Could you answer this tricky NSW Learner Test question about your car?

·News Reporter
·3-min read

Many drivers will take their chances when it comes to small problems with their car so they may stumble on maintenance-based questions in a learner driver test.

Could you answer this question this question about tyres in the Service NSW Driver Knowledge Test?

It asks: “You buy a car and find that the spare tyre is smooth with the tread only just visible. If you get a puncture, will it be legal to drive the car with a smooth spare tyre?”

Car with damaged tyre. Source: Getty Images
Car tyres must have a tred of 1.6mm to be used legally on Australian roads. Source: Getty Images

You have three possible answers to choose from:

  1. No – it’s illegal to drive a car with a smooth tyre even if it is the spare.

  2. Yes but you must get the puncture fixed within 24 hours.

  3. Yes, if the tyre is correctly inflated and the sidewalls of the tyre are in good condition.

So – do you know which one is correct?

Managing your car tyres properly

The rules surrounding the state of your tyres are surprisingly strict and any that don’t meet the set conditions are deemed illegal to use – which is why the first answer is the correct one.

No matter what state you drive in, the rules are the same in regards to tyres. They must all have a minimum tread of 1.6mm between the grooves and be sufficiently inflated.

If a tyre has uneven wear across its entire surface or a distinct lack of grooves covering the surface, then it will be illegal to drive the car on any public road.

These rules are set for anything classed as a light vehicle which is applied to any vehicle on the road that weighs less than 4.5 tonnes.

The question on Driver Knowledge test.Source: Service NSW
Do you know the right answer? Source: Service NSW

An unknown problem for motorists

What most people may not be aware of is that driving with illegal tyres is an offence that can be punished by the police with on-the-spot fines.

Queensland has the strictest laws in the country as Queensland Police can issue drivers with both a fine of $137 and issue drivers with one demerit point for having illegal tyres. Aside from that, some other notable penalties include:

NSW: Drivers in New South Wales face a fine of $116 if they are deemed to be driving a car with illegal tyre tread by NSW Police.

VIC: Victorian drivers will cop massive penalties for driving unroadworthy cars as they will get a $454 fine for any part that doesn’t comply with vehicle standards – including tyres.

SA: In South Australia, drivers face hefty fines for driving with illegal tyres on their car as they will get slapped with a $545 fine from SA Police.

TAS: Authorities in Tasmania don’t take a lenient stance towards cars that don’t comply with safety regulations therefore anyone driving with illegal tyres faces a fine of $173.

ACT: Should any driver around Canberra be caught driving with excessively worn tyres, ACT Police will issue them with a fine of $205.

Inspecting tyre tread with a coin. Source: Getty Images
Police in Queensland can issue drivers with both a fine and demerit points for using illegal tyres. Source: Getty Images

As you can see, keeping on top of simple maintenance issues such as the state of your tyres could save drivers from copping an unnecessary penalty from the police for driving a potentially dangerous vehicle.

It’s why these questions pop up on the Driver Knowledge Test to ensure that drivers of all levels know about keeping their cars safe and avoiding any unwanted mishaps on the road.

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