Top tips for tyre safety
The past 15 years has seen a rapid rise in the 4x4 and SUV market and most vehicle manufacturers now offer a 4x4 or SUV model because of their growing desirability. One reason for their appeal among caravan owners is because they make excellent towing vehicles.
Tyres are the only part of your vehicle that are in contact with the road surface, so the wrong, or poorly maintained, tyres could be potentially dangerous for you and other road users.
4x4 specialist, Dave Dineen, from 4SITE 4x4 Tyres explains how you can stay as safe as possible on the roads…
1. Choose the right tyre
There are many different types of tyres available, but not all will be suitable for your needs. You should always speak to your tyre fitter about your driving style and what type of surface you tend to drive on. They can recommend the best option for your budget.
For the majority of 4X4 and SUV drivers who tow caravans, I’d recommend an all-terrain tyres, such as the General Grabber All Terrain or BF Goodrich AT KO2.
2. Tread depth
The legal minimum tread depth in the UK is 1.6mm, but I strongly recommend changing your 4x4/SUV tyre at 3mm.
The less tread your tyres have the less control you’ll have of the vehicle (and the caravan), especially in wet conditions. Stopping distance also greatly increasing the less tread there is on the tyre.
Tests show that in wet weather, a vehicle travelling at 50mph on tyres with 1.6mm of tread will take about 40 metres further to stop than the same vehicles on tyres with 3mm of tread.
3. Tyre pressure
Keeping tyres correctly inflated ensures an even wear rate, which will extend the life of your tyres.
Under-inflated tyres places excess loads on the outer edges of the tyre, causing the shoulders to wear more rapidly. Over-inflated tyres will experience higher wear rates in the centre of the tread.
4. Exposure to the elements
When it comes to the caravan’s tyres, most caravans will have been left outdoors since last summer and, chances are, the tyres will not have been ‘bagged’ or covered up.
This exposure to the elements during autumn and winter could have resulted in cracks or perishing on the side walls of tyres.
That’s why it’s crucial for caravan tyres to be thoroughly checked for signs of wear and damage before being taking out on the road this summer.
5. Tyron safety bands
I’d recommend people have a Tyron safety band fitted to their caravan tyres, as they are a simple but potentially life-saving measure in the event of a tyre blowout or puncture.
All tyres have a fitting well and when inflated, the air pressure inside the tyres ensures they remain in place. But if the air pressure drops as a result of a puncture or blow out, the tyre moves around and could even fall off the wheel.
The Tyron safety bands prevents the tyre from coming off the wheel, thereby allowing you to come to a safe stop.
• Also see this online tyre pressure check tool for another important safety approach.