Under UK government regulations, anybody who is responsible for operating, maintaining or providing HGVs is required to make regular, reasonable checks to ensure their vehicle is roadworthy. If a vehicle is pulled over, or at any other time discovered to be unfit for use, or if adequate checks have not been completed and recorded, then the driver, transport manager and/or fleet manager may face legal consequences.
The daily walkaround check is the recommended set of questions for heavy goods vehicles to ensure roadworthiness, and one of the most important elements of a vehicle to check is the tyres. Tyres wear over time and need replacing sooner than any other part of a vehicle, so daily checks are vital to ensure the safety of the vehicle operator, as well as all other road users.
In this guide, we will explore how to check your tyres are safe for use, and what checks are legally required when inspecting your tyres.
What is a daily walkaround check?
‘A daily walkaround check’, is a set of questions that should be carried out before the start of any journey, to inspect all parts of a vehicle, including any trailer attached. Despite the name, the walkaround checks should also include the interior of the vehicle – including mirrors, dashboard warning lights, horns and pedals.
The daily walkaround check is a legal requirement, and requires any and all faults to be logged and reported, as these will be referred to in the case of an accident. If a vehicle is found to have an incomplete record, then the HGV and PSV (Public Service Vehicle) drivers could face legal ramifications, including fines and suspensions.
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) can request the walkaround check record of a vehicle during a roadside check, not just following an accident, so it is imperative that all check records are kept up to date and any issues properly logged.
What tyre checks should I make during my daily walkaround check?
Each day, every vehicle in a fleet that is in use should be checked for the following:
- The tyres and wheels are properly secured to the vehicle
- All wheel nuts are tight enough – which can be checked against the wheel nut indicators
- The tyres have a suitable tread depth, no less than the legal limit
- The tyres are inflated correctly to a reasonable pressure, and not overinflated
- There are no deep holes or cuts in the sidewall of the tyres
- There is no inner cord visible anywhere on the tyres
- There are no objects or debris trapped in between the wheels of a twin-wheel
If you are still unsure of how to check that your tyres meet the legal requirements, you can find out more about our recommendations for daily walkaround checks here.
What are the legal tread depths and pressures for HGV tyres?
The legal tread depth for an HGV tyre in the UK is at least 1mm.
Tread depth refers to the distance between the surface of the tyre which touches the road, and the depth of the deepest groove. In order to check your tyre depth, a tyre depth gauge is placed in between the grooves of the tyres, and the height difference between the surface and the bottom of the groove is your tyre depth.
It is important to check the tread depth across the width of a tyre, as wear may occur unevenly. If your gauge shows your tread depth as close to or under the legal limit, then it is time to replace the affected tyres.
The optimum tyre pressure for most HGV and PSV vehicles is between 8 and 9 bar, not exceeding 10. The pressure is a gauge of how much air is in the tyres, and will often be measured in atmospheres (or barometric pressure, or simply ‘bars’), or pounds per square inch (PSI).
In order to check your tyre pressure, a pressure gauge must be used. If the pressure is too low, then the tyres will need inflating, and if the pressure is too high, then air will need to be let out. The exact pressure that a vehicle needs may depend on factors such as its size and weight, so it is important to keep as up to date with this information as possible.
Why is it important to check my HGV’s tyres?
As it is the only part of a vehicle to make contact with the road when driving, a vehicle’s tyres are its first line of defence when it comes to preventing accidents or incidents.
A tyre which is damaged, not properly inflated, has a defect or does not meet the minimum tread depth causes a serious risk to the vehicle operator and to any other road users they may encounter. An improperly checked tyre could cause skids, punctures and blowouts, with the chance that they may lead to disastrous consequences.
Tyres degrade quickly, and can even deteriorate when not in use. Issues such as slow punctures may not be noticed until the vehicle has been stationary for a while, so it can be easy to miss if not routinely checked.
Additionally, it is a legal requirement that an HGV’s tyres are checked during the daily walkaround checks, and any issues are logged, reported and resolved where appropriate. DVSA officers are authorised to stop a driver in order to perform checks on their vehicle and to ensure that a complete and up to date walkaround check record exists for the vehicle.
The current penalties for using an HGV in dangerous conditions include an unlimited fine and a prison sentence.
If you would like to find out more about our digital checklists, or to create a custom daily checklist, you can get in touch with a member of our team today.
What makes an HGV tyre illegal?
An HGV tyre is deemed illegal when it does not meet the minimum tread depth or is otherwise found to have tread wear deemed too dangerous to drive on.
In order to be legal, a minimum tread depth of 1mm must be observed in a continuous band around the tyre, covering at least three-quarters of the breadth of the surface. This means that any inspection should be measuring and recording the tyre depth, taking extra care to measure the size and depth of any bald spots.
Additionally, on any of the remaining tyres (up to a quarter) not covered by the 1mm minimum depth, the original tread pattern must be visible.
How AssetGo can help
Here at AssetGo, we provide a paperless fleet and compliance system which allows transport managers and operators to quickly, efficiently and responsibly log, report and resolve defects found on daily walkaround checks.
With the AssetGo app, drivers and inspectors are quickly able to customise and review their checklist and report any defects much more efficiently than when using paper lists. Any issues are able to be photographed and checked by supervisors quickly and easily, who can assess anything that needs action. This efficiency saves money as well as time, and on average our users save 3 hours a day with our system, compared to a paper system.
For more information about AssetGo and why our clients trust us to help manage and maintain their fleets, you can get in touch with us here.
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