03/06/2011: Checked your car tyres - what about your caravan?
What do car tyres have to do with caravans you might well ask, especially if you are one of the many motorists who do not see caravans as a blessing on our crowded roads? Well the reason I ask is that whilst many who tow caravans, boats and other trailers keep their car tyres in good condition and correctly inflated, do they pay the same attention to those on the vehicle they are towing? In fact many of the safety rules that apply to car tyres also apply to tyres on towed vehicles too.
Indeed just like car tyres there are a number of recommendations that provide a good starting point for any motorist who has the need to tow a caravan, boat or trailer. In fact the tyre industry, in association with caravan manufacturers has issued an on-going recommendation that the maximum vehicle load should not exceed 90% of the combined load capacity of both car tyres and trailer tyres as indicated by load index. This may sound a little confusing at first but help is at hand.
Helpful information about both car tyres and trailer tyres can found in the recently revised caravan tyre safety leaflet issued by TyreSafe in the interests of greater road safety for all road users. Ideal for those who are more familiar with car tyres, it gives comprehensive details including axle load and tyre inflation pressure tables based upon the latest technical considerations. In particular, this new and highly recommended publication highlights one of the key differences between car tyres and caravan tyres which is that the latter undergo very high levels of stress.
Of course correct inflation is important in car tyres but it is even more critical in caravan tyres and it is absolutely essential that these are inflated to the correct pressures. In addition it is extremely important that owners do not overload them. You may be familiar with the load and speed ratings for car tyres, and those for caravan tyres are intended to fulfil exactly the same purpose. The new leaflet from TyreSafe provides simplified load and inflation tables, making it easier for owners to see both the maximum recommended and maximum permissible axle loads for their particular set up.
Sadly, many motorists appear to ignore their car tyres at the cost of higher fuel consumption, greater tyre wear and significantly reduced road safety. And whilst this is very unwise with car tyres, ignoring your caravan tyres could actually be catastrophic. So the message is clear for caravanners; before you take to the motorway download a leaflet from www.tyresafe.org/caravantyres and visit your tyre dealer or workshop for a free safety check of both your car tyres and your trailer tyres.