Until one of them lets you down, it’s all too easy to forget about caring for the four pieces of rubber that keep your vehicle glued to the road.
In fact, research by the AA has revealed that one in four drivers aren’t regularly checking the tyre pressures on their vehicle. Whether that figure includes van drivers isn’t made clear, but it’s still a timely reminder of everyone’s duty to undertake regular tyre checks. For van drivers, whose load my vary considerably, it’s doubly important.
The recommendation is that it should be done once a week when the tyres are cold. Pressures should be checked against the manufacturers recommended operating pressures. If tyres are overloaded – or under inflated – excess heat builds up in the tyre causing further deflation.
There are plenty more good reasons to find five to ten minutes in your weekly schedule for a quick tyre check. For a start, correctly inflated tyres reduce fuel useage and emissions. And, with tyres at the correct pressure your van will handle much better whilst also prolonging the life of the tyres.
As well as looking at the pressure gauge, you also need to use your eyes to spot wear and tear. Use a 20p piece to check tyre tread depth; pop it between the treads and if the outer rim of the coin is visible, it’s time for a pit stop tyre change – or face the risk of a £2,500 fine. Checking tyres of a heavy goods vehicle specifically however is done as part of the daily walk round check.
And finally see if there are any stones or other objects in the tyre grooves. If there are, dig them out and take a look for any bulges on the tyre walls.
Taking a bit of time to check your tyres could save you from trying to change a wheel on a dark wet and windy night in the middle of nowhere!