Tyre Matters Debated at CLM’s Silverstone Customer Event
At CLM’s recent driver safety focused event, delegates got to hear all about recent tyre developments and how tyre tread is currently the subject of much debate in the fleet and wider motoring industry.
Michelin shared details about how electronics are being incorporated into tyres to allow tyre performance to be monitored by the vehicle they are fitted to, and from afar as well. And not just about pressure, but tread depth and damage too.
It might not be that long before fleet managers don’t need to inspect employee tyres in carparks any longer because sensors and software will ultimately do it for them. The technology is being trialled in certain high value industries, but the time will come when it will permeate into everyday vehicles.
Delegates were informed about elements of the tyre industry pushing for a review of the minimum legal tread depth for road tyres being altered from the current 1.6mm standard to 3mm. The reason that this is being advocated by some is that more tread means the tyre is better at dispersing water and having more contact/grip with the road surface.
As tyre tread depth reduces, the tread pattern will be affected. Sipes in particular are vulnerable to wear and may disappear altogether when tread depth is approaching the existing legal limits.
But the move to change minimum tread levels to 3mm is not without its challenges because replacing tyres more frequently has significant cost implications in financial and environmental (raw materials/transport/disposal) terms.
Delegates heard that at Michelin, the focus has instead been on ensuring that tyres remain safe to the 1.6mm tread limit. This has been achieved by ensuring that the full tread pattern is still visible and thereby effective at the lower limit.
This “quality” over “quantity” argument seemed to resonate amongst the CLM delegates but only time will tell which model the market moves towards.
Commented Andy Short, CLM’s commercial director, “Tyres are far more fascinating than you might think, that’s certainly my personal outlook. And, as the Michelin presentation was well received and scored highly in feedback terms, our delegates seem to agree.”