Tyres on vans and light commercial vehicles (LCVs) lead a hard life, carrying loads and doing multiple drops, often in tough working environments such as construction sites. As a critical vehicle component, it’s important to carry out regular checks on vans of all ages to make sure their tyres are still safe and legal. With margins for businesses tighter than ever and fuel and other costs rising, the impact of a tyre-related problem can be serious in terms of vehicle downtime, missed appointments and repair costs.
MINIMUM TREAD DEPTH FOR VANS AND LCVS
Vans and LCV’s are subject to the same tyre law as cars so they must have a minimum of 1.6mm of tread across the central three quarters of the tyre around its entire circumference. Tyres must also be well maintained in order to keep the vehicle stable as it travels around corners; to help it accelerate and brake effectively; and to work in harmony with the vehicle’s main suspension system to carry loads safely. Tyre tread depths are vital for ensuring vehicle safety and vans are particularly vulnerable as they can be heavier than normal cars, and often carry loads. The extra weight carried by a van also increases its stopping distance, making it even more important that tread depths meet safe and legal standards.
VAN TYRE PRESSURE
As vans frequently carry loads, it’s essential that tyres are inflated to the correct pressure. When a tyre is under-inflated (or overloaded), excess heat builds up within the tyre, which greatly increases its likelihood of experiencing a rapid deflation. Tyre failure of this nature is a major safety risk as it can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle, and can also put other road users at risk.
IMPROVING FUEL ECONOMY
Failing to keep your van tyres properly inflated can needlessly increase your fuel bills. TyreSafe estimates that in the UK, as much as £700 million of fuel a year is wasted as a result of under-inflated tyres. When tyres run under-inflated, their rolling resistance – the force that is needed to make them turn – increases. This means the engine has to work harder and more fuel is used, making the vehicle less economical. Calculations from one TyreSafe member show that when tyres are under-inflated by just 20% (around 6psi), 3% more fuel is used.
Then if in doubt, speak to your local Fast Fit tyre retailer for specific advice on the most appropriate tyre your van needs and load requirements. Whatever type of tyres fitted to your vehicle, they are of fundamental importance to road safety as they provide the only contact a vehicle has with the road.
TOP TIPS FOR CORRECT TYRES MAINTENANCE
- Use a reliable and accurate pressure gauge to check the pressure of van tyres at least once a month or before a long trip.
- Check the pressure in all tyres not forgetting to check any spare tyre(s) as well.
- Tyre pressure should be checked against the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended operating pressures for the load being carried.
- Check the pressure when tyres are cold or when the vehicle has travelled less than two miles.
- When checking pressures, give the rest of the tyre a thorough visual inspection. Remove any stones and other objects embedded in the tread. Look out for any cuts, lumps or bulges.
- If you are unsure on any aspect of tyre pressure or tyre condition take your vehicle to an approved fitting centre and speak to the experts.