When is the best time to switch tyres on vans? Daniel Puddicombe hears contrasting views on a divisive issue within the light commercial industry
Research issued by Michelin earlier this year suggesting there is no advantage to changing van tyres earlier than the 1.6 millimetre legal limit has divided opinion in the tyre industry.
According to the French tyre giant, a tyre worn down to the legal minimum “can perform as well as a brand-new tyre”. It also claimed that worn tyres could stop a van more quickly in the dry than the same tyre when new.
“If tyres are changed early, before the 1.6mm legal limit, this reduces the useful life of the product, and it means fleets are making unnecessary purchases. Early tyre removal also has a huge environmental impact,” Jamie McWhir, customer engineering support manager – Car, Van & 4x4 at Michelin Tyre told What Van?
When it released the report earlier this year, Michelin claimed early tyre switches could cost European drivers an extra £6.9bn a year in additional tyre purchases and extra fuel consumption through increased friction on the road surface.
Michelin also claimed that changing tyres too early would result in an extra 128 million tyres a year being used, causing an additional nine million tonnes of CO2 emissions through increased friction on the road and extra tyres being manufactured.
The firm likened changing tyres early to throwing away shoes because they needed to be cleaned, or putting a half-full tube of toothpaste in the bin. In addition, Michelin said it could not see a correlation between a decreased tread depth, down to a minimum of 1.6mm, and increased accident rates.
ABOVE: Jamie McWhir: Changing early reduces tyre life