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Tyres; they’re more than just rubber

December 1, 2017

The construction of tyres is far more complex than you think. They are designed with many things in mind including their ability to handle different weather and temperature conditions, vehicle power and stability requirements, ride comfort, noise, rolling resistance and longevity.

Many vehicle manufacturers (including the VWG Group) work with tyre manufacturers to produce tyres that are specifically optimised for the vehicle make or model.

When it comes to choosing tyre replacements it’s not as easy as some may think. Manufacturers design each tyre to provide different performance benefits and that’s why there are literally hundreds of tyre variants.

The importance of selecting the correct tyre

The contact patch of a tyre with the road is about a large as a postcard, therefore, it’s vital that the part of the tyre that is connected to the road is in optimal condition and ready to handle everything that comes its way.

Ensuring the correct tyre and tread pattern for your fleet is vital as it is responsible for doing many things including:

  • Water Clearance; did you know that on some tyres the tread can clear as much as 15 litres of water per second*? Some tread patterns are better at clearing water than others.
  • Wet Handling; the ability for a tyre to stop on wet roads can be nearly double that of a tyre on a dry road. That could be up to 38m further when travelling at 50mph or 13 car lengths**. Different tyre patterns will react better than others and the wet braking capability of a car can be found on the tyre labelling.
  • Reducing Rolling Resistance between the tyre and the road; it might surprise you that the difference between the poorest performing tyres and the best performing tyres can mean usage of an additional 5 litres of fuel during the life of the tyre. That's assuming that the tyre is always correctly inflated.

*Source: michelin.co.uk. Based on a 195/65 R15 tyre
** Source: RAC.co.uk. Based on average family car

Tyre legal responsibility

The minimum legal tread depth for a car or van is 1.6mm across the central ¾ of the tyre (around the entire tyre). Anything below that will class as an MOT failure but could also be troublesome for drivers, with a fine of up to £2,500 fine and 3 points per illegal tyre found.

Tyres should be checked at least once a week or before any long journey to look for wear and defects. Many fleets require drivers to fill out a daily checks form.

Tyre labelling - why it's important

Did you know that Tyre Labelling was introduced in 2014 for all tyres sold throughout Europe? All brand new tyres that are sold are rated on their:

  • Wet grip capability
  • Noise Levels
  • Fuel Economy quality

Crucially, tyre labels do not measure the longevity of a tyre and this is important as many tyres from premium manufacturers are designed to last longer. Longer lasting tyres will not only reduce the downtime created by more regular tyre changes but they minimise the environmental impact from the manufacturer. There are also cost-saving arguments too relating to the whole life value of the tyres.