Do you buy second-hand tyres? A survey by trading standards experts at Birmingham City Council suggests that nine out of 10 fail to meet minimum safety standards.

The council bought tyres from traders across its region and then examined them. Among the failures they found were tyres that had nails embedded, too little tread, exposed cords, inadequate marking and, in one case, one that was 17 years old.

Their findings comes weeks after industry organisation Tyresafe quizzed drivers and found that more than one in 10 was more likely now to buy used tyres than they were a year ago.

‘The results from the Birmingham survey confirm our worst fears about part-worn tyres,’ said Stuart Jackson, chairman of Tyresafe. ‘Although guidelines exist for the condition of tyres sold as part-worn they are clearly not being followed by all traders.’

The city council’s action forms part of a continuing campaign to prevent the sale of dangerous tyres. Selling part-worn tyres is legal providing they are sound and have at least 2mm of tread. The legal minimum depth is 1.6mm, although tyre experts say that below a tread depth of 3mm, grip reduces significantly. The tyres must also be marked as part-worn.

The council has conducted its survey for the past nine years, on each occasion purchasing a selection of tyres anonymously from traders across the city. A third had problems including too little tread or cuts and holes. Tyresafe examined some of the tyres bought under X-rays. All showed impact damage that could increase the chances of a blowout.

The latest survey suggests that more unsafe tyres are being sold. Cllr Neil Eustace, chairman of Brimingham’s public protection committee, said that although the council had worked to educate traders about their responsibilities it was not an issue the council could forget about.