Among the first rules of van maintenance is that you should look after your tyres. This means keeping them at the right pressure, and replacing them when the tread depth gets a little too low. In the case of bikes and cars, this matters a great deal; but if you’re driving around a heavy load every day, you’ll need to take this even more seriously if you want to save money (and get to your destination in one piece).
Let’s run through a few investments you might make in order to keep your tyres in good nick. A few simple purchases can pay off in the long run!
Invest in a good pressure gauge
If you don’t have a handy pressure gauge available, then the chances are that you’re only going to monitor your tyre pressure every time you go to inflate. This will prevent you from staying on top of the problem.
You’ll have two options when it comes to checking your pressure: digital and mechanical. The former tends to be more precise, but needs a power supply to work properly. We’d suggest going for something with a simple needle: you don’t need precision; you just need the pressure to be consistent over time. And replacing batteries is a pain.
If you’re driving something ultra-modern, you might find that you’re able to monitor your tyre pressures from the dashboard. This is not only convenient, but it’ll save you that little bit of extra expense. You might also be able to log this information using a smartphone app – and the trends in your tyre pressure might help you to spot those niggling alignment issues.
Get some caps
Dust caps don’t actually stop air escaping your tyre, but they do protect your valves from (you’ve guessed it) dust. They also stop little pebbles from knocking against the valve, which is always welcome. We’d suggest keeping a packet of spares in the back of the van, ideally inside your spare tyre.
Invest in a portable pump
There are two good reasons that investing in a high-quality pump makes sense. Firstly, it’ll save you from forking over 50p whenever you visit the fixed pump at your local garage. Secondly, it’ll allow you to keep your pressure topped up even when you’re out in the middle of nowhere. This makes life a lot easier when you have to swap a tyre over.
Again, pumps come in two flavours: there are ones which need to be manually pumped with a foot, and there are those which run on your car’s cigarette lighter. The latter is usually better.
Why should I inflate my tyres?
Before we sign off, let’s run through a few of the reasons that under-inflated tyres are bad news. Firstly, you’ll suffer inferior fuel efficiency and acceleration, thanks to a lack of contact between the tyre and the road. Secondly, you’ll be more likely to suffer a puncture. Finally, your tyres will wear unevenly at the outer edges. For these reasons, and a few others, it’s worth paying special attention to your tyre pressures!