Tyre checks have found that 39% of LCVs are operating on at least one tyre inflated to dangerous levels, bringing potential safety risks and driving up operating costs for fleets.
The research, carried out by wheel and safety technology firm Wheely Safe, on a sample of 100 LCVs across multiple fleets, found that 17% of tyres were red-flagged as under or over-inflated by at least 25% – which can cause a tyre to have less grip, reduced stability under braking and cornering, plus an increased risk of tyre failure.
A further 21% of tyres were flagged amber, meaning their pressures could negatively affect vehicle handling and fuel consumption, as well as speed up tread wear.
Worryingly, although 20 of the vans checked were brand new, more than half of the tyres were under-inflated and a quarter of them seriously so – but they’d just arrived on a customer’s fleet, fresh from the supplying dealer’s pre-delivery inspection process.
The inspections were carried out by Wheely-Safe as part of trials for its new Light Fleet retrofit tyre pressure management technology, which alerts the driver to tyre inflation issues and makes checking tyre pressures quick and easy.
The device has been developed to provide more effective alerts than standard TPMS devices – which have been mandatory equipment on new passenger vehicles since 2014.
According to Wheely-Safe, original fit TPMS solutions will only warn once drivers have lost 25% of tyre pressure and have already suffered an impact on fuel efficiency. Instead, the Wheely-Safe Light device – which comprises a set of TPMS sensors to replace the traditional valve caps and a small solar-powered windscreen display – will provide a flashing light alert when tyre pressure goes down by 15% then an audible alert at 25%.
As well as safety benefits, the solution can help save costs. Wheely-Safe has calculated the average potential saving per vehicle it inspected to be approximately £150 per year, covering the enhanced fuel consumption and longer tyre life. This would more than offset the cost of the standard boxed kit for £89.95.
Andy Congrave, sales director at Wheely-Safe, said: “Taking steps to keep on top of pressures can be a win-win situation, bringing significant advantages from a duty of care point of view under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER), as well as from an environmental and financial standpoint.”