Safety rules may signal end of cheap, second-hand tyres
DRIVERS could be hit with higher motoring bills under plans to regulate the sale of second-hand tyres.
The Road Safety Authority (RSA) is considering introducing new rules to ensure the tyre has a minimum thread depth and is safe to use.
The road safety watchdog said this would most likely result in a "slight increase" in the price of a part-worn tyre.
There are no rules currently in place governing the sale of part-worn tyres, and concerns have been raised about the safety risks involved in fitting and using them.
The UK has rules on the sale of second-hand tyres and it is feared that Ireland may have become an "effective dumping ground" for low-quality tyres.
Most come from continental Europe, particularly Austria, Finland, Germany and Sweden, because vehicles owners are obliged to change from summer to winter tyres to cope with treacherous road conditions.
Many of these end up being exported to countries including Ireland, where they are considerably cheaper to buy than new tyres.
But the RSA , which is accepting submissions on the issue until December 20, said that consumers could be making a false saving as second-hand tyres don't tend to last long.
A part-worn tyre costing €30 with 3.6mm of tread remaining only has 2mm of available tread wear before the minimum legal depth of 1.6mm is reached.
"Therefore the cost of the tyre can be equated to €15 per mm of available tread," the RSA said.
"On the other hand a new tyre costing €80 will have 8mm of tread or 6.4mm of available tread wear, which equates to €12.50 per mm or a 17pc cost reduction." The road safety watchdog pointed out the owner would also face the hassle of having to fit numerous sets of used tyres.
However, it notes that a used tyre in good condition and with a significant amount of tread remaining may offer better value to a consumer than buying a new tyre.
Among the options being proposed by the RSA are to regulate their use or conduct a public information campaign.
The Irish Tyre Industry Association (ITIA) has highlighted the risk of using part-worn tyres, saying some may have been in a crash or damaged internally.
The AA said the sale of second-hand tyres was problematic, and that tighter controls were needed.
"It may be possible to look at some sort of regulation for the trade to prevent those people from selling part-worn tyres," spokesman Conor Faughnan said.
The AA had seen a sizeable increase in the number of breakdown call-outs arising from worn tyres, he added.