To replace, or not to replace?

Mark Lovett, head of commercial vehicles at LeasePlan UK, has provided an insight into when fleets should replace tyres.

Mark explains that, regardless of make, model and type of vehicle, it is the tyre that’s keeping the vehicle on the road. The best brakes in the world are only as good as the contact and grip the tyre has, yet, very few drivers spot check their vehicle and tyres for damage before they drive off.

At 40mph a car needs a total of 36 metres to stop but commercial vehicles need almost twice that. Stopping distances for light and commercial vehicles are influenced by a number of additional factors, including the tyre pressure, compound and tread pattern, weight of the load carried and of course the speed of the vehicle.

The use of technology is transforming the fleet management industry. Through telematics for example, fleet teams are able to identify peaks and dips in the fuel efficiency of the vehicle, highlighting driver behaviour that might be uneconomical which could then be addressed – ultimately improving the vehicle and the tyres’ efficiency.

Using Apps such as the new LeasePlan Driver Check App can help automate daily vehicle checks – helping to support driver safety, vehicle road worthiness and minimise Vehicle Off Road (VOR) time.

Tyres can be costly, so we understand that fleet managers and drivers wish to get the most out of them, but pushing them beyond their means for a short-term gain, can prove more expensive in the long-term. It’s essential that drivers and fleet managers use a replacement programme to avoid an emergency tyre requirement.

LeasePlan recommends tyres on commercial vehicles are changed when they reach a minimum 2mm tread.

Every vehicle has to be taken off the road for tyre replacements during its lifetime. There are several ways drivers can ensure downtime is managed efficiently, including; using mobile tyre fitters, booking fittings outside of the organisation’s peak work time and phoning ahead to ensure the supplier has the correct tyre available. The latter is particularly important for all seasonal or winter tyres.

LeasePlan encourage all commercial vehicle operators to ensure a tyre check is included in the drivers’ daily vehicle walk around check and have a process in place for drivers to report any tyre wear and defects.