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Passing Your MOT: Spare Tyre + Regular Tyre Legalities

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When it comes to the MOT, spare tyres are not necessary to pass the test. With that said, are they legally required in your car, and can you do without one?

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An MOT test is designed to check and verify the road-worthiness of your car. If the vehicle is found to be unsafe or has poorly maintained safety features, then you're likely to fail the test. Most people know that this applies to factors like mirrors, seat belts, and brakes.

But are spare tyres included in the test? Can you fail without one? Let's take a look.

Are You Legally Mandated To Carry A Spare Tyre?

There is no law that says you must carry a spare tyre in your car. If you had a spare tyre and used it, you are not legally required to buy a new one to replace it. That's because the spare tyre is not considered a vital safety feature. It does not impact your driving performance or ability to avoid collisions or other accidents.

Instead, the presence of a spare tyre is for your own benefit. If your current tyre goes flat, you will be forced to pull over and replace it if you want to keep driving. Having an extra tyre handy is a speedy way to get back on the road quickly and safely.

However, if you don't have a spare tyre, you won't be able to replace it and you'll be forced to either call for a tow truck or contact a garage for an emergency tyre change. In either case, you will not be forced to get back on the road, and thus, your ability to drive safely is not impacted.

The only exception is if you choose to drive on the flat tyre anyhow. In this case, you may be pulled over by law enforcement for reckless driving, and that will be its own breach of the law. Not having a spare tyre is not considered a deciding factor; you are the one who chose to not get the flat tyre safely replaced before continuing to drive. The lack of a spare tyre made this action more tempting, but it did not make it necessary in the eyes of the law.

Are Spare Wheels Checked In An MOT?

In that vein, spare wheels are not checked in an MOT test. They are not a legal requirement and they do not count as a safety feature. This applies to both full-size spare wheels and space-saver spare wheels, so long as the latter are in your boot.

However, if you have a "space saver" spare tyre attached to your car as a normal road wheel, this will result in an instant MOT failure. They are not considered safe for long-term use, and should never be relied on as a standard wheel.

As such, if you do end up attaching a space saver tyre to your car in an emergency, you should get in contact with a garage right away. They will need to replace it before you continue driving as normal.

Can Spare Tyres Be Illegal?

Just because spare wheels are not checked in an MOT, that doesn't mean they are harmless. Just like regular tyres, spare tyres can become damaged or overly worn, rendering them illegal.

If you are caught driving with an illegal tyre — spare or otherwise — you may be subject to a fine of up to £2,500. Aside from the financial cost, driving on unsafe tyres may cost you your life. Always be sure to change your tyres if they have tread depth of less than 1.6mm, cracking, bulging, uneven wear, and other signs of damage.

Are Regular Tyres Checked In An MOT?

Spare wheels are not checked in an MOT test, but regular tyres are. Regular tyres are assessed in four main areas during an MOT, including:

  • Condition
  • Security (how the wheels are attached to the car)
  • Suitability (size and type)
  • Tread depth

Your tyres will also be inspected for damaged areas, such as scrapes, lumps, cuts, or even punctures. If your vehicle does not have four road-worthy, legal tyres, it will not pass its MOT.

Book In For An MOT Test Today

If your vehicle is due its MOT or service, book in with Autofusion today. Our experts can perform necessary servicing, check or replace tyres, and even conduct the test ourselves to save you time and money.