When folklore becomes law

(Mark Rimmer) #1

A friend of mine, here on holiday, brought his car in for me to look at as he thought a rear wheel bearing needed replacing. A quick check revealed that it was the tyre causing the noise as it had become misshapen. So off he went to a local tyre supplier to buy a new one. Unfortunately they only had a Firestone tyre in his size & the old tyre was a Goodyear. He was told that they could not fit it as it would mean that there would be odd tyres on one axle which, he was told, is illegal - he would have to buy a pair, discarding a perfectly good & only slightly worn tyre.
I hear this quite often from customers & it really annoys me! Why? It is because it is complete bllcks.
My local CT centre is firm but fair & the last car I put through had a different make on all corners but it passed. How come?
Because the EU law states “All tyres normally fitted to the vehicle, thus excluding any temporary-use spare unit, shall have the same structure.” This means that you cannot mix cross ply & radial tyres.With me so far? It continues. “All of the tyres normally fitted to one axle shall be of the same type.” Type = a particular kind, class, or group. Not “brand”.
There is a french trade organisation, TNPF - Travaux de Normalisation du Pneumatique pour la France, which publishes the White Book, a guide for french tyre fitters. This is what they tell the trade:-
"There may be types of tires
different on the same vehicle,
but not on the same axle.
It is possible to mount tyres of
the same type
but of a different sculpture (tread pattern)
on the same

  • However it is strongly
    recommended to mount tyres
    strictly identical to the
    optimal behavior of the vehicle.
    Codes of tire
    speed or load indices
    higher than those provided by the
    manufacturer may agree. In
    this case, the mounted tires must
    be the same on the same axle.
    Ensure the compatibility of the tire
    and of the wheel (including width and

Neither say that the tyre must be from the same manufacturer although this is “strongly recommended”.

However, when you look for similar information on a tyre supplier’s web site, most of them, when giving out the rules, have added an extra word. This from Point S "Can I mount two tires of different brands on the same axle?

All tires fitted to one axle must be of the same type (except use of the spare wheel). Therefore, it is prohibited to mount two different tires on the same axle. Whether at the brand / size / use category / structure / speed code / load capacity index."
Extra word? BRAND

Popgom (online tyre seller) says the same, "When the Highway Code shall install different structures of tires on the same axle (Article 3, section 3.2 and 3.3) means according to the Official Journal of the EC N ° 129/105 of 14.05.1992 1 that tires should be both:

 same mark
 same size
 same category of use (eg. road, snow, terrain).
 same structure: radial or diagonal
 same code speed
 same load capacity index"

Extra word? MARK

To be fair many of these sites are quoting from European Council directive 92/23/EEC from 1992, section L 129/105 conveniently out of context as the section refers to technical characteristics for tyres. It says "Annex II - Requirements for tyres. 1. Definitions. 2. For the purpose of this Directive. 2.1. “Type of tyre” means a category of tyres which do not differ in such essential respects as: 2.1.1. Manufacturer’s name or trade mark; & so on. This directive has been superceded by UE no 458/2011. This new directive simply says that “Type of tyre means a range of tyres which do not differ in the following essential characteristics…” The manufacturer is no longer mentioned although the tyre fitment wording is the same.
So, either the tyre companies are just confused or they rely on a bit of misdirection to sell more tyres. You, the customer, is made to spend more than you need to & more tyres have to be disposed of.

Argue the point or just take the tyre that needs replacing off the car & just buy one.

Otherwise this becomes another piece of nonsense like the famous “stopping for 3/5 seconds at a stop sign” myth.
The rule, code de la route R415-6, says that you must stop at a stop sign but it does not say for how long. I have read that some drivers have been taken to court & fined for not stopping for the required time. I suggest they get a lawyer who can read!

(Helen O'BRIEN) #2

Yep - I have several times had to buy a second tyre when I suspect that I only needed one. Good idea to take one for changing.

My son failed his test for not stopping dead. Ironically his driving instructor stopped for even less time when she was going on about how useless this particular inspector was and how she always caught candidates on this point (shame she didn’t mention this to my son before he got into the car !) - Never mind - a salutory lesson learned.

(Barry Twyman) #3

I was fined for not stopping 3/5 seconds ,and stopped the next day for the same offence on my scooter . The gendarme accepted I had stopped …but gave me firm instructions that I must stop for 3/5 seconds in future . where is the law written to confirm or discredit this practice ? You say it is but i can’t find it . Thanks

(Mark Rimmer) #4

Hi Barry,
You can google “code de la route R415-6”. Legifrance.gouv is a government web site so gives you the law verbatim. Copy below.My reading of it says that you must stop at the edge but I cannot see any mention of a length of time, can you?

Article R415-6

A certaines intersections indiquées par une signalisation dite stop, tout conducteur doit marquer un temps d’arrêt à la limite de la chaussée abordée. Il doit ensuite céder le passage aux véhicules circulant sur l’autre ou les autres routes et ne s’y engager qu’après s’être assuré qu’il peut le faire sans danger.

Le fait, pour tout conducteur, de contrevenir aux dispositions du présent article est puni de l’amende prévue pour les contraventions de la quatrième classe.

Tout conducteur coupable de l’une des infractions prévues au présent article encourt également la peine complémentaire de suspension, pour une durée de trois ans au plus, du permis de conduire, cette suspension pouvant être limitée à la conduite en dehors de l’activité professionnelle.

Ces contraventions donnent lieu de plein droit à la réduction de quatre points du permis de conduire.