Car MOT Manual 2012 onwards
Tyres and Road Wheels - 4.1 Tyre Structure
To identify the size and type of tyres, it might be necessary to rotate the wheels or move the vehicle. Only one sidewall of a tyre needs to be marked.
The aspect ratio of a tyre is included in the size marking e.g. a 215/55R15 has an aspect ratio of 55%.
Standard car tyres have a nominal aspect ratio of 82% unless marked otherwise and these are almost identical in size to tyres with an aspect ratio of 80% and can be safely mixed in any configuration on a vehicle. Therefore, in these circumstances Reason for Rejection 1 does not apply.
Some tyres may be marked with two sizes. For example, a 185/75R14 tyre may be dual marked 185R14.
Where a tyre is found to be dual marked by the manufacturer on the side-wall, either markings can be accepted.
Any tyre structure mix between different axlesis acceptable for vehicles that have either:
2 axles and twin wheels on the rear axle, or
3 axles, one steering and one driving.
However, this does not apply to vehicles with tyres having a road contact area of 300mm or wider.
1. Check the nominal size and aspect ratio.
Note: It cannot be assumed that there is a difference in the nominal sizes of tyres because either twin wheel is not in contact with the ground.
Note: A Class 3 or 4 vehicle tyre which appears to be of inadequate size, ply or speed rating for the vehicle or its use is not a reason for rejection. However, the vehicle presenter should be informed.
2. Check the type of structure, i.e. radial, cross-ply or bias-belted.
Note: Steel and fabric radial-ply tyres are to be regarded as the same structure type
a. One tyre is of a different nominal size or aspect ratio to any other on the same axle
b. a temporary use or space-saver wheel and tyre fitted as a road wheel.
a. One tyre is of a different type of structure from another tyre on the same axle
b. a 3 or 4-wheeled vehicle fitted with single wheels, and
i a cross-ply tyre or bias-belted tyre fitted on the rear axle and radial-ply tyre is fitted on the front axle, or
ii a cross-ply tyre fitted on the rear axle and a bias-belted tyre fitted on the front axle
c. a tyre of a different type of structure is fitted to a steerable axle from that fitted to another steerable axle
d. In the case of non-steerable axles a tyre fitted to a driven axle is of a different type of structure from that fitted to another driven axle.
Tyres and Road Wheels - 4.1 Load Index and Speed Rating
Some goods vehicles first used before 1968 and some Class 5 vehicles before 1982 may not be fitted with a manufacturers plate displaying axle weights. The load capacity of tyres on such vehicles must therefore be assumed suitable, unless there is indisputable evidence to the contrary.
If a vehicle is displaying a Ministry plate showing lower axle weights not to be exceeded in Great Britain, these must be used instead of those shown on the manufacturers plate.
A tyre not marked with a load index or ply rating is assumed to have the lowest load capacity of its size.
a. Check for a load index or ply rating and tyre size marked on at least one sidewall of each tyre. See tables in Appendix D for the identification of tyre load index, ply rating and tyre size
b. check the load index is adequate for the maximum laden weight of the axle.
2. Check for a speed rating letter marked on the sidewall of each tyre.
a. A tyre not marked with its size on at least one sidewall. See tables at the end of this section
b. a tyre that has a load index or ply rating and tyre size that is inadequate for the permitted maximum laden weight of the axle to which it is fitted. See tables at the end of this section for the determination of tyre load capacity.
2. A tyre marked with one of the following speed rating letters: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, J or K.
Note: Some tyres are not marked with a speed rating and the absence of such a mark is not a Reason for Rejection.
Tyres and Road Wheels - 4.1 Speed Rating - Restricted Speed Vehicles Applicable to Class 5 only
A vehicle displaying this plate is required to have tyres suitable for speeds up to 50mph, i.e. F speed rating or greater.
Other Suitable Speed Ratings Class 5 only
Unless the vehicle is a Restricted Speed Vehicle the tyres are required to be suitable for use up to the maximum prescribed speed limit of 70mph, ie L speed rating.
Tyres of the lower speed ratings of J or K however are acceptable for use at 70mph although the increase from the nominated speed rating imposes a reduction in the tyres carrying capacity.
Note: This allowance is only applicable to the nominal service markings Load Index/Speed Symbol.
This allows a tyre displaying a J speed rating suitable for a maximum of 62mph to be used at the L speed suitable for a maximum of 70mph at the penalty of reducing the tyres capacity by 7%.
In the case of a tyre displaying a K speed rating suitable for a maximum of 68mph a reduction in capacity of 3% is imposed to allow use up to the L speed.
e.g. 146/143K= 6000kg single/10900kg dual at a maximum speed of 68mph Less 3% = 5820kg single/10580kg dual at a maximum speed of 70mph This would allow a tyre displaying the speed rating K to be used on a vehicle to which a maximum prescribed speed limit of 70mph applies, subject to it being suitable at the reduced capacity of 5820kg in single and 10580kg in dual formation, for the maximum permitted axle weight of the axle to which it is fitted the GB maximum permitted weight as shown on the manufacturers plate. If during an annual test a tyre of J or K speed rating is fitted to a vehicle subject to a maximum prescribed speed of 70mph and found to be below the weight capacity required, this is a Reason for Rejection.
1. Check for a Speed Rating letter marked on the sidewall of each tyre.
Tyres and Road Wheels - 4.1 Condition of Tyres
Recut tyres are permitted on:
a goods vehicle at least 2540kg unladen weight having at least 16 inch 405mm diameter wheels
a vehicle with at least 8 passenger seats, excluding the drivers seat, and over 2540kg unladen weight
a vehicle over 3050kg unladen weight.
Tyres with NHS, Not for Highway Use or similar markings should only be deemed acceptable if they display an E marking and a number contained within a circle. Adjacent to this circle, the sidewall must also be marked with a six digit number, which may be preceded by 75R or similar marking
Direction of rotation may be indicated by an arrow and/or words, but an arrow by itself should not be taken to indicate direction of rotation.
Under-inflation of a tyre is not in itself a reason for rejection. However:
a brake test might be inadvisable, because of possible damage, or
a headlight test might be affected, if the underinflation is affecting alignment.
The inspection of the tyre pressure monitoring system TPMS warning lamp only applies to passenger vehicles with:
four or more wheels, and
not more than 8 passenger seats excluding the drivers seat, and
first used on or after 1 January 2012
The check does not apply to quadricycles.
The TPMS warning lamp as below will generally illuminate and go off again when the ignition is switched on. If one or more tyre pressures are low, the lamp will remain illuminated.
In the event of a system malfunction, the lamp will flash a number of times and then remain on. Vehicles must only be rejected if it is clear that the l amp indicates a system malfunction.
1. Examine each tyre for:
Note: It is permissible to check for exposed ply or cord by using a blunt instrument to open a cut, taking care not to cause further damage.
b. lumps, bulges, tears, exposure of the ply or cord, or tread separation
Note: On radial ply tyres, care should be taken to distinguish between normal undulations in the carcass, resulting from manufacturing, and lumps or bulges caused by structural deterioration.
c. recut tread
d. incorrect seating in the wheel rim
e. valve condition and alignment
f. correct fitting
2. Check tyres for fouling a part of the vehicle.
Note: This does not apply to vehicles designed to permit tyre contact with the chassis or frame e.g. steering lock stop function.
3. Check tyres on twin wheels for wall contact.
4. On vehicles fitted with a tyre pressure
monitoring system, check that the warning lamp is operative and does not indicate a system malfunction.
a. A tyre has a cut the length of which is in excess of 25 mm or 10% of section width, whichever is greater, deep enough to reach the ply or cords
b. a tyre has:
a lump, bulge or tear caused by separation or partial failure of its structure. This includes any lifting of the tread rubber
any of its ply or cord exposed
c. a recut tyre fitted to a vehicle not permitted to be so equipped
d. a tyre incorrectly seated on the wheel rim
e. a seriously damaged or misaligned valve stem which could cause sudden deflation of the tyre
f. a tyre not fitted in compliance with the manufacturers sidewall instruction, e.g.
a tyre marked NHS, Not for Highway use or similar
an asymmetric with a sidewall marked outer fitted with the marking to the inner side of the wheel.
2. A tyre fouling a part of the vehicle.
Note: A vehicle should only be rejected if the tyre is actually fouling a part of the vehicle. Evidence of fouling e.g. due to tyre flexing or suspension movement is not a Reason for Rejection.
3. Tyres on twin wheels making wall contact due to under-inflation or incorrect fitment.
Note: Some tyres, e.g. radial ply tyres, with flexible side walls may touch under load. Wall contact in these circumstancesis not a reason for rejection.
4. A tyre pressure monitoring system warning lamp:
indicating a system malfunction.
Tyres and Road Wheels - 4.1 Tread Pattern Breadth and Depth
The tread pattern excludes any tie-bars, tread wear indicators, or features designed to wear out substantially before the remainder of the pattern, and other minor features.
Grooves that had not been cut as deep as those containing the wear indicators when new are not to be considered as part of the tread pattern.
The breadth of tread is the part of the tyre which can contact the road under normal conditions of use measured at 90 degrees to the peripheral line of the tread.
A 1.6mm minimum tread depth applies to vehicles first used after 2 January 1933 that are either:
a. a passenger carrying vehicle car, motor caravan etc with not more than 8 passenger seats, excluding the drivers, or
b. a goods vehicle or dual purpose vehicle not exceeding 3500kg maximum gross weight.
Tricycle and quadricycle requirements are detailed at Section 9.4.
A 1.0mm minimum tread depth applies to:
a passenger-carrying vehicle with more than 8 passenger seats excluding the drivers seat
a vehicle first used before 3 January 1933.
Tricycle and quadricycle requirements are detailed at Section 9.4.
1. Check the tread pattern over the complete circumference of the tyre. Check also that the tread depth meets the requirements using, as necessary, a depth gauge accepted for MOT testing.
1.0 mm tread depth
2. Check the tread pattern over the complete circumference of the tyre. Check also that the tread depth meets the requirements using, as necessary, a depth gauge accepted for MOT testing.
the central three-quarters of the breadth of tread, and
round the entire outer circumference of the tyre.
Note: Each side of the central band of the tyre can be devoid of tread i.e. bald and still meet the pass standard. See diagram below.
2. A tyre with a tread pattern:
a. not visible over the whole tread area, and
b. the depth of which is not at least 1mm throughout a single band:
round the entire outer circumference of the tyre
of at least three-quarters of the breadth of tread.
Note: The 1.0mm tread depth requirement applies to the whole tread width if the original tread pattern did not extend beyond threequarters of the tyre width when new.