Under-inflation or Overloading
When carrying loads, it’s essential that tyres are inflated to the correct pressure. The required pressure will depend on whether the vehicle is laden or unladen. The correct settings can be found in the vehicle manufacturer’s handbook.
The effects of overloading a tyre or it being under inflated are similar. The tyre will experience rapid wear at the outer edges of the tread as these are the only areas of the tyre in contact with the road surface. Excess heat will also build up inside the tyre which dramatically increases the chance of premature, dangerous and costly failures such as blow outs.
Research from one TyreSafe member found that by running tyres at just 80 percent of the recommended pressure, tyre life was reduced to around 75 percent. If the pressure falls to 60 percent, users can expect to achieve just 35 percent of the potential mileage from the tyre.
Repeated scuffing of tyres against kerbs, especially during multi-drop deliveries, can cause damage and rapid or irregular wear to tyres so they need to be checked regularly for signs of wear, damage and misalignment. See the damage and wear section for more details.
Unmade roads, rough ground and building sites can hold all kinds of tyre hazards in the form of builders’ debris and other sharp or damaging objects. Tyres should be visually inspected regularly for damage such as cuts, bulges and lumps. Stones or other objects embedded in the tread should be removed.
Improving fuel economy
Failing to keep your van tyres properly inflated can needlessly increase your fuel bills. TyreSafe estimates that in the UK, as much as £700 million of fuel a year is wasted as a result of under-inflated tyres. When tyres run under-inflated, their rolling resistance – the force that is needed to make them turn – increases. This means the engine has to work harder and more fuel is used, making the vehicle less economical. Calculations from one TyreSafe member show that when tyres are under-inflated by just 20% (around 6psi), 3% more fuel is used.
Van tyres must have a minimum of 1.6mm of tread across the central three quarters of the tyre around its entire circumference. You can check 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.
Download our handy guide to Van tyre safety (PDF, 500k)