Sunny spring highlights the need for caravan tyre checks
With one of the sunniest starts to the year since records began in 1929, caravan owners should pay particular attention to the condition of their tyres before heading off on holiday this year. During the winter months, idle caravans can experience a number of tyre related problems such as cracking caused by the sun’s UV rays, making them unsafe or dangerous to use. To help owners identify such problems, TyreSafe, the UK’s leading tyre safety organisation, has launched a new section on its website (www.tyresafe.org) dedicated to caravan tyre safety.
“So far this year we’ve had around 20 percent more sunshine than normal which is great news for those wanting to explore the great outdoors, but not so good for the tyres on their caravans,” explains Stuart Jackson, chairman, TyreSafe. “If caravan tyres are not protected from the sun during the off-season, they can suffer from cracking which can lead to a number of other serious safety problems. It’s vitally important that owners take the time to give their tyres a thorough inspection before setting off to make sure their tyres are in a good condition and will be able to get them to their holiday destination safely.”
The anti-ageing chemicals used in tyre rubber compounds are most effective when the tyre is used regularly. The repeated stretching of the rubber compound helps to resist the formation of cracks and ensures the tyre remains flexible and elastic. When tyres remain static and exposed to the sun’s rays for a prolonged period, the protective chemicals within the compound are broken down and destroyed. This leaves the tyre more exposed to damage from UV rays and can make the tyre brittle, hard and inelastic.
Caravans that are parked in coastal locations will suffer from tyre ageing issues much sooner than those in regular and frequent use, as the salty conditions speed up the deterioration process. Similarly, any caravan owners who used their vehicles during the snowy periods earlier in the year may also experience accelerated tyre ageing as a result of the salt added to the road surface. Owners should also look for signs of carcass deformation, which is much more likely to be found on caravans that did not have their tyres removed or were not jacked up during the winter period. A comprehensive series of checks and practical tips are listed in the caravan section of the TyreSafe website.
“I would encourage caravan owners to make these inspections right away rather than waiting until the day before they plan to set off on holiday,” continues Jackson. “If their tyres do need replacing, retailers may need to order in the correct replacement which may take a number of days. Any delays in this replacement process could cause a disruption or major inconvenience to the best laid holiday plans.”
TyreSafe is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of the dangers of defective and worn tyres. TyreSafe has campaigned consistently to underline the importance of tyre safety for more than 15 years and was rewarded with the Prince Michael International Road Safety Award in 2001.
TyreSafe receives positive support from many major tyre manufacturers and retailers, and has been credited with reducing the number of defective tyres in the UK over the past decade from 18% to 12%.
TyreSafe is a signatory to the European Road Safety Charter which was launched in 2004 with the aim of halving the number of deaths on European roads by 2010.