Most motorhome owners are extremely good at maintaining most of their motorhome, but when it comes to tyres things get a little bit lax. We get a lot of motorhome insurance claims where tyres have blown-out or worn through at speed and, often, this is because the tyre was improperly maintained in the first place. After the winter we’ve had, the UK’s roads are looking worse than they have done for a long time, and this is going to be a serious problem for motorhome tyres when the spring holidaymakers start to arrive.
Potholes are going to be one of the main problems for motorhome owners. The extra weight of motorhomes means that if they hit a pothole the impact is particularly hard on both suspension and tyres. If tyres are under-inflated this impact usually hits the suspension first, but properly inflated tyres should be able to take the impact.
Equally, loose chippings and debris from the decaying road surfaces are going to accelerate tyre wear. This is going to lead to reduced grip, particularly in the wet, and some motorhome owners may even find their tyres disintegrating below the legal 1mm tread limit. It is not only an offence to drive with tyres in poor condition, it’s incredibly dangerous and could easily lead to a collision.
Good tyre maintenance is an essential part of winter driving and motorhome owners are advised to take steps to ensure that their tyres are properly inflated to just below the maximum limit displayed on the tyre and that their tread is adequate for the conditions.
While we’re starting to see repairs being undertaken it looks like it’s going to be some time before the UK’s roads are back in good condition. For now the advice for motorhome owners has to be to stick to the main roads wherever possible and to avoid any narrow country lanes.
Motorhome owners are being encouraged to embrace the new tyre labelling system if they want to improve the amount of miles they get from each tank of petrol and possibly reduce their motorhome insurance premiums by avoiding collisions.
Just 5 days into the new tyre labelling system tyre manufacturers are urging motorhome drivers to use the information given out on the label of each set of new tyres to identify the ones that suit them best, improve their vehicles safety, and reduce their motoring costs.
With tyres now labelled from A-G with A tyres being the best and G tyres the least efficient, tyre manufacturers believe motorists should recognise that spending more money on a set of new tyres will, in the long run, benefit them in many ways.
Tests on the track at the Millbrook Proving Ground showed the braking difference on a wet road surface at 50 mph between a Volvo with a new set of A tyres and a Volvo with a new set of G rated tyres. Amazingly the Volvo fitted with the A rated tyres stopped a full 16 metres earlier than the other vehicle, approximately the length of an articulated truck with trailer.
Christopher Kalla, head of research and development for rubber products at Lanxess, was not at all surprised in the difference in stopping distances and said that in some circumstances A rated tyres can stop in half the distance of the bottom rated G tyres. He explained: “The consumer needs to be aware of this. It’s amazing how much money people are prepared to pay for airbags, yet they don’t want to spend money on tyres that can shave off up to 18 metres on their braking distance. Importantly some 20-30% of the fuel consumption of a car can be attributed to the tyres that make up the interface between the car and the road, hence, reducing a tyre’s rolling resistance is a relatively simple way of reducing fuel consumption.”
If Mr Kalla’s assumptions are true this means motorhome drivers could avoid filling their tanks every fifth time of asking if they go for A instead of G, which would more than cover the extra amount of cash paid up front for the set of tyres.
Research has found nearly one in ten United Kingdom based motorhome owners are putting themselves and their passengers at risk by delaying essential maintenance. The study also found 7% of those surveyed were neglecting to have crucial repair work carried out on their mobile homes due to money worries.
Motorhome insurance policy holders have faced increasing financial pressures in the last few years due to the continued economic instability along with increasing petrol prices that have quite quickly risen towards record levels. The current price of fuel is one of the top worries for motorhome owners as they cannot continue to explore the UK without first filling up.
However, what will worry them even more is that the research also found that an average driver will waste 10 gallons of fuel each year sitting in traffic. It is probably fair to assume this figure will be much higher for mobile home owners who are on the roads much more.
Paul McClenaghan, commercial director of the research team, has warned of the dangers of ignoring maintenance, saying “By choosing to ignore obvious faults or manufacturers’ advice, drivers are only delaying the inevitable and likely to increase the eventual cost when something fails – as well as potentially putting both themselves and other road users at risk.”
The research also found 14% do not replace their tyres until they are in or approaching dangerous levels of tread and just over a quarter (26%) do not replace the brake pads as quickly as they should. A further 31% ignoring strange engine noises and flashing warning lights, while 41% of those questioned, admitted to lacking either the time or knowledge to carry out routine maintenance work on their motorhomes.
Motorhome insurance providers along with experts from most motoring organisations warn against cost cutting measures that result in a vehicle remaining on the road when it clearly has faults. It is a policy that raises serious safety issues and owners are being urged not to ignore such faults as it will more than likely come back to haunt them later.
As thousands of UK motorhome owners look to save on their driving expenses by searching for cheaper fuel or motorhome insurance, a survey commissioned by one the country’s leading tyre chemical suppliers suggests drivers are ignorant of other cost cutting methods.
Lanxness commissioned Onepoll to ask 3,000 motorists their views on tyre related matters and found most drivers have very little interest or knowledge in one of the most important aspects of any vehicle. The survey found that seven out of ten drivers are still completely unaware of impending legislation surrounding tyre labelling and that only one in a hundred motorists sufficiently understood the impact tyres can have on fuel economy.
The new tyre labelling system has been designed to give ordinary motorists an easy to evaluate description of tyres they wish to purchase. Industry experts have spent long hours designing the system to help motorists make the correct choice but Kim O’Connor, Managing Director of Lanxness, is not sure the public are ready for it, saying “The impact of the new labeling system will depend heavily on the number of motorists that know these labels exist and understand how to use them. The results of our survey demonstrate that the motoring community is not yet ready and needs an easy and accessible way to understand the impact different tyres can have on their wallets and carbon footprint.”
No-one can accuse Lanxness of not trying to get their message across and they have even designed a free app for smart phones and tablets that will give motorists an insight into how much money they can save by selecting a certain type of tyre. For motorhome enthusiasts who rack up long miles on their journeys the app could really be an eye-opener. The driver feeds in information such as the grade of tyre according to the new labeling system, the price of fuel, estimated annual mileage and the driver’s style of driving. The app will then feed back the exact savings per year different types of tyres can deliver and illustrates the savings in pounds (financial savings), litres (fuel savings) and Kg (carbon savings) on a single screen.
Lanxness believe savings of almost £200 a year and emission savings of 350kgs are easily attainable for motorists who take the time to think about their tyres.