Martin Towers, Sales Director for Micheldever Fleet, discusses winter driving and why tyre choices faced by fleet operators go beyond whether to just fit winter or all-season products.
With the changing of the seasons comes the dilemma of changing tyres and fleet operators weighing up the question of whether to fit winter tyres to their vehicles.
In countries where severe winter weather conditions are more or less guaranteed, it’s a straightforward choice with drivers and fleet operators easily making the switch to winter tyres for the duration of the cold season. However, in the UK, where we increasingly experience milder winters, the case for winter tyres is not such a compelling one.
Given the paucity of harsh winter conditions in the UK, for the vast majority of fleets fitting all season tyres will be the best option. In the North of Scotland and some parts of Wales some fleet operators may require a winter tyre solution for the winter months, but on the whole, all-season tyres will suffice.
The evidence we have from the market points to that being the case, with the majority of fleets running all season tyres on their vehicles throughout the year. While all-season tyres do not of course offer the ultimate performance of winter tyres in the colder months or that of standard tyres in the summer months, they are, given the UK’s climate, a good compromise option. Fitting them also comes with the added bonus of not having to swap tyres over, twice a year.
It makes the fitting of winter tyres versus all-season tyres in the UK, a relatively uncontentious issue. However, what fleet operators in the utility sector should be considering is whether they have the correct tyres fitted to their fleets.
For those fleets operating in often diverse and difficult terrains, the correct tyre choice is crucial in ensuring they get the job done and to the best of their capabilities. The price paid for getting it wrong could come in financial penalties for time lost on the job and health and safety issues.
The potential cost in lost service credits for failing to deliver the job on time can provide a significant financial hit. The cost of failing to equip a fleet vehicle with the correct tyres can, in health and safety terms, result in an all-together more damaging hit of a different kind.
The utility fleet managers MTS work with have demanding requirements for their fleets to meet. Getting the job done regardless of the terrain is paramount and having the right vehicles with right fittings and tyres can make all the difference.
A good example of the importance in fitting the right tyres comes when considering tyre choices for 4×4 and SUV type vehicles, very popular vehicles with utility fleet operators.
There is no easy ‘off the shelf’ solution for 4x4s as the demands on these vehicles often change, dependent on the individual fleet.
A key issue for 4x4s that we often see, is that the original equipment tyre is not always suitable for the conditions of service the fleet wants to use the vehicle for. The fleet may for instance want to use the vehicle all year round in all kinds of conditions and are therefore looking for the most cost-effective solution to meet this requirement.
At Micheldever Fleet we have specialists who can listen to your fleet requirements. We can tailor the correct tyre fitment so that your fleet can operate in all types of weather conditions, all year round and deliver performance in all kinds of terrain, including delivering exceptional mileage.
Through our supplier agreements, we have access to well-established brands such as General Tire, Falken tyres and BF Goodrich, who all are able to list all terrain options which carry the 3pmsf (3 peak mountain snowflake symbol) to show they have winter condition properties.
As well as identifying the right tyre to suit the right vehicle, MTS can also find a solution for disposing of the original equipment tyres. MTS partners with their customers to ensure tyres taken off vehicles are successfully redeployed, both removing the hassle for the customer and allowing the tyres to be put to an alternative use that is beneficial to all involved.
At MTS we are able to utilise a wealth of industry knowledge and product expertise to deliver against the performance and commercial needs of the most demanding vehicle fleets. It’s about providing extraordinary tyre solutions for often extraordinary fleets, as illustrated with the work we did recently with, The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA).
The advice and support provided to the MCA was part of a wider issue relating to the tyre patterns specific to tyre trucks, more of which you can read in the follow-on feature.
As I outlined earlier, all these issues demonstrate a greater complexity in tyre choice that simply goes beyond whether to fit winter tyres or an all-season option.
Ultimately, what every fleet manager and operator should ask themselves, is do I have the right type of fitments and tyres on the vehicles in my fleet to tackle the job at hand? Whether it’s an issue of pattern, reliability or vehicle type, getting it right is crucial and will help ensure you deliver the most benefit for your fleet.
A large proportion of the UK’s fleets will have vehicles included that will have unique and potentially changing requirements. However large the whole fleet is, it will be these vehicles that will provide the greatest challenges to any fleet manager.
For honest, unbiased advice on a range of tyre solutions for fleets in the utility sector, please contact Martin Towers.
E: firstname.lastname@example.org or M: 07787 576686.
For more information visit: www.micheldever.co.uk