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Van Tyres from National

National offer a huge selection of van tyres online, from premium brand manufacturers such as Bridgestone Van Tyres, Continental Van Tyres, Pirelli Van Tyres, Michelin Van Tyres, Dunlop Van Tyres and Goodyear tyres, mid- range alternatives and budget brands offering value and quality.

Choose the right van tyres

Van tyres have a tough life, often dealing with heavy loads, lots of stop and start journeys in differing road conditions from busy city centres to off the beaten track locations. This means you need to make sure you choose the right type of van tyres for your motoring needs. By choosing the right van tyres, you can reduce fuel consumption, saving you money, reduce CO2 emissions being released into the environment and also improve safety and handling.

Van tyres and maintenance

It's pivotal that van tyres be looked after to ensure they give maximum performance and tyre life. If you don't look after your tyres, not only are you increasing your costs, you could also be compromising safety. This is even more important today with the current economic pressures resulting in many fleets choose to hang onto their vehicles longer. Here are a few helpful reminders for van tyre maintenance.

Tyre tread

UK law states that tyres must have a tread depth of at least 1.6mm across the centre three quarters of the tyre and across its entire circumference. Failure to comply with these rules could result in a fine of as much as £2500 per tyre and 3 penalty points on your licence.

However it's not just the legal implications; having worn tyres can compromise your safety as your van tyres will perform less well with longer braking distances and less responsive handling which means they might not stop as quickly in an emergency situation.

National is a keen supporter of the 3mm campaign, a tyre safety initiative which promotes changing tyres when they reach 3mm, the optimum tread depth for wet braking performance. After this, tyre performance, particularly in the wet, declines considerably.

Tyre pressure

Having the correct tyre pressure helps lower the cost of driving, reduces carbon dioxide emissions and also enhances driving safety.

Wrongly inflated van tyres results in greater and uneven tyre wear so tyres must be replaced sooner costing you money. Furthermore, if your van tyres are underinflated more energy and therefore fuel is required to drive them, whereas having correctly inflated van tyres improves fuel efficiency and therefore saves you money. Similarly, more energy and fuel usage also results in greater CO2 emissions being released into the atmosphere. Finally having correctly inflated tyres also improves safety as there is less chance of a blow out or accident at high speed. Check the manufacturer's handbook for the correct tyre pressure for your vehicle.

Be aware of the load

Pressure for van tyres is very important as the correct pressure changes according to whether the vehicle is carrying heavy loads. So the correct tyre pressure when you transport feathers is different from the pressure required if you are carrying bags of cement! Overloading your vehicle and not adjusting the pressure will result in quicker tyre wear so make sure you check the correct pressure for your van tyres according to the loads you will carry.

Cold van tyres!

Top tip – for absolutely accuracy always check tyre pressure when the van tyres are cold (i.e. let them cool for a couple of hours) or have only driven a short distance of up to two miles at slower speeds.

General condition

It's important to check the general condition of your van tyres regularly to ensure there are no pieces of road debris stuck within the tread such as stones or nails which could cause a puncture or worse, an accident, when driving. You should also inspect the tread condition to ensure there are no cracks or bulges in the sidewall which could be dangerous. Remember, van tyres often go where other vehicles do not - over uneven surfaces and debris – so they are more likely to pick up objects which become embedded in the tread.

It's important to carry out the above checks every 2 - 4 weeks and always before making a long journey.

Wheel alignment

Van tyres take a lot of punishment, often having to make quick manoeuvres, park in busy locations and drive over differing road surfaces. This can result in hitting kerbs or pot holes which can affect the alignment, as well as causing tyre damage. If your van tyres are incorrectly aligned it can increase tyre wear, affect safety and handling, not to mention increasing fuel consumption, noise and resulting in a less smooth ride. If you find your vehicle veers to the side or there is uneven wear on your tyres this could mean you need a wheel alignment– ask in branch now.

Tyre Labelling

Fleet managers face a number of challenges when making purchasing decisions. Under increasing pressure with the rising costs of fuel, pressure to reduce environmental impact of fleet vehicles not to mention duty of care legislation which means employers must ensure both drivers and the generic public are safe and not put at risk.

The new EU tyre labelling rules coming into force in November 2012 will help give fleet managers and drivers more information about three specific areas: fuel efficiency, wet grip and noise. All tyres, including van tyres, will display a special label rating each of these areas. The labels look similar to the energy efficiency labels which appear on home appliances such as fridge freezers or washing machines.

Fuel efficiency – Tyres will be rated from A-G for fuel efficiency, with A-rated tyres being the most fuel efficient and G-rated tyres the least efficient.

Wet Grip - Tyres are also rated A-G for wet grip, with A-rated tyres having the shortest braking distances in the wet and G-rated tyres having the longest wet braking distances.

Noise – Noise is also rated with a one, two or three bar rating, one bar being the quietest and three bars being the loudest. The noise level is also shown and it is measured in decibels (dB).

The new ratings will help give you more information when selecting the right van tyres for your vehicle, allowing you to compare brands and patterns like-for-like. See more information about the new EU tyre labels here.

Safety checks for van tyres

Tyre safety checks from National can help ensure your van tyres are safe and legal. The check only takes a couple of minutes and we check tyre tread, pressure and general tyre condition. We also carry out visual checks on your brakes, battery, exhausts, oil and shock absorbers. The whole check takes ten minutes and ensures your van or fleet are safe for the roads.

Extra effects

Effect on tyre life

Tyre life can be reduced by as much as 75% if your tyres are running at just 80% of the recommended pressure. If pressure falls to 60% (which we find is not uncommon), tyre life can be reduced by as much as 35%. Early signs of potential under-inflation are a rapid wearing on the outside edges of your tyres. If left unattended, this can quickly cause your tyres to become illegal.

Effect on vehicle safety

When tyres are under-inflated, there is not enough air in the tyre to support the vehicle's weight. This leads to the tyre's sidewalls being compressed by the weight of the vehicle causing them to flex beyond their normal limits. This abnormal flexing leads to heat building up in the tyre and dramatically increases the chances of a high speed blow out.

Effect on fuel efficiency

Under-inflation increases the amount of the tyre’s tread that is in contact with the road surface. Increased friction means that the tyre’s ability to roll along the surface of the road is reduced (you might hear us refer to this as an increase in 'rolling resistance'). This means your vehicle needs to use more power to roll an under-inflated tyre along the ground, leading to an inevitable increase in fuel consumption.

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