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DOT requirements

I recently replaced two tires due to wear and was told that th feds (DOT) were now requireing that the new tires be placed on the rear axle. I know that some of you, particularly Capriracer, are in the industry and would be up to date on this. Are the fdes now requiring this, or is it simply that company’s (or that store’s) policy?

Thanks guys.

Heard this before,but dont think its mandated-Kevin

Haven’t read any regs saying that, its just their policy, and by saying its DOT FORCING us to do it, it take the heat off them. Then the both of you can complain about DOT the Government etc.

Mountain Bike,

No, there is no federal law on this, nor am I aware of any local laws.

HOWEVER, the RMA (Rubber Manufacturers Association) has a statement to that effect, and many tire manufacturers also echo that.

Where the confusion may be is that there have been several court cases - and some would interpret this as “law” - although I think we would all agree that “case law” is not what the average person means when he says “law”.

Case law is law until it’s overturned by another court or a law is passed by Congress which supplants the case law. Did the court cases specifically say “new tires must be on the rear axle?” or did they say something more along the lines of “tire installers must offer/suggest/recommend that the new tires be on the rear axle?”

Thanks guys.

“Case law” is generally a court finding that interprets a legislative mandate. In this case, I suspect that the cases were probably civil cases, wherein a judgement for the plaintiff would not establish case law but rather establish a precedent for future civil cases. The difference is, I suppose, academic.

I confess that it bothers me that this principle, while perhaps valid, has become engrained in our cultural dogma to the extent that it has. My front tires wear faster than my rear tires, and I’d like to get the good ones on the rear so that when fall hits I have even wear between the fronts and the backs, and ultimately so that I can get them all worn out at the same time and change brands if I choose. If they insist on always putting the good ones on the back, I’ll never be able to do this.

Okay, I personally can get them changed around. But others would be stuck.

When you get home, you can get your jack out and put the tires anyplace you want them…

Unfortunately, I cannot. My body can no longer do these things.
But I’m lucky enough to have access to a shop.

I know the feeling, Bike…The downside isn’t going to be nearly as much fun as the upside was…Everyday, it gets a little bit harder…And I’m not talking about Mr. Johnson either!

This topic has come up repeatedly in the past and I don’t believe that there is a clear, fixed, and permanent answer. If you put the new pair on the rear, then they will be worn little when you rotate them as you should at around 8000 miles when the new pair then goes to the front. By that time the new pair would have been worn more if they were initially used at the front. It might be possible to say that there is only a temporary period of time when new tires are safer on the rear or less safe on the front. If new tires at the rear was overly important, that should be in your owner’s manual and it is not in mine.

With a motorcycle, front and rear tires are dedicated, no issue there. The new tire goes where it is needed.

If a new pair of auto tires had a lower traction rating than the old tires, I might want the new pair on the front.

There may be little difference in traction if the older pair of tires is worn little. If the older pair is nearly worn out, then new on the rear might be safer especially if you replace the older tires before the next rotation. Anti-lock brakes and traction control can make the new tire location of little importance.

New tires on the rear may or may not present a slight, temporary traction advantage for many scenarios and will get you out of the door with less chance of a trial lawyer using whatever means possible to extract money from the tire installer if you should have an accident due to loss of control.

Wha, I think your last paragraph says it all as relates to the shop policy. It’s a liability thing.

Regarding the best place for the new tires, generally I accept that the theory is correct (albeit counterintuitive) however I have a specific long term goal in mind and would like the option. It bothers me that shops are starting to refuse to put the new ones on the front even of the customer chooses. I have no doubt that the service rep at the counter has been told that it’s required by law now, and that bothers me even more. The rep seemed like a good kid, and I knew I can get the wheels swapped over anyway,so I chose not to challenge his statement, but it bothers me.

Besides, I honestly did not know if it had now become mandated. Like low-energy light bulbs, tire pressure monitoring systems, stability control, and (soon) sodas less than 16 oz. The government regulatory agencies are alive, well, and prolifically promulgating new rules. I was looking for confirmation as to whether this was one or not.

Thanks for the replies guys. I hope this forum lives forever.

Its usually a shop thing. Costco used to be real hard nosed about this, but now they will mount the tires where ever you want as long as you sign a waiver.

I put the new ones on the front-Kevin

I have been on the best tires on the front side of the fence, but I have never been without 4 good tires, and have never pushed the limits of the tires except with rear wheel drive in the snow. I can throw all sorts of rationalizations out there for my feelings but prefer to say look up the old discussions if you care, keep good tires on all 4 and drive on.