How tyres can have a big impact on your fleet

Thursday, October 16, 2014 - 17:08
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How tyres can have a big impact on your fleet

In the latest article from Northgate Vehicle Hire, Joanna Charlton looks at how tyres can have a big impact on your fleet

Anyone who runs a vehicle, whether it be for business or pleasure, and of any size or type, from the smallest car to the biggest truck, should be interested in tyres.

So for those who operate a fleet to support their business operation this interest becomes serious, with tyres impacting on your cost efficiencies, legal compliance, vehicle life and duty of care to your staff and the general public.

Many of us take a great deal of care when choosing the vehicles we operate, but tyres are often seen as a necessary evil and will be replaced at the last possible moment at the cheapest possible cost.

This can be a costly mistake, as that strip of black rubber is the only thing keeping your vehicle on the road, and more importantly stopping it – whether you are driving a Ferrari or a Ford Transit.

So what are some of the things you should you consider?

  • Pressure
    Tyre pressure should be checked at least monthly and always before long journeys. Tyres that are under or over inflated will not the grip the road as well and will affect braking performance.Tyres that are left under inflated for long periods of time will wear the edge of the tyres more rapidly, as there will be more contact with the road surface than normal, this shortens their life resulting in earlier replacement. They are also more prone to a blowout.
  • Tread Depth
    The legal minimum tread depth in the UK is 1.6mm across the central ¾ of the tread around the complete circumference of the tyre.However it is widely accepted that the safe limit is 3mm. It is known that decreasing tread depth can lead to the deterioration of a tyre’s performance during cornering, and straight line braking in the wet. With a lower tread depth, a tyre cannot deal with the same volume of water so it can’t transmit traction and braking forces as effectively.

    Much research has been done but the most significant fact is that the stopping distance in the wet is increased from 31.7 metres on 3mm tyres to 39.5 metres on 1.6mm tyres. That is an extra 8 metres of road travelled before you stop!

  • Visual Inspection
    Sometimes just a good look over your tyres is worthwhile. Remove any debris or stones that may have become embedded in the tread and look out for any cuts, bulges or lumps, which should always be checked out by a professional.
  • The benefits
    Apart from the obvious improved tyre performance, which can impact on fuel performance and general running costs, good tyre maintenance brings a whole host of other benefits.The main one has to be safety, especially when following a policy to change 3mm, fewer accidents will reduce insurance costs, vehicle downtime and repair bills. Good tyre maintenance can even mean less risk of prosecution as you will comply with the necessary Health & Safety regulations.

    For a single defective tyre, the maximum fine is £2,500 and three penalty points, this rises to £5,000 in the case of a goods vehicle or a vehicle which carries more than eight passengers. However should you be running on more than one defective tyre, you can be summonsed for each tyre which is illegal and disqualification is also possible.

So the only question left is, when the Government changes ministerial cars at 3mm, the major tyre and vehicle manufacturers highly recommend it and Northgate Vehicle Hire changes its fleet’s tyres at 3mm, do you?

Joanna Charlton is the Marketing Executive for Northgate Vehicle Hire, the market leader in the provision of light commercial vehicle rental and associated fleet solutions.

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