California Department of Transportation
 

Vehicle Code - Tires

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Vehicle Code Section 605 and Section 27450-27503

605. "Tire traction devices" are devices or mechanisms having a composition and design capable of improving vehicle traction, braking, and cornering ability upon snow or ice-covered surfaces. Tire traction devices shall be constructed and assembled to provide sufficient structural integrity and to prevent accidental detachment from vehicles. Tire traction devices shall, at the time of manufacture or final assembly, bear a permanent impression indicating the name, initials, or trademark of the assembling company or primary manufacturer, and the country in which the devices were manufactured or assembled in final form.

27450. When any vehicle is equipped with any solid tire, the solid tire shall have a minimum thickness of resilient rubber as follows: (a) If the width of the tire is three inches but less than six inches, one inch thick. (b) If the width of the tire is six inches but not more than nine inches, 11/4 inches thick. (c) If the width of the tire is more than nine inches, 11/2 inches thick.

27451. The rubber of a solid tire shall be measured between the surface of the roadway and the nearest metal part of the base flange to which the tire is attached at the point where the concentrated weight of the vehicle bears upon the surface of the roadway.

27452. The required thickness of rubber shall extend evenly around the entire periphery of the tire. The entire solid tire shall be securely attached to the channel base and shall be without flat spots or bumpy rubber.

27453. There shall not be an average difference greater than 1/8 inch between the outside diameters of each single tire composing a dual solid rubber tire.

27454. No tire on any vehicle upon any highway shall have on its periphery any block, stud, flange, cleat, ridge, bead, or any other protuberance of metal or wood which projects beyond the tread of the traction surface of the tire.

This section does not apply to the following:

(a) Tire traction devices of reasonable size used to prevent skidding when upon wet surfaces or when upon snow or ice.
(b) Pneumatic tires which have embedded therein wire not to exceed 0.075 of an inch in diameter and which are so constructed that under no conditions will the percentage of metal in contact with the roadway exceed 5 percent of the total tire area in contact with the roadway, except that during the first 1,000 miles of use or operation of any such tire, the metal in contact with the roadway may exceed 5 percent of the tire area in contact with the roadway, but shall in no event exceed 20 percent of such area.
(c) Vehicles operated upon unimproved roadways when necessary in the construction or repair of highways.
(d) Traction engines or tractors when operated under the conditions of a permit first obtained from the Department of Transportation.
(e) Pneumatic tires containing metal-type studs of tungsten carbide or other suitable material and which are so inserted or constructed that under no conditions will the number of studs or the percentage of metal in contact with the roadway exceed 3 percent of the total tire area in contact with the roadway, between the first day of November and April 30. The commissioner, after consultation with the Department of Transportation, may extend the period during which studded pneumatic tires may be used in any area of the state for the protection of the public because of adverse weather conditions.
(f) Pneumatic tires used on an authorized emergency vehicle, as defined in Section 165, containing metal-type studs of tungsten carbide or other suitable material, if the studs are so inserted or constructed that under no conditions will the number of studs or the percentage of metal in contact with the roadway exceed 3 percent of the total tire area in contact with the roadway. Notwithstanding subdivision (e), authorized emergency vehicles are permitted the unrestricted use of studded pneumatic tires throughout the year.

27455.
(a) On and after January 1, 1975, no person shall sell or offer for sale an inner tube for use in a radial tire unless, at the time of manufacture, the tube valve stem is colored red or is distinctly marked in accordance with rules and regulations adopted by the department, taking into consideration the recommendations of manufacturers of inner tubes.
(b) No person shall install an inner tube in a radial tire unless the inner tube is designed for use in a radial tire.

27459. No person shall operate any motor vehicle, trailer or semitrailer upon any portion of a highway without tire traction devices when that portion of the highway is signed for the requirement of tire traction devices. In any case where a passenger vehicle or motortruck having an unladen weight of 6,000 pounds or less may be required by the Department of Transportation or local authorities to be equipped with tire traction devices, the devices shall be placed on at least two drive wheels, or the department or local authorities may provide, in the alternative, that the vehicle may be equipped with snow-tread tires on at least two drive wheels when the weather and surface conditions at the time are such that the stopping, tractive, and cornering abilities of the snow-tread tires are adequate. The snow-tread tires shall be of a type and design manufactured for use on snow as a replacement for tire chains or tire traction devices, shall be in good condition, and shall bear the marking of M-S, M/S, or other marking indicating that the tire was manufactured for use on snow, or, in the case of tires purchased before January 1, 1987, shall either bear the markings or, in the opinion of the inspecting officer, comply with the tread pattern requirements of Section 558.

27459.5.
(a) No person shall sell, offer for sale, lease, install, or replace on a vehicle for use on a highway, any tire traction devices which are not in compliance with requirements specified in Section 605.
(b) Every manufacturer who sells, offers for sale, or manufactures for use upon a vehicle, tire traction devices subject to the requirements of Section 605 shall, before the device is offered for sale, have laboratory test data showing compliance with those requirements. Tests may be conducted by the manufacturer.

27460. Any passenger vehicle or motortruck having an unladen weight of 6,500 pounds or less and operated and equipped with four-wheel drive and with snow-tread tires on all four drive wheels may be operated upon any portion of a highway without tire traction devices, notwithstanding the fact that the highway is signed for the requirement of those devices and provided that tire traction devices for at least one set of drive wheels are carried in or upon the vehicle. The snow-tread tires shall meet the requirements specified in Section 27459, and the vehicle shall not, when so operated, tow another vehicle except as may be necessary to move a disabled vehicle from the roadway.
No person shall use those tires on four-wheel drive vehicles in place of tire traction devices whenever weather and roadway conditions at the time are such that the stopping, tractive, and cornering abilities of the tires are not adequate or whenever the Department of Transportation or local authorities, in their respective jurisdictions, place signs prohibiting their operation unless equipped with tire traction devices.

27460.5. No person shall knowingly sell or offer or expose for sale any motor vehicle tire except a commercial vehicle tire, or any motor vehicle equipped with any tire except a commercial vehicle tire, which has been recut or regrooved. For purposes of this section a recut or regrooved tire is an unretreaded or unrecapped tire into which new grooves have been cut or burned.

27461. No person shall cause or permit the operation of and no driver shall knowingly operate any motor vehicle except a commercial vehicle, on any street or highway, which is equipped with one or more recut or regrooved tires. For purposes of this section a recut or regrooved tire is an unretreaded or unrecapped tire into which new grooves have been cut or burned.

27465. (a) No dealer or person holding a retail seller's permit shall sell, offer for sale, expose for sale, or install on a vehicle axle for use on a highway, a pneumatic tire when the tire has less than the tread depth specified in subdivision (b). This subdivision does not apply to any person who installs on a vehicle, as part of an emergency service rendered to a disabled vehicle upon a highway, a spare tire with which the disabled vehicle was equipped.
(b) No person shall use on a highway a pneumatic tire on a vehicle axle when the tire has less than the following tread depth, except when temporarily installed on a disabled vehicle as specified in subdivision (a):
(1) One thirty-second (1/32) of an inch tread depth in any two adjacent grooves at any location of the tire, except as provided in paragraphs (2) and (3).
(2) Four thirty-second (4/32) of an inch tread depth at all points in all major grooves on a tire on the steering axle of any motor vehicle specified in Section 34500, and two thirty-second (2/32) of an inch tread depth at all points in all major grooves on all other tires on the axles of these vehicles.
(3) Six thirty-second (6/32) of an inch tread depth at all points in all major grooves on snow tires used in lieu of tire traction devices in posted tire traction device control areas.
(c) The measurement of tread depth shall not be made where tie bars, humps, or fillets are located.
(d) The requirements of this section shall not apply to implements of husbandry.
(e) The department, if it determines that such action is appropriate and in keeping with reasonable safety requirements, may adopt regulations establishing more stringent tread depth requirements than those specified in this section for those vehicles defined in Sections 322 and 545, and may adopt regulations establishing tread depth requirements different from those specified in this section for those vehicles listed in Section 34500.

27500.
(a) The department may adopt regulations relating to standards for pneumatic tires of a vehicle type as it determines necessary to provide for public safety.
(b) In adopting these regulations, the department shall consider as evidence of generally accepted standards, the rules and regulations which have been adopted by the Federal Highway Administration and Rubber Manufacturers Assocation.

27501.
(a) No dealer or person holding a retail seller's permit shall sell, offer for sale, expose for sale, or install on a vehicle for use on a highway, a pneumatic tire which is not in compliance with regulations adopted pursuant to Section 27500. This subdivision shall not apply to any person who installs on a vehicle, as part of an emergency service rendered to a vehicle upon a highway, a spare tire with which such disabled vehicle was equipped.
(b) No person shall use on a highway a pneumatic tire which is not in conformance with such regulations.

27502. No dealer or person holding a retail seller's permit shall sell, offer for sale, expose for sale, or install on a vehicle for use on a highway, a tire which is not in compliance with regulations adopted pursuant to Section 27503.

27503.
(a) The commissioner, after public hearings, shall adopt regulations setting noise standards for pneumatic tires. Such standards shall be the lowest level of noise consistent with economic and technological feasibility and with public safety as stated in the regulations adopted pursuant to Section 27500. Such standards may be adopted for each tire-vehicle type combination. The regulations may require the manufacturer to prove to the commissioner that the tire meets the standards, subject to such inspection as the commissioner prescribes. The regulations shall be filed with the Legislature eight months after the federal study on tire noise is available, and shall become operative one year after such filing.
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this section that the commissioner shall consider recommendations of the United States Department of Transportation before developing independent standards for tire noise.