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The RSA FAQ’s on Wheel & Tyre Maintenance

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What are the regulations on tyres? It is an offence to drive with defective or worn tyres. This attracts a fine of €80 and up to 4 penalty points upon conviction.

Do all four tyres have to be the same? No, however under testing laws a vehicle will fail if the two tyres on the one axle are not the same. For best performance, the same type of tyre should be fitted in all four wheel positions.

My tyres are more than 6 years old. Will they fail the NCT/CVRT? No, provided they meet the minimum tread depth of 1.6mm and are free from any defects (i.e. cuts, bulges, tears etc.). However all tyres over 6 years will receive a pass advisory. This is not a fail, just a precaution.

What is the minimum recommended tread depth? The minimum permitted tyre tread depth is 1.6mm. For safety reasons, it is recommended that each tyre should have at least 3.00mm tread depth. Most new tyres have 8.00mm Is my tyre legal to use if tread depth measures 3mm in the centre but the sides are 1.6mm? Yes. It’s the central three-quarters of the tread pattern which must be greater than 1.6mm in order to be legal for use on the road.

How do I check the tread depth of my tyres? You can check your tyre thread depth by running a €1 coin along the centre of the wheel, as illustrated. If the gold part of the coin is not visible, then the tyre tread is ok. However, if it is visible your tyre could be approaching the minimum legal depth and you should get them checked. Where can I check my tyres are the right pressure? The Irish Tyre Industry Association (ITIA) offer a list of ITIA certified tyre dealers who will carry out pressure checks and inspect for tread depth, wear and damage.

Who is responsible for overseeing maintenance of tyre inflation systems at garages? The RSA has no authority to enforce the provision, or proper maintenance, of existing tyre inflation facilities at garages. It is the forecourt’s responsibility to maintain the equipment however as these are generally provided as a courtesy, garages are not legally required to maintain them to an industry standard.

Can I disable the Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) in my vehicle? No. Such systems should always be maintained as per the original manufacturer’s specifications and replaced in the event of a malfunction. Under roadworthiness testing law (e.g. NCT, CVRT etc.), if a malfunction indicator is not working or indicates a defect in the relevant system the vehicle will fail. What if I get a puncture on the roadside? If the vehicle is blocking traffic or likely to cause an accident it should immediately be towed to the nearest place of safety/repair and the speed must not exceed 32k.p.h.

What if I get a puncture on the motorway? Move the vehicle onto the hard shoulder, park as near as possible to the embankment, switch on hazard lights and call a recovery operator. Do not attempt to replace/repair the tyre there.

Is it legal to use a plug instead of a patch on a puncture? Plugs are only legal when fitted to the treaded area of a tyre, but not the sidewall, and should only be used as a temporary solution until a new tyre is fitted. By law do you have to carry a spare wheel? No. It is not a legal requirement to carry a spare wheel. Equally it is not against the law to sell/supply a car without a spare wheel. If you do carry a spare wheel it should maintained in the same manner as the tyres fitted to the vehicle.

Are space-saver / run-flat tyres legal? Yes. Many vehicles are supplied with a space saver (run-flat) tyre or a repair kit instead of a spare wheel. Repair kits include an aerosol based sealant inflation device. Always consult the Manufacturer’s Manual before using these. Space saver wheels are intended for emergency purposes only. The speed rating affixed to such tyres should never be exceeded to prevent possible tyre failure.

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