Are Your Tyres Safe? Checking Your Van’s Tyres
Van drivers can carry out simple checks to make sure that tyres are safe and legal. As vans frequently carry loads, it’s essential that tyres are inflated to the correct pressure.
So, here are three benefits of proper tyre inflation:
Better Van Handling
Keeping your tyres properly inflated allows you to accelerate, brake and handle cornering safely.
When your tyres are under-inflated, it can’t support the weight of your van, potentially making driving unsafe because under-inflation could affect braking, steering and suspension systems.
Improved Fuel Economy
Did you know that having your tyres properly inflated enables you to travel further on each tank of fuel and reduce CO2 emissions?
Driving on under-inflated tyres creates more resistance forcing your engine to work harder, so more fuel is used, and more CO2 emissions are produced.
Regularly checking and adjusting your tyre pressure, especially before long journeys, can help reduce fuel consumption. It also helps to increase the life of your tyres!
Prevents Premature Tyre Wear
Driving on under-inflated tyres also increases the rapid wear in the shoulder area of the tread as the load is supported by this area. Driving on over-inflated tyres increases the rapid wear in the centre of the tread.
Keeping tyres inflated to the recommended pressure for your van and load ensures an even contact distribution and a more even wear rate, helping to make the tyres last longer.
So, how do you keep your tyres in good health?
Check your tread depth
The tread depth of your tyres is key in ensuring the safety of your van. Van tyre depths are particularly important because vans are heavier than cars, and often carry loads which increase stopping distances.
Tyre treads on vans in the UK must be at a minimum of 1.6mm across the central three quarters of the tread, around its entire circumference.
If you are found in breach of this, you could face a fine of up to £2,500 and three penalty points for each illegal tyre!
Consider changing your tyres well before it reaches the legal limits to ensure safety while driving, especially as the weather is getting colder and the roads are getting wetter and icier.
They way to check your tyre treads is super easy, use a 20p coin and place it within the tread grooves. If the outer band of the coin is visible, your tyre may not have sufficient tread depth. Check the entire circumference of the tyre in a continuous band throughout the central three-quarters of the tread width.
Check the condition of your tyres
Your tyres will need to be kept clean, especially the valve and the valve caps that are fitted to each wheel. If you spot any stones or other objects in the tread grooves, remove them and look out for bulges, cuts or lumps to the tread and side walls.
If you notice that the front tyres are showing signs of excessive or uneven wear, this could indicate that your steering alignment is off, so get this checked.
Check your tyre pressure
Your van may be frequently carrying loads, so it is important to check that they are inflated to the correct pressure.
If a tyre is under-inflated or overloaded, excess heat builds up within the tyre and this increases the likelihood of rapid deflation.
This is a huge risk as tyre failure of this nature can cause you to lose control of the van, and can also put other road users at risk.
Your tyres will need to be inflated to the correct pressure depending on whether the van is laden or unladen. Use an accurate pressure gauge to check the pressure of van tyres once a week. They should be checked against the tyre manufacturer’s recommended operating pressures. Don’t forget to check any spare tyre(s) as well.
TIP: Check the pressure when tyres are cold or when the van has travelled less than two miles.
If you are unsure on any aspect of tyre pressure or tyre condition take your van to an approved fitting centre and speak to the experts.