FTA photoAdhering to mandatory minimum tread depth requirements is only one factor in achieving optimum tyre performance.

That’s today’s message from Goodyear and the Freight Transport Association (FTA) following a series of joint events they carried out at motorway service areas at the end of last year.

The free tyre check events collected and analysed data on a number of aspects of UK truck tyres including the tread pattern, the tread depths and the pressures, and whilst the results show that the vast majority of commercial trucks on UK roads are operating on tyres that fall within the law, the extent to which they actually deliver optimum driving experience can sometimes leave a lot to be desired.

Indeed, only one out of over a 1000 tyres checked was deemed to be illegal due to its tread depth – a result that would have been unthinkable just five years ago as Andy Timms, Area Manager for the FTA’s Vehicle Inspection Service (VIS) explains: “Driver awareness of what is required for a tyre to be deemed legal has improved hugely over the last few years and this is demonstrated in the results we saw at our series of events.

“The FTA and Goodyear have both worked hard to help educate the industry and it is good to see this now having an impact.”

However, when the checks were analysed in more detail, it showed that whilst drivers and their fleet managers are doing a great job of recognising what makes a tyre meet minimum regulatory requirements, they’re not always translating this in to what delivers optimal performance.  For example, numerous vehicles checked displayed inconsistent pressures across axles – a situation that at just 5% difference can have a significant impact on handling, especially when carrying higher weights.