Ask the Mayor: What Are the Rules for Tire Safety Inspection?

March 20, 2017, 7:49 AM HST · Updated March 20, 7:57 AM

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Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the questions submitted to his staff.

Submit your own questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa at [email protected], 270-7855 or mail them to 200 S. High Street, 9th Floor, Wailuku, HI 96793.

Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column.

Aloha Mayor:


Q. A friend had her car fail inspection because the tires were over 10 years old. There was still a lot of tread on them. The mileage was only 30,000. Is there a law for this, or was she part of a scam?

A. According to the manual for motor vehicle inspectors, “a tire with severe sidewall cracking should be failed even without chord exposure if it is over 10 years of age.”

The date of manufacture is important because it is possible for a tire to “age-out” before it wears out—especially on vehicles that are not used regularly and are exposed to sunlight and ozone.

As quoted in the inspection manual, it is recommended by tire manufacturers that all tires (including spare tires) that are more than 10 years old be put out of service. So even if there was more than the required minimum of 2/32-inch tread remaining, if there was severe sidewall cracking, the tires would fail inspection because they are over 10 years old and because aging takes place both from the outside inward and from the inside outward.

To view the entire Inspection manual, visit and scroll down to click on “PMVI Manual for Inspectors of Passenger Cars and Light Trucks.”



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