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Fleet owners: Do you realise how important tyres are to your running costs?


Pardon the pun, but if you’re a manager or business owner that operates a fleet of cars or light commercial vehicles, the chances are your cars and vans are responsible for driving your company’s revenues and profits forward. If this is the case, you’ll no doubt already know the true value of your fleet, and how important it is to properly maintain it.

Vehicle downtime will be a significant factor for you, since it directly influences your business’ productivity, and can be the difference between making a profit or biting into your margins. And while you no doubt have given a lot of thought to who provides your general maintenance and repair services, have you considered just how important the fleet tyres you choose to fit on your vehicles are (as well as when you replace the tyres) to your bottom line?

Surprisingly, given just how much tyres contribute to the working order of a fleet vehicle – and its subsequent productivity – not all fleet managers or business owners have.

Which is a missed opportunity, but one the Protyre team will highlight in our latest tyre advice article.

Tyres are a significant factor in fleet maintenance

Fleet News, the highly regarded fleet sector magazine and online resource, estimates that around one third of a fleet’s maintenance budget is spent on tyres. Considering how many other different aspects of a vehicle’s well-being there are to maintain – such as the engine, brakes, suspension and electronics – one third of the budget on tyres seems excessive. So what are the reasons behind this?

The type of tyres that fleet managers and business owners initially choose for their vehicles will make a huge impact on long term tyre expenditure. Unsurprisingly, many decide to go for the cheapest tyre option, in the belief that this will save some money. And while it’s true that initially they’ll spend less, in the long run, this usually proves to be a false economy. All told, in an exact like for like usage comparison, premium tyres will typically prove to be better value than cheaper tyres. More importantly, they’ll also keep drivers and vehicles safer too.

Why? Well for a start, the advanced rubber compounds that premium tyres are made of – like those that are used for Continental car and van tyres – are far superior to those found in cheaper tyres. Tried and trusted brands like Continental invest millions every year in research and development (R&D) to ensure that their tyres meet the ever evolving needs of the world’s leading automotive manufacturers. As a result, this investment in R&D provides fleet managers and business owners with tyres that are not only safer, but ultimately provide better value too.

How so? Because independent tyre studies show that in an exact like for like usage comparison, premium tyres last longer than cheaper alternatives. They can also provide less rolling resistance, which in turn reduces fuel consumption. These two points alone should be enough to make fleet managers and business owners alike rethink using cheap tyres, but there’s more.

Given the superior strength and build of premium tyre compounds, in an exact like for like usage comparison they’ll logically require changing less, and that means reduced downtime. This, in turn, means higher productivity, and ultimately greater profitability. And in a climate of tight margins and cut-throat competition, any reductions you can make to operating costs – including the tyres you choose to fit to your car and/or van fleet – needs to be taken advantage of, right?

Premium tyres are not only more cost effective, they’re safer too

Independent tyre tests regularly demonstrate that premium tyres are safer than their cheaper counterparts. It’s why tyre manufacturers like Continental consistently come out on top when their tyres are scrutinised by leading car experts, such as evo and Auto Express.

Over the past decade, Continental has won over 80% of tyre tests, and 2017 saw more success with a double win in the Auto Express Tyre Awards. The ContiPremiumContact™ 5 took top spot in the summer tyre test category, while their WinterContact™ TS 860 claimed first place in the winter tyre test. The fact is, premium car tyres like these provide the best performance, especially in wet weather conditions where they significantly reduce stopping distances.

The same is true for van tyres, where Continental offer a superb range of dedicated solutions for light commercial vehicle usage, including their highly regarded ContiVanContact™ 200, fuel saving Vanco™ Eco, and ever popular ContiVanContact™ 100.

Changing tyres at 3 mm of tread

From our experience, fleet vehicle tyres are typically changed only once the tyre tread gets down to 2 mm. And while this figure is still within UK road legal limits of 1.6 mm, it is – in our opinion – better to change tyres when the tread is down to just 3 mm.

Why? Because independent research and testing conclusively shows that once tyres have only 3 mm left, the tread deteriorates very fast. In our experience, leaving tyres on until just 2 mm of tread is an unnecessary safety risk. Our view is shared by respected tyre industry bodies and experts, including TyreSafe, the highly regarded UK tyre charity.

There’s also a financial incentive to change tyres at 3 mm of tread. With deterioration rapidly increased, there’s a chance of inadvertently allowing tyre treads to go below 1.6 mm, resulting in them becoming illegal. And, if your driver and vehicle have the misfortune of being stopped by the police, your business will incur a substantial fine – currently £2,500 – and three points on the driver’s licence, for each illegal tyre.

When compared to the cost of simply fitting good premium tyres, it’s simply not worth the risk to your business’ bank balance, your driver’s safety, and their ability to do their job, is it?

Looking for fleet tyre solutions? Ask the experts – talk to Protyre

Of course different businesses will have different needs for their vehicle fleets. The Protyre team of tyre professionals have great experience of finding the right solution for all fleet requirements. Contact us today to discuss car fleet or van fleet tyre solutions to suit your needs.

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About the author

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By Adam White
Adam looks to create engaging and informative content across the website that provides consumers with expert advice on MOTs, servicing, vehicle maintenance and tyre care. As a motorsport enthusiast, Adam enjoys documenting the Protyre Motorsport team’s involvement in major motorsport events across the UK.
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