As of April 1, 2023, free rolling tyres fitted to front steering axles are now treated as a major failure during the annual test. This change signified an increasing emphasis on maintaining safety standards and ensuring that every component of a heavy vehicles meets the required criteria. Whether you are a professional driver, fleet operator, or simply an enthusiast interested in staying up-to-date with the latest advancements in the tyre industry, our blog is the go-to resource for all things related to heavy vehicle tyres. Join us as we explore the intricate details, offer valuable insights, and equip you with the knowledge needed to navigate the ever-changing landscape of this essential aspect of road transportation.

Effective tyre management is crucial for maintaining the safety of vehicles on the road and ensuring compliance with regulations. By implementing effective tyre management practices, operators, transport managers, maintenance providers, and drivers can enhance safety, reduce risks, and avoid penalties. In this blog post, we will delve into the significance of good tyre management, highlighting key checks and practices that contribute to maintaining roadworthiness.

Suitability to Vehicle and Operating Conditions: One of the fundamental aspects of tyre management is ensuring that tyres are suitable for the specific vehicle and operating conditions. Different vehicles and driving environments require tyres with specific characteristics, such as load-bearing capacity, tread pattern, and grip. By selecting tyres appropriate to their intended purpose, operators can optimise performance, handling, and safety.

Age Recording and Monitoring: Tyre age is an important factor that can affect safety and performance. As tyres age, their rubber compounds may degrade, leading to reduced grip and increased vulnerability to blowouts. Effective tyre management involves recording and monitoring the age of tyres to ensure that they are replaced before reaching the end of their usable life. Regular inspections and maintenance should be conducted to identify signs of deterioration and ensure timely replacements.

Defect Recording on Safety Inspections: Safety inspections play a vital role in identifying and addressing tyre defects. A comprehensive tyre management system includes a process for recording and documenting any defects identified during safety inspections. This practice enables operators to track and address issues promptly, reducing the risk of tire-related accidents and breakdowns. It also serves as evidence of proactive maintenance and compliance with regulations.

Pressure Monitoring and Recording: Proper tyre pressure is crucial for optimal performance, fuel efficiency, and safety. Tyres that are underinflated or overinflated can lead to increased rolling resistance, uneven wear, reduced grip, and decreased handling capabilities. An effective tyre management system incorporates regular pressure monitoring and recording as part of safety inspection reports. By maintaining appropriate tyre pressures, operators can enhance safety, prolong tyre life, and minimise fuel consumption.

Inspection for Damage and Wear: Regular inspections for tyre damage and wear are essential for identifying potential issues before they become safety hazards. Tyres can sustain damage from road hazards, potholes, curbs, or improper maintenance practices. Wear patterns can also provide valuable insights into alignment or suspension issues. Thorough inspections, including visual checks, tread depth measurements, and evaluation of sidewall conditions, should be performed regularly to detect and address any damage or excessive wear.

Training for Staff: To ensure effective tyre management, it is essential to invest in training for staff involved in tyre-related responsibilities. From personnel handling tyre maintenance to drivers who should be equipped to recognise and report tyre issues, everyone involved should have the necessary knowledge and expertise. Training programs should cover topics such as tyre selection, inspection techniques, pressure monitoring, and maintenance best practices. By empowering staff with the right skills, organisations can foster a culture of safety and compliance.

Good tyre management is a critical aspect of maintaining roadworthiness, ensuring vehicle safety, and complying with regulations. By adhering to key checks such as suitability to vehicle and operating conditions, age recording and monitoring, defect recording, pressure monitoring, and inspection for damage and wear, operators can mitigate risks and enhance safety. Additionally, investing in proper training for staff involved in tyre management is essential to equip them with the knowledge and skills to recognise and address potential issues promptly. Remember, prioritising tyre management is not only a legal obligation but also a responsibility towards the safety of drivers, passengers, and other road users.

Free-Rolling Tyres at Annual Test: A Major Defect

A Free Rolling Tyre (FRT), as indicated by the ‘FRT’ marking on the sidewall, is specifically designed for use on axles of motor vehicles and trailer axles. It is important to note that FRTs are not intended for front steering and drive axles.

From 1st April 2023, the significant change in the regulations concerned FRTs fitted to front steering axles during the annual test. Such a configuration is now classified as a major defect, resulting in an automatic failure.

This change underscores the importance of understanding the proper application of tyres and ensuring compliance with regulations. FRTs are specifically engineered to meet the unique demands of axles on motor vehicles and trailers, where they deliver optimal performance and safety. However, when used inappropriately on front steering axles or drive axles, they can compromise vehicle control, stability, and overall safety.

The introduction of the major defect categorisation for FRTs fitted to front steering axles reflects the authorities’ commitment to raising standards and prioritising road safety. By enforcing this regulation, the annual test aims to prevent the use of unsuitable tyres that can pose significant risks to both the vehicle occupants and other road users.

The recent amendment to the regulations regarding Free Rolling Tyres (FRTs) fitted to front steering axles emphasises the importance of using the right tyres for specific axle positions. To maintain safety and comply with regulations, it is essential to understand the intended use of FRTs and their limitations. By adhering to the updated rules, operators and drivers can ensure that their vehicles pass the annual test and, more importantly, operate with optimal safety on the roads. Remember, proper tyre selection and compliance contribute to safer journeys for everyone.