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Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

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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.

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You’ll 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.

Rotate the wheel to make sure you can see all parts of the tyre.

  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.

The tread is the pattern of grooves and ridges in the tyre rubber. The depth of the grooves should be measured and be at least 1..00mm deep. If the wear on the tyre is uneven this could be due to a wider problem, and a qualified mechanic should check the tyre. A minimum of 3.0mm of tread will give you grip and braking ability.

  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.

If you notice any problems with your tyre you should head to a local garage immediately and have them checked and replaced by a professional.


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. You must complete a thorough risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. 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.

While this activity must always be supervised and guided by someone competent, they can vary the level of hands-on help they provide. People with more knowledge and experience should do more for themselves (with supervision); people with less knowledge and experience may need more hands-on help.

The person supervising and guiding the activity can help out with parts anyone finds tricky including reading instructions, lifting or moving heavy objects, or doing the smaller or more fiddly tasks.

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

This activity’s just one area of vehicle maintenance and repair. Encourage anyone who’s interested to complete the other activities in the Scouts Mechanic Activity Badge.

Involve young people in the decision about how to do the Scouts Mechanic Activity Badge (if they want to do it at all) – would they rather do the activities separately over different meetings or as part of an activity day? Just because this activity needs supervision (and you can’t alter the content or safety guidance), doesn’t mean young people can’t have a say.