April 27, 2017

Does your van have the right tyres?


If you’re a van or fleet operator, you’ll be all too aware of the demands placed on it every single day. Now that winter is upon us, the condition of your van is even more important. You wouldn’t want to lose a vehicle to downtime at any time of the year, so making sure that your van(s) are well-maintained and prepared for the tasks ahead is vital – for you and your business.

Fitting the right tyres on your van is crucial to keeping it on the road during the winter months. Choose the right ones and look after them and you can easily avoid the downtime ‘double-whammy’ – where you suffer a loss of productivity as well as a repair bill.

Because light commercial vehicle (LCV) tyres are subjected to heavier loads and prolonged running times compared to a passenger car, for example, they need to be tougher. So, they’ll require a reinforced structure and special compounds that provide the longevity and load-carrying properties that a van needs. When choosing such tyres, keep every potential working situation in mind.

Why tyres can affect your van’s safety

Due to the nature of their use, LCVs aren’t driven in the same way as a passenger vehicle and downtime is not acceptable as an LCV is business critical. Because of this, light truck tyres that are commonly used must have superior safety properties and an uncompromised grip on both wet and dry roads.

Some crucial driving aspects – braking, cornering and steering – depend on the quality and condition of your van’s rubber ‘shoes’, which are the only contact points with the road to ensure the safety of the vehicle and its contents.

Unsuitable or worn tyres will not provide the reliable grip you need in icy or wet conditions, while the risk of aquaplaning increases. Poor steering response means that it’s more difficult to control the vehicle and also increases the risk of an accident.

What to consider when choosing LCV tyres

As already mentioned, the key to making a good choice is considering the worst possible conditions that the tyres could potentially face during their life cycle. Remember, always stick to the manufacturer’s specifications.

  • LCVs need a radial type of tyre (indicated by the letter ‘R’ on the tyre’s sidewall) which are more rigid thanks to multiple belted layers of polyester and steel. An adverse effect of using these tyres is harsher cornering and handling.
  • The heavier the load carried by the van, the bigger the ply number should be.
  • As long as they are new and in good condition, all-season tyres are usually good enough for UK roads. If the van will be used a lot on wet, snowy or icy roads then winter tyres are always better. Mud and snow standards compliance is indicated by the letter ‘M’ and ‘S’ on the tyre’s sidewall.
  • When replacing tyres, keep to the original size. If you feel you need bigger tyres, discuss this with a professional. Never choose tyres that are smaller than the original size as specified by the manufacturer.
  • Choose tyres according to the original load capacity (payload) of the van. Never choose tyres with a lower load index.
  • On the sidewall, you’ll see speed marking which indicate the maximum speed at which the tyre can operate. Never use tyres with a lower speed rating than the vehicle’s specification.
    Check the tyre’s EU fuel efficiency label. Tyres are graded from A (lowest rolling resistance, best fuel-efficiency) to G (less fuel saving).

New vans on finance

With a new van on a maintained contract hire deal, you never need to worry about tyres. Or brakes. Or servicing. So what are you waiting for? Give us a call on 0845 021 0444 or enquire online for a free, no obligation, tailored quote.