Abstract Alternate fuels like ethanol, biodiesel, LPG, CNG, etc., have been already commercialised in the transport sector. In this context, pyrolysis of solid waste is currently receiving renewed interest. The disposal of waste tyres can be simplified to a certain extent by pyrolysis. In the present work, the crude tyre pyrolyisis oil (TPO) was desulphurised and then distilled through vacuum distillation. Also, two distilled tyre pyrolysis oil (DTPO)–diesel fuel (DF) blends at lower and higher concentrations were used as fuels in a four stroke single cylinder air cooled diesel engine without any engine modification. The results were compared with diesel fuel (DF) operation. Results indicate that the engine can run with 90% DTPO and 10% diesel fuel.