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The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation

Ban on tyres over 10 years old for heavy vehicles and some minibuses

Date: Thursday 17 December 2020

The DVSA has now updated the Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness to include the change in the Construction and Use Regulations for rules relating to tyres aged over 10 years old and manufacturer date codes.

With effect from 1 February 2021 Construction and Use Regulations will not allow tyres aged over 10 years old to be used on the front steered axles of HGVs, buses, coaches or all single wheels fitted to a minibus (9 to 16 passenger seats). So, if used it will mean a dangerous fail at annual test and a prohibition.

If inspected at a DVSA enforcement check, tyres aged over 10 years old found on these positions will be considered dangerous and attract an ‘S’ marked immediate prohibition notice.

It will also be a requirement for the manufacturer’s date code to be legible on all tyres fitted to HGVs, trailers over 3.5 tonnes, buses, coaches and minibuses. If a tyre is a retread then the manufacturer date is taken from when the retread was carried out.

Tyres without a legible manufacture date code, fitted to the front steered axle of HGVs, buses, coaches or single wheels fitted to a minibus will fail the annual test.

If found at a DVSA enforcement check this would attract a delayed prohibition.

However, if there are also obvious signs of deterioration of the tyre, the action will be increased to an ‘S’ marked immediate prohibition notice.

If the manufacturer date code is not legible on other wheel positions, this will also be an offence and a minor fail result will be recorded at annual test. This would not prevent the issue of a pass certificate but there would be an expectation that the tyre is replaced.

If the date code is not legible at an enforcement check an inspection notice would be issued and again, DVSA would expect the tyre to be replaced.

It is the operator’s responsibility to make sure they have an adequate tyre management system in place and that they regularly consider the risks associated with using older tyres, even if the law permits.

Where tyres more than 10 years old are legally used on other wheel positions, their age should be recorded and a specific risk assessment completed, that considers the distance, speed and loading conditions that the vehicle will operate under (for example, operating only in urban areas).

The new regulations exempt non-commercial vehicles aged 40 years and older from these requirements.

However, all tyres of all ages should be regularly inspected by a competent person. This should be part of a tyre management and vehicle maintenance system.

Even if an older tyre appears safe, it will be necessary to assess and manage any risks associated with its use. A short journey at a low speed when the vehicle is lightly loaded, poses different risks to those involving long journeys, high-speed journeys, or use while the vehicle is laden.

If an operator is found with a tyre more than 10 years old or without a date code, which attracts an ‘S’ marked prohibition notice, this will be followed up with the operator first. If the operator cannot demonstrate that they are adequately managing their tyres, DVSA will consider referring them to the Traffic Commissioner.

DVSA will also be updating the categorisation of defects, annual test and MOT inspection manuals before the new legislation comes into force. These will be published in January 2021.