Care and Maintenance

Van drivers and fleet managers can carry out a simple list of checks to make sure their tyres are safe and legal.

Care and Maintenance

Van drivers and fleet managers can carry out a simple list of checks to make sure their tyres are safe and legal.

 

Tread depth

Tyre tread depths are vital when ensuring vehicle safety. Vans tyre tread depth is particularly important as they are heavier than normal cars, and often carry loads, meaning that stopping distance are increased.

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Current UK law states tyre tread on vans must be at a minimum of 1.6mm across the central three quarters of the tread, around its entire circumference. Drivers found in breach of this law face a fine of up to £2,500 and three penalty points for each illegal tyre.

While the legal minimum is 1.6mm, in wet or icy conditions, TyreSafe recommends that drivers consider changing their tyres well before the legal limit.

You can check your tread depth by using a 20p coin. If the outer band of the coin is visible when inserted into the tyre tread grooves, the tyre may not have sufficient tread depth.

Ensure you check the entire circumference of the tyre in a continuous band throughout the central three-quarters of the tread width.

 

Condition of tyres

  • Clean the dirt from the valves and make sure that valve caps are fitted to each wheel.
  • Remove any stones and other objects embedded in the tread. Look out for any bulges, lumps or cuts to the tread & sidewalls.
  • Steering alignment should be corrected if front tyres show signs of excessive or uneven wear.

 

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.

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Van operators should ensure that their tyres are inflated to the correct pressure depending on whether the vehicle is laden or unladen. Details of the correct pressures can be found in the vehicle handbook.

  1. Use a reliable and accurate pressure gauge to check the pressure of van tyres once a week and/or at the regular fleet inspection.
  2. Check the pressure in all tyres not forgetting to check any spare tyre(s) as well.
  3. Tyre pressure should be checked against the tyre manufacturer’s recommended operating pressures.
  4. Check the pressure when tyres are cold or when the vehicle has travelled less than two miles.
  5. Ensure that valve extensions are fitted and working for twin fitment tyres.
  6. 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.

Download our handy guide to Van tyre safety (PDF, 500k)

Essential Information
Tyre Safety Vehicle Advice
Tyre Safety Driver Advice