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Supported by The British Army

Tread carefully

Tread carefully as we examine some tyres to check that they’re roadworthy and meet legal requirements.

You will need

  • Rulers
  • Access to a motorcycle (with the correct manual)

Making sure your tyres meet legal standards will keep you safe and can help you avoid a hefty fine. Those standards are there for a reason. If a tyre is damaged it could burst at any point causing a nasty accident. If a tyre doesn’t have enough tread it could cause you to skid off the road or not be able to stop in time and crash into something.

Before you begin

  • This activity is part of a series of short activities within the Scouts Mechanics Activity Badge.
  • Decide how you’ll run these activities. You could run a mechanics activity day with a few vehicles, so small groups can try different tasks on different vehicles at the same time. You could also run the activities as short bases during a meeting (while other activities take place).
  • Decide who’ll run and supervise this activity. All of the practical activities for the Mechanic Badge should be run and supervised by a qualified mechanic (or someone with enough knowledge gained through experience).


  1. Check all areas of the tyre for any obvious signs of damage, these could be cracks, splits, bulges or punctures. Any of these may mean the tyre needs to be replaced.
  1. Next check the tread of the tyre to make sure it meets legal requirements. The law requires motorcycle tyres to have a minimum tread depth of 1.0mm in a continuous band around the central three quarters of the tyre.
  1. The tyre valve should also be checked as wear on the valve seal, damaged screw threads, dirt and grit in the valve itself can lead to failure of the tyre at speed.


This activity was all about developing skills. Why’s it useful to be able to get stuck in to vehicle maintenance? It helps keep people safe and can save you money too. It’s also better for the environment to look after vehicles so less resources are used to repair avoidable faults (or even replace cars). Was it easy to learn this skill? Is this skill the same for every single vehicle, or would people still need to check the manual?

This activity also gave people the chance to be independent. How did it feel to get stuck in to a practical task? What role did the adults have in this activity? They supervised to make sure no one (and no vehicles) got hurt.


All activities must be safely managed. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.


This task involves the use of potentially harmful fluids or chemicals. Make sure you follow all relevant safety guidance. Make sure you dispose of them appropriately too, in line with safety guidance.

Manufacturer’s guidelines

All vehicles will be different so always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.


Before completing this activity make sure you have suitable personal protective equipment (PPE). This could include eye or ear protection, gloves, and anything else you need to protect yourself. You’ll know what you need as a result of completing the risk assessment for the activity.

Vehicle readiness

Before completing this activity, make sure that the engine’s fully cooled. The vehicle should be parked on flat, stable ground with the parking brake applied.

Outdoor activities

You must have permission to use the location. Always check the weather forecast and inform parents and carers of any change in venue.