Get to grips with tyre safety

For bits of rubber, there are a lot of requirements regarding tyres and their legal safety standards. They are all outlined in the Australian Design Rules for tyres, or the ADR for short. These rules are the technical standards for safety, as well as anti-theft and emissions for everything related to vehicles. At the time of writing, Australians are required to go by the third edition of the rules, which are administered by the Government under the Motor Vehicles Standards Act 1989.

What are the tyre safety requirements?

  • The minimum requirement for tyre tread is 1.6mm. Any less than this and the tyre isn’t considered roadworthy. A lot of tyres when new are between 6-8mm.
  • Tyres must include four evenly spaced wear indicators that show when the tyre has reached a depth of 1.6mm.
  • Tyres must not be more than 15mm larger than the maximum size listed on the tyre placard. They must not be more than 15mm smaller than the smallest tyre size listed on the placard.
  • Tyres must be suitable for the rims they are fitted to.
  • Tyres must be free of any defects. Any defects will deem them un-roadworthy.

What are the penalties for not having legal tyres?

Penalties for defective tyres vary from state to state. Mostly they involve a defect notice – nicknamed a ‘canary’ in NSW due to its colour – and a fine from the police. Failure to get new tyres will ensure you a harsher penalty.

In Queensland for example, the penalties for bald tyres can be harsh, and generally increase year to year. Recently they were:

  • First offense, one bald tyre = $110 on the spot fine, and one demerit point
  • Three bald tyres may cost you $220 and three demerits

Again, fines and demerits vary from state to state, and year to year. Check with you relative motoring authority for more information on your specific state’s laws. In Queensland’s case, by the time you are penalised, you might as well just go out and buy a new set of tyres! Make sure to check the tread regularly to avoid any trouble.

Tips to ensure tyre health

Try and remember to check your tyres regularly. They are a vital piece of equipment to your car, and your safety. Remember to:

  • Check the pressure fortnightly. If you don’t have a pressure gauge, many service stations have it for free.
  • Required tyre pressure information is hidden in plain sight: The placard on the inside panel as you open your door will list the required PSI.
  • Check the tread depth periodically, and for any signs of uneven treadwear.
  • Rotate your tyres every 10000km – how you do this depends on if you have radial or directional tyres. Regular rotation can prevent uneven wear, enhance the life of your tyres and save you money.

Completing these tips will ensure you get the most out of tyres, stay out of trouble with the law and ultimately keep you safer on the road.

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