Search Interpretations


Ms. Amanda Reyes

Daniel Boone & Company

1180 N. Fountain Way #B

Anaheim, CA 92806

Dear Ms. Reyes:

This responds to your letter concerning whether your motorcycle parts must meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSSs) applicable to motorcycles or any other National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requirements. Our answer is provided below. As explained below, since your products are motor vehicle equipment, your company, Daniel Boone & Company, is subject to certain NHTSA requirements as the manufacturer of the equipment.

NHTSA is authorized to issue Federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSSs) for new motor vehicles and new items of motor vehicle equipment. Unlike the practice in many countries, NHTSA does not provide approvals of motor vehicles or motor vehicle equipment. Instead, manufacturers are required to certify that their vehicles and equipment meet applicable standards.

Billet Wheels Must Meet FMVSS No. 120, Tire Selection and Rims for Motor Vehicles with a GVWR of More than 4,536 Kilograms (10,000 Pounds)

You write that your company manufactures billet wheels. FMVSS No. 120, Tire selection and rims for motor vehicles with a GVWR of more than 4,536 kg (10,000 pounds) applies to:

motor vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 10,000 pounds and motorcycles, to rims used on those vehicles, and to non-pneumatic tire spare tire assemblies for use on those vehicles. (See S3. Application.)

Your billet wheels would be considered rims used on those vehicles (i.e., motorcycles). Thus, FMVSS No. 120 would apply to your billet wheels. Therefore, the billet wheel must be marked with the DOT symbol, as well as with other required information specified in S5.2.

S5.2(c) of FMVSS No. 120 requires that the symbol DOT be stamped on the rim, which constitutes a certification by the manufacturer of the rim that the rim complies with all applicable motor vehicle safety standards. NHTSA does not assign a DOT number or identification mark for rim manufacturers.

Since FMVSS No. 120 applies to billet wheels that your company manufactures, your company must also meet 49 CFR Part 566, Manufacturer Identification. Part 566 requires that a manufacturer of motor vehicles or motor vehicle equipment to which a motor vehicle safety standard applies, submit information identifying itself and its products to NHTSA not later than 30 days after it begins manufacture. This information must be mailed to the Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 400 Seventh St., S.W., Washington, D.C. A sample Manufacturer Identification Submission is attached.

Forward Controls, Calipers and Rotors for Motorcycles are Motor Vehicle Equipment

You also wish to know whether any FMVSSs apply to forward controls, calipers and rotors for motorcycles. The answer is no. NHTSA has FMVSSs applicable to motorcycles (i.e., FMVSS No. 122, Motorcycle brake systems, and FMVSS No. 123, Motorcycle controls and displays), but not to forward controls, calipers and rotors. However, since the parts your company manufactures are motor vehicle equipment, they are subject to various provisions of 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301, Motor Vehicle Safety. Motor vehicle equipment is defined at 49 U.S.C. Section 30102(a)(7) as:

(A) any system, part, or component of a motor vehicle as originally manufactured;

(B) any similar part or component manufactured or sold for replacement or improvement of a system, part, or component, or as an accessory or addition to a motor vehicle; or

(C) any device or an article or apparel (except medicine or eyeglasses prescribed by a licensed practitioner) that is not a system, part, or component of a motor vehicle and is manufactured, sold, delivered, offered, or intended to be used only to safeguard motor vehicles and highway users against risk of accident, injury or death.

Clearly, since the billet wheels, forward controls, calipers and rotors are parts of motorcycles as originally manufactured, or are sold as replacement parts of motorcycles, these parts are motor vehicle equipment.

Manufacturers of motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment must ensure that their products are free of safety-related defects. If the manufacturer or NHTSA should determine that a product contains a safety-related defect, the manufacturer is responsible for notifying NHTSA and purchasers of the defective equipment and remedying the problem free of charge. (See Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 573, Defect and Non-Compliance Responsibility and Reports.)

In addition, the States regulate the use of vehicles and items of motor vehicle equipment. Each State in which you sell your products can provide information on whether there are any requirements in that State for the billet wheels, forward controls, calipers or rotors that are to be used with motorcycles.

I am enclosing a copy of our July 2006 publication, Information for New Manufacturers of Motor Vehicles and Motor Vehicle Equipment. I hope this information is helpful. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact Dorothy Nakama of my staff at this address or by telephone at (202) 366-2992.


Anthony M. Cooke

Chief Counsel