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. Economic pressure on businesses during the recession has also led to many older vehicles not being replaced. 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. Therefore regular checks on your vehicle’s tyres can help save time and money in both the short and long term.
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.
Basic checks such as making sure tyres are correctly inflated can make all the difference, as the pressurised air inside the tyre helps to support the weight of the vehicle and its load. 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.
Specific tyre requirements
Vans, even car derived vans, usually require specific tyres which are designed to cope with the payload of the vehicle. Car tyres are often not suitable for vans. If in doubt, speak to a local tyre retailer for specific advice on the most appropriate tyre your 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. In 2009, illegal, defective or under-inflated tyres were a contributory factor in the death or serious injury of more than 215 motorists. They also played a part in a further 1168 accidents where people received minor injuries.
Download our handy guide to Van tyre safety (PDF, 500k)