Safety: Tyre bands for caravans
Staying in control if a tyre blows!
Terry Owen, Caravan’s technical writer, examines how tyre safety bands work, and provides answers to some frequently asked questions
Keeping your caravan stable and minimising damage if a tyre deflates is a compelling reason to consider fitting tyre safety bands
Put simply; tyre safety bands are designed to keep a tyre safely on the wheel in the event of deflation.
Above: a tyre band in position
Without such a device the tyre can drop into the wheel's well, causing it to come loose and flail. In these circumstances, you lose braking and steering, and there is a danger of the tyre leaving the wheel rim, or just disintegrating and causing damage to the vehicle.
Tyre safety bands are designed to fit into the well of the wheel and so keep the tyre in good contact with the wheel and the road. With the tyre in contact, it means you can come to a controlled stop in a place of safety up to five miles from the place where the deflation occurs.
As far as we are aware there is just one make, Tyron, a sister company to Gaslow, the LPG gas component business.
What is the wheel 'well' and what does it do?
The well is necessary to allow tyres to be removed and refitted. Without it, there would be no way the tyre bead could go completely over the rim of the wheel. The well allows one-half of the bead to move closer to the centre of the wheel while prising the other half over the rim. The wheel is then rotated in the fitting machine so that you can force the entire bead over the rim.
Above: The well allows the tyre to be fitted and removed
Above: The tyre band has been removed to allow the tyre to drop into the well for removal
I don't have them on my car; why should I fit them to my caravan?
If you have a puncture in your vehicle, you will know about it very quickly and be able to take immediate action. With a caravan, you may not know about a puncture until it is already damaged. The other thing to bear in mind is that, on single axle caravans, the load on each tyre is often much greater than with a car, and the caravan will not be as stable as a car when a tyre becomes deflated.
Above: Despite a disastrous blowout this tyre remained firmly on the rim thanks to its safety band
What about twin axle caravans?
There is an argument that Tyron bands are not as important on twin axle caravans as there is a second wheel to carry the load and maintain stability.
The counter argument is that the second wheel will almost certainly become overloaded and could fail if driven for any distance. In these circumstances, Tyron bands would help.
My dealer says modern wheels have a safety lip and don't need Tyron bands
Your dealer is getting confused. The advent of tubeless tyres many years ago saw wheels being manufactured with a small lip to help seal the tyre to the wheel and to keep it in place during cornering. This lip is nigh on useless if the tyre deflates.
Above: The well must be filled to stop the tyre falling into it. The small safety lip will do little for a deflated tyre
Is it true that tyre fitters hate safety bands?
Yes, most do, because they can only change or repair a tyre once they have removed the band. Removing it takes time, with a long Allen key being needed to undo the clamp on the band. It also helps to have a special press to force the tyre out of the way while the band is removed and refitted. For these reasons, tyre fitters will probably charge you extra when you have a tyre safety band on your wheel.
Above: A cage like this pushes the tyre out of the way to give access to the safety band. Without such a cage, it's difficult to get the band on and off
Can I buy my cage to lend to tyre fitters who may not have such kit?
Yes, Tyron sells a portable fitting kit for this purpose.
Above: Tyron's portable fitting kit
Is there any way to tell if my caravan has Tyron bands fitted?
There should be a small round sticker on the wheel next to the tyre valve. It is designed to warn tyre fitters that a Tyron band is fitted and that a long Allen key will be needed to remove it. This key and a set of instructions should be given to the caravan owner when the fitter fits the Tyron bands.
Above: The sticker indicates that Tyron bands have been fitted
Where can I get tyre safety bands and are they expensive?
The best place is probably your caravan dealership as they are best suited to ordering and fitting the right bands for your particular wheels. The approximate price for a pair of Tyron bands including fitting is £160. If you’re buying a new caravan, there’s a chance you may be able to persuade the dealer to throw them in as part of the deal.
Can I transfer Tyron bands from my old caravan to my new one?
Transferring the bands may be possible if the wheels are the same type and diameter. However, the labour costs could make it hard to justify.
Which are tyre suppliers best equipped for wheels with tyre safety bands?
Several companies will come to you to repair or change tyres on wheels with Tyron bands. They include:
etyres - 0800 028 9000
Hometyre - 0800 783 9310
Kwik-Fit Mobile - 0800 75 7677 (customer services)
(0800 numbers are now free from mobile phones.)
Do Tyron bands attract an insurance discount?
Yes, some insurers will give a small discount where a caravan has tyre safety bands fitted.
As a safety component, Tyron bands fall into the same category as AL-KO's electronic ATC braking system. They sit there doing nothing until an abnormal situation arises and then kick in to maintain stability. You might drive thousands of miles without needing either but, when the time comes, you could be glad of that extra margin of safety.
Tyre safety bands were originally designed for the Ministry of Defence and still in use by them today. Most police forces fit tyre safety bands to their patrol vehicles to help maintain drivability in the event of tyre failure.