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Legality of Beadlocks

Discussion in 'Wheels & Tires' started by JimBeam, Mar 23, 2009.

  1. Mar 23, 2009 at 10:07 PM

    JimBeam [OP] BECAUSE INTERNETS!! Moderator

    Apr 14, 2008
    First Name:
    2014 DCSB TRD 4x4
    A cut and paste from NC4x4

    This is the best "layman's terms" explanation of the whole debate I've seen so far.

    As copied from Scott from Rockstomper.com:

    There is a Federal standard that basically says that all roadgoing wheels have to be DOT stamped, but nothing preventing a manufacturer from DOT stamping a beadlock wheel. In fact, if you check out Champion Wheel's comments (on their site) you'll see that beadlocks are actually road legal, but most beadlock wheel manufacturers choose not to stamp their product DOT, thereby hiding from lawsuits behind a smokescreen of vague (and often misleading) language.

    If you care to research the FMVSS on the subject, there's nothing about beadlocks that is in violation of DOT standards... but there is a requirement that all road wheels be DOT stamped, and a manufacturer stamping something DOT, makes them liable for it.

    If you go so far as to research the FMVSS, you'll find that the very concept of "DOT approved" is misleading, as DOT does not approve anything. DOT writes standards, and specifies how to perform testing, but does not do testing, nor do they provide approval.

    There are no inspectors that "come out and look it over" (Referring to a beadlock wheel being sold by a company). It's entirely on the manufacturer--if they want to accept the liability for it, they can stamp it; if they don't, they don't have to. There's no requirement that they stamp it in order to sell it, that's how so many beadlock manufacturers can sell so many wheels with "not for highway use" on them, and no DOT stamp. They're simply hiding from the liability.

    Rim shells are stamped DOT prior to having a center installed. I have a couple here at the shop, 15x10, with full DOT markings, from the rimshell rolling house, with no center, no valve hole, no nothing... just the rim itself.

    With that information in mind, knowing that it has to have other parts welded on in order to be useable as a wheel, knowing that it has to have a hole (or maybe two, if you're using the inflatable internal lock systems) drilled in it anyway, it's pretty well stretching things to say that it voids the DOT stamp to weld to it, to drill holes on it, or similar.

    The only argument I've seen that holds any water is, if you cut it, that (arguably) could be construed as a substantial change to the wheel. It is, however, considered acceptable to cut two wheels apart to make one wider wheel out of the two larger pieces of each. Wheel shops do it all the time, without impacting the DOT stamp or legality.

    Further, as I've been told by the Colorado State Patrol, if the wheel has a DOT stamp in it along with the other information as described by the DOT in their regulations, the State Patrol considers it to be road legal. All they need to see is that stamp. Unfortunately for convenience sake, that stamp is on the air-pressure side of the wheel, to keep it from looking ugly on the cosmetic surfaces, but it's usually there

    Look DOT to you? Look even usable?

    Here's the DOT stamp on it:

    That stamp indicates that it's road-legal. Can't put air in it, can't mount it to anything, can't seat a tire on it, but I can legally run it on the road.
  2. Mar 23, 2009 at 10:32 PM

    RelentlessFab Tacoma offroad armor fabricating beast Vendor

    Feb 17, 2008
    First Name:
    Eastern side of the Sierras: Sparks, NV
    07 SR5 6mt to 03 SR5 to 08 Sport and 17 6MT TRD OR
    Relentless Armored! Too many others to list.
  3. Mar 23, 2009 at 10:52 PM
    Killer Red Taco

    Killer Red Taco NorCal Rock Whore

    Aug 25, 2008
    First Name:
    007 Tacoma A/C TRD O/R Impulse Red 4x4
    Bilstein 5100 on front at 1.75 setting • 5100 on back• K&N Air Filter• TRD Seat Covers• Day Time Running Lights• Foglights Anytime• Hella 500 lights in grille• Rear TSB Springs• Alternative Locker Mod• CB and 4 ft firestick II• Billet Grille• Kid puke in the back!• 265/75R16 Goodyear MT/R• 16" Devino wheels• Hose Clamp Mod• Revenge Fab Sliders• No Sway Bar• A Hottie as Copilot
    so a DIY beadlock on a DOT rim is legal?

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