaded tyres
Part-worn tyres that have been retreaded must have one of the following:
- BS AU 144b, 144c, 144d, or 144e markings on the side wall (if first supplied as a retread on or before 31 December 2003)
- an ECE approval mark (if first supplied as a retread on or after 1 January 2004)
- a permanent mark to identify the original model and manufacturer, the word 'RETREAD' moulded on to or into its sidewall (in upper case letters at least 4mm high) and further markings in accordance with ECE rules. You may need to seek further advice as to which rules apply
The indication 'PART WORN' must also appear next to the BS or ECE approval mark, or next to the word 'RETREAD'.
For tyres marked BS AU 144e, a speed category symbol and load capacity marking should be present.
A tyre has to comply with all these requirements whether or not it is fitted to a rim.
We recommend that a thorough inspection of the tyre be made before fitting to the rim, and also after fitting and inflating the tyre to the highest operating pressure. Tyres that are sold unfitted will need to be inspected with particular care as it is an offence to supply tyres with the defects listed above, even if they only become detectable when the tyre is inflated. Inflation and inspection is recommended.
If a tyre has been repaired, it must have been properly repaired.
Any tyre that has been repaired should be inspected very carefully. Repairs must comply with British Standard BS AU 159f: Specification for repairs to tyres for motor vehicles used on the public highway.
Tyres in storage
It is also illegal to have unsafe tyres in your possession for sale, so you will need to be clear what is and what is not for sale. If you have tyres in storage, but not intended for sale, they should be clearly marked as such.
Failure to comply with trading standards law can lead to enforcement action and to sanctions, which may include a fine and/or imprisonment. For more information please see 'Trading standards: powers, enforcement & penalties'.
- Motor Vehicle Tyres (Safety) Regulations 1994
- Motor Vehicle Tyres (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 2003
Last reviewed / updated: August 2019
This information is intended for guidance; only the courts can give an authoritative interpretation of the law.
The guide's 'Key legislation' links may only show the original version of the legislation, although some amending legislation is linked to separately where it is directly related to the content of a guide. Information on amendments to UK legislation can be found on each link's 'More Resources' tab; amendments to EU legislation are usually incorporated into the text.
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