All vehicles need tyres that have a suitable tread depth and the correct tyre pressure, and they must be in good condition. Defective tyres can lead to accidents, which is why all road users must follow the appropriate tyre regulations, or they will receive a fine or penalty points if they are pulled over by the DVSA or police. Trailers also need to follow certain regulations, no matter whether they are HGV trailers or towed. For this reason, it is a legal requirement for HGV drivers to inspect their tyres during their daily vehicle checks.
In this guide, we will explore the legal requirements for trailer tyres, whether driving with defective tyres is illegal, and why you should be checking your wheel bearings as well as the tyre itself. We will also explain how you can thoroughly check your trailer tyres, and whether or not the DVSA can punish you for not having adequate tyres.
What are the legal requirements for a trailer tyre?
For any trailer or vehicle weighing over 3,500kg, tyres must have a minimum tread depth of 1mm over a continuous band covering at least three-quarters of the breadth of the tyre around the entire circumference. There should also be no flat spots, exposed cords, deep cuts or bulges. Heavy sidewall abrasion will also render your trailer tyres defective; a full list of factors that can leave your tyres defective can be found on the Government’s website here.
HGV trailer tyres often carry heavy loads, so they need to be in optimum condition to be safe on the roads. Defective trailer tyres can cause accidents, hindering the safety of both the HGV driver and other road users. You can also find out more about HGV tyre requirements in our previous guide here.
Why are wheel bearings so important?
While not necessarily a part of your daily vehicle checks, your wheel bearings should be checked by a professional frequently, especially if you notice any issues with your tyres in general. The wheel bearings are located inside the wheel hub, and without them, your tyres and wheel assembly will not be able to spin. Faulty wheel bearings, or wheel bearings that aren’t properly greased, can cause your wheels to seize up, which can lead to tyre failure and leave you stranded at the side of the road.
If you notice any issues with your tyres, whether this is during your daily checks before you set off or whilst driving, you should report the issue as soon as possible. Older tyres tend to experience the most wear, so a tyre inspection should be carried out frequently. By using the AssetGo app, you can easily report any defects, with reports that can be sent directly to the relevant person within your company. All data is stored safely and securely, with easy-to-access driver details and past checklists. You can request a demo of our system through our website here.
Is driving with defective trailer tyres illegal?
Like all motor vehicles, driving with defective tyres that do not meet the respective requirements is illegal and you can be punished by the police or the DVSA. Trailer tyres are no exception; any tyre that is below the recommended tread depth or is damaged beyond the reasonable scope can lead to a fine or penalty points. Drivers can be fined up to £2500 and receive three penalty points on their licence for each tyre.
A tyre that is under-inflated can also be classed as defective, depending on how deflated it is. Cuts that are larger than 25mm or are 10% over the section width of the tyre can also have consequences, as well as tyres that have exposed ply or cords.
How can I check my trailer tyres?
To safely check your tyres, make sure your trailer is parked and stationary. You should then check each tyre to ensure there are no obvious cuts, bulges and visible cords. Each tyre should be carefully checked on your daily walkaround checklist, and all noticeable defects should be reported. If the defect is an immediate safety issue, you should not drive the vehicle until it has been checked and approved for road use.
You should ensure each tyre has a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm, which can be checked using a tyre tread depth gauge. It can be difficult to check your wheel bearings, so if anything seems out of the ordinary for your wheels, you should leave it to a professional to do a thorough check.
Can the DVSA punish me for having defective tyres?
The DVSA often pull over HGVs with trailers at random checkpoints located along UK roads. If instructed, you must pull over immediately. The DVSA can check your HGV for any defects and can ask to see your daily walkaround checklists. Failure to resolve a safety defect, or failure to complete your daily walkaround checks, can result in a fine or penalty points issued by the DVSA.
In order to remain compliant, HGV drivers must be able to easily access their checklist records and present them to the DVSA officers. The DVSA will then be able to advise whether you need the defect fixed immediately, or whether you have a certain number of days to get your vehicle checked over by a professional.
How AssetGo can help
Here at AssetGo, our app makes it easier for drivers to access past checklists and other vital records should they be pulled over by the DVSA. Our system also decreases downtime by allowing drivers to submit their check reports efficiently and report any tyre safety defects directly to the maintenance team within their company. Any issues found with your trailer tyres can be reported via the app, so you no longer need to worry about losing or damaging important paperwork.
To find out more, or to request a demo, please get in touch with a friendly member of our team today.
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