Keeping your van tyres in good order

As the only component on your van that actually touches the road, tyres are probably the most important part of the vehicle. So why are they so often ignored?


While thousands of van drivers and business owners will regularly fill up their vehicle with fuel and oil and give it a quick wash, many neglect their tyres and fail to look after them properly.

Tyre mistreatment is not only dangerous but it can also end up costing you and your business big money too. Look after your tyres and they will look after you – regular maintenance will make them last longer, which will also save some cash.

Even something as simple as having the wrong pressure in your tyres can have a serious impact on your vehicle’s handling, steering and braking. Under or over-inflated rubber can affect a van’s fuel consumption and worse still, increase the chances of a blow-out, which could lead to a loss of control altogether.

Get them checked

Checking your tyres is not complicated. The legal minimum tread depth in the UK is 1.6mm. Leave your tyres to go below this and not only are you risking your safety, but you could be setting yourself up for a severe penalty: there’s a £2,500 fine and three penalty points for each illegal tyre. Potential offences include: low tread depth, poor inflation, mixing of tyre types, cuts, bulges or exposed cord.

Tyre pressure gauges are cheaply available at service stations but you can even use a 20 pence piece – insert it into the groove of the tyre and, if the outer band of the coin is obscured, then the tyre is legal. If you can see the groove, it’s time for fresh rubber.

It’s quite normal for the driven wheels to wear more quickly than the non-driven wheels. For most modern vans, this means that your front tyres will wear down quicker than the rear ones. But carrying heavy items around regularly in your van can also contribute to faster tyre wear so it’s important to keep an eye on all four corners of your vehicle.

Under pressure

Correct tyre pressure is very important for safety, as well as providing your van with the best combination of performance and fuel economy. You might need to increase slightly your tyre pressures if you are going on a long journey with a fully-laden van.

Checking tyre pressures is simple. The correct pressure for the vehicle can be found either in the car’s handbook, the driver’s door opening or underneath the fuel filler cap. Find it, and ensure that all four tyres match this pressure using a home compressor or an air supply found at most petrol stations.

Lumps and bumps

Being completely black and sitting underneath dark wheel arches, it can often be tricky to spot any issues on the walls of the tyre. They’re easy to check, however. Run your hands over the sidewalls of the tyre, inside and out, and feel for any strange lumps or bumps. Do a visual check too, and keep an eye out for any cuts or bulges.

If you make regular deliveries or have to park in tight spots, it’s tempting to go for a quick bump up the pavement to make things easier. But doing this can weaken the tyre’s sidewall or, if you pinch the rubber against the rim of the wheel, you could puncture it.

Best avoid kerb mounting where possible but if you have to, approach very slowly and make sure the main tread of the tyre takes the weight, not the sidewall.


Braking hard or wheel spinning away from the lights will scuff and wear rubber faster than a slower, more controlled approach so drive as smoothly as possible, avoid potholes and uneven road surfaces and go slowly over speed humps. Doing so will protect your tyres and reduce the chance of wheel misalignment.

Keeping your van’s wheels aligned is another simple way to increase your safety and reduce unnecessary wear and cost. Even slight misalignment can wear rubber more quickly and make your van harder to control in an emergency.

Tom Johnston
Tom Johnstonhttp://johnstonmedia.com/
Tom Johnston was the first-ever reporter on national motoring magazine Auto Express. He went on to become that magazine’s News Editor and Assistant Editor, and has also been Motoring Correspondent for the Daily Star and contributor to the Daily and Sunday Express. Today, as a freelance writer, content creator and copy editor, Tom works with exciting and interesting websites and magazines on varied projects.

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