The sale of part worn tyres (PWT) is a controversial subject. The national press creates an image to the general public that the purchasing of PWTs can have terrible consequences and rightly so if the tyre in question has a default and has been sold by an uneducated and unscrupulous seller.
However, there is another reality to the sales of these tyres. When ATF Professional visits sites around the country PWTs are always on display and ATF owners always say sales are brisk. Simon Bastin-Mitchel from Silverlake told us “Annually we are seeing a 25% increase in the sale of part worn tyres, we have also seen a 40% increase in requests for part worn tyres that we do not have, so why is there such bad press about them? In the last 3 years we have sold over 90,000 part worn tyres and with the growth expected we are looking to double the size of our own tyre bay to deal with demand.”
In most conversations, ATF directors or managements say they are very much aware of the responsibility of selling non defective PWTs as they feel that like selling all vehicle parts, maintaining high standards is paramount to a successful business. There is also the feeling that there is more focus on purchasing individual PWTs but this is reduced when people are purchasing a second or third hand vehicle when in effect, they are buying four tyres which have been used.
The problem lies in that horrific accidents have happened on our roads because of the fact that unsuspecting people have purchased faulty and dangerous part worn tyres. Perhaps the correct inspections were not made by those selling the tyres, illegal repairs were made and false information was given to the buyer with the seller having no moral judgement whatsoever.
The issue arises that if the sales of PWTs are increasing, how can we differentiate from those who are creating the bad press? How can we encourage the public to buy with confidence and how can we feel assured that every tyre that comes into our yards is inspected properly so that decisions which could be a matter of ‘life and death’ are made correctly?
One such scheme that could help answer these questions is being provided by the TRA (Tyre Recovery Association) called ‘The Responsible Part Worn Tyre Program’. The scheme is fundamentally set up to introduce best practice in the market place when it concerns PWTs. It is an audited system that focuses on five main aspects: (a) The Law, (b) Inspection, (c) Repairing, (d) Testing and (e) traceability. When reading the TRA literature it says, ‘The Tyre Recovery Association (TRA) has introduced the Responsible Part Worn Tyre Programme (RPWTP) to improve professionalism across the whole industry. It will achieve this by ensuring retailers are aware of their responsibilities and providing them with the support needed to meet the required standards.’
The audited system, which is endorsed by the BVSF, is designed so that ‘those successful competing the RPWTP will be distanced from others in the market place and be able to reassure their customers that they have been trained to the highest standards.’ On completion of the audit and inspection certification is awarded which is designed to displayed to gives buyers of PWTs peace of mind and how they are making an informed decision.
Peter Taylor OBE, Secretary General of the TRA said:
“First and foremost this is a consumer safety issue. Product reuse comes at the top of the waste hierarchy but we in the tyre industry must do more to ensure that when if tyres are resold they are truly fit for purpose, sadly that is still not always the case.This TRA initiative provides traders and their customers with a clearly needed best practice approach to resale and reuse.”
When we informed Simon Bastin-Mitchel from Silverlake about RPWTP, he replied:
“Silverlake is passionate about the safety of all customers who purchase PWT’s and we believe that the RPWTP is fundamental in ensuring retailers are aware of their responsibilities and what is required of them.”