Do You Need a Spare Wheel to Pass an MOT Test?

Jack Dreyer | Thursday 7th July 2022 10:00am

Person changing a spare tyre on the side of a road

Ah, the dreaded MOT test has rolled around once again, has it? For some drivers, their vehicle’s MOT can be a great source of anxiety — what with all the checks and opportunities for a fail. But this shouldn’t be the case at all.

If you know what to expect from an MOT, you can prepare your vehicle in advance and avoid any nasty surprises at the test centre.

When it comes to spare wheels and regular tyres, there are a number of things you should bear in mind for your MOT. Will you fail an MOT with a spare tyre fitted? Do you legally need to carry a spare wheel to pass an MOT? Are spare wheels inspected in an MOT?

If you’re unsure of the answers to any of those questions, read on to find out.

Do you need to carry a spare wheel?

Before we get to MOTs, however, let’s discuss spare wheels in general. It’s always a good idea to carry one with you wherever you drive because, let’s face it, accidents happen when you least expect it.

Whether you’re halfway home from a holiday or just popping to the shops, a blown-out tyre is never convenient. You can browse our range of spare wheels and space-saver tyres here.

That being said, there is no law that says you must carry a spare wheel with you as a driver. It is not a legal requirement to keep a spare wheel in your car and, if you break down, you won't be expected to be carrying one! In fact, you don’t have to carry any means of fixing a puncture at all.

According to recent research, 9 out of 10 new cars sold in the UK no longer come with a spare wheel at all!

Are spare wheels checked in an MOT?

Although MOTs are designed to be thorough and catch all potential faults with a vehicle, it is impossible for them to check everything.

After checking the brakes, the lights, the tyres, and all of the instruments, there is hardly any time to inspect the spare. With that being said, spare wheels are not checked in an MOT since they are not a legal requirement. This applies to both full-size spare wheels and space-saver spare wheels.

However, if you bring your car in for an MOT and it is fitted with a space-saver spare wheel, it will fail instantly. If your car should fail its MOT, you can get a free retest with Kwik Fit here.

You can find out more about all the things that are checked in an MOT with another of our blogs here.

Can spare wheels be illegal?

Just because spare wheels are not checked in an MOT, however, doesn’t mean they are harmless. Just like regular tyres, spare tyres can become damaged or encounter wear and tear that may render 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, however, driving on unsafe tyres could also cost you your life. If your tyre or spare wheel has a tyre tread depth of less than 1.6mm, it is classified as illegal due to insufficient handling and braking abilities.

To find out more about tyres and the law, browse our tyre information page here.

Are regular tyres checked in an MOT?

While spare wheels are not checked in an MOT test, regular tyres most definitely are. Regular tyres are assessed in four main areas during an MOT which are:

  1. Condition
  2. Security (how the wheels are attached to the car)
  3. Suitability (size and type)
  4. Tread Depth

Your tyres will also be inspected to see if there are any damaged areas such as scrapes, lumps, cuts, or even punctures (you’d be surprised).

If your vehicle does not have four road-worthy, legal tyres, it will not pass its MOT.

Book in for an MOT today

If your vehicle is due its MOT or service, be sure to book in with Kwik Fit today.

In the meantime, if you have any questions about spare wheels or any other parts of your car, get in touch with the experts at your local Kwik Fit.

Any facts, figures and prices shown in our blog articles are correct at time of publication.

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