A tyre debris study undertaken by Highways England and Bridgestone has revealed the majority of tyres failed because of poor road conditions.
For the last 18 months, Bridgestone and Highways England – the company responsible for operating, maintaining and improving the country’s motorways and A-roads – have been working together to understand why so many tyres used by commercial vehicles and other commuters fail when using England’s roads.
The research showed there are a number of reasons why tyres eventually wear and tear, with the road conditions being chief amongst them.
This is not a new phenomenon; in 2018 alone, research has been uncovered that shows just how much of an issue potholes have been, and these have an effect on vehicles.
But the research from Bridgestone and Highways England – which has been unveiled at the Commercial Vehicle Show at the NEC in Birmingham – shows that better care and attention of vehicle and fleet owners on their tyres, could solve many of the issues.
For 18 months, Highways England staff have provided in excess of 1,000 pieces of tyre debris from motorways that have subsequently been analysed by Bridgestone’s engineering team.
The 1,035 tyre segments were taken from some of the busiest motorways in England, including the M6, M42, M1 and M5.
Of the segments, which were taken from commercial vehicles, vans, cars and motorbikes, 56% of tyres failed because of road/yard debris penetration; 18% meanwhile, failed because of poor inflation, which suggests better maintenance from fleet owners would be extremely beneficial.
Elsewhere, 8% failed as a result of poor vehicle maintenance, 1% because of manufacturing defects, and 1% due to excessive heat.
The upkeep of tyres is also crucial for the economy, as the research also highlighted that the delays these issues cause on a busy stretch of motorway can be costly.
A three-lane closure due to recovery costs almost £1.5 million, while a two-lane closure stands at more than £135,000.
Gary Powell, Bridgestone technical manager, advised fleet owners, operators, and other vehicle owners to look after their tyres.
He said: “With proper vehicle inspection and maintenance programs, many of the failure methods noted should be detectable and preventable.
“In light of these results, we would also advise that tyre pressure monitoring systems are fitted to vehicles which don’t benefit from this technology already. It will assist with the detection of penetrations and deflations.”