– The increased traffic of delivery trucks during the pre-Christmas parcel rush is a great responsibility of courier companies and their drivers not only for deliveries, but also for the safety of all of us. A delivery truck loaded with presents requires a lot of control and good controllability, and these mainly depend on the condition and quality of the tyres. We recommend that in this increased period – in addition, in a changing climate and with possible snowfall – owners and drivers of delivery vehicles pay special attention to the condition of tyres. It is worth investing at least in mid-range tyres – they will allow you to cover more kilometres in good condition. Checking the tire pressure and condition should be a weekly habit with such heavy use and temperature fluctuations. It is worth thinking not only about the safe delivery of gifts, but also for all of us to unpack them during Christmas – underlines Piotr Sarnecki, General Director of the Polish Tyre Industry Association (PTIA).
How to prepare a delivery truck for work in winter?
1. Check the conditio of the tyres
In Poland, the minimum tread depth is 1.6 mm. However, most tire manufacturers – especially winter tyres – recognize its safe limit at 4 mm. Below this value, it loses its original properties, which may lead to loss of grip and an accident. Therefore, when refuelling or washing, it is worth taking a look at the tread depth. It is similar with cracks or bulges.
Even the minimal ones are a signal that the tyre has internal or external damage. In many cases, they are the result of hitting an obstacle with force (e.g. a hole in the road or a manhole), and their consequence may be a crack while driving. The spare wheel must not be forgotten either. It is a full-fledged tyre, the condition of which must also be taken care of. If such damage is detected, it is worth using a good tire service. Services with a Tyre Certificate of PTIA you will find here: certyfikatoponiarski.pl.
– Traveling by car must always be safe, regardless of whether we are going far or close. The guarantee of this state is the selection of the right tyres and the care of those already owned. Wrong selection of new tyres, potential damage or worn tread is a risk of an accident. It is worth remembering, because the wheels are the only link between the car and the asphalt! It is not worth saving on them. You also cannot delay their periodic replacement. Apparent savings or an untimely visit to a vulcanizer may bring more problems than the assumed benefits – adheres Piotr Sarnecki.
2. Check if the tyres are approved for winter
According to sales data, after three quarters of 2020, sales of tires for commercial vehicles decreased by -21 percent. This is the biggest decrease comparing to other transport sectors. This situation does not bode well for the coming winter. It is worth noting that in the case of winter tyres, you should not wait until the first snowfall with their replacement. Tyres should be changed to winter ones when the temperatures drop below 7ºC in the morning. Why exactly at this temperature? The explanation is simple. When braking on a dry road, at a temperature of 10ºC, a summer tyre has an advantage of 20-30 cm over winter tyres. However, in the evening the temperature can drop and summer tyres become dangerous. Research and tests clearly show that a car equipped with winter tyres, driving on a wet surface, at positive temperatures of 2ºC and 6ºC, will stop earlier than with summer tyres by 11 and 7 meters, respectively. In addition, variable weather conditions, i.e. rising and falling temperatures, rainfall or snowfall, are not a problem for winter tyres with winter approval (with the so-called Alpine symbol – a snowflake against a mountain). It is worth thinking about it and replacing the tyres in advance.
– Changing tyres is a topic that raises many doubts every season. Many drivers wait until the first snowfall. It's just that there is no logic in this, but there are generally applicable laws of physics. Operation of winter tyres, even at temporary temperatures of 10-15ºC, is still safe. Modern tyres are designed to ensure safety not only in frost or on wet surfaces. Over the years, significant progress has been made in tire design and tyre blends. Thanks to this, those available from good manufacturers provide similar parameters to their summer counterparts, even on dry surfaces – explains Piotr Sarnecki.
3. All-seasons tyres
In the case of delivery vehicles, they are more and more often equipped with all-season tyres when purchasing them. This is a good solution for drivers who do not have to travel in mountainous areas on a daily basis – where there is snow or in areas with hot weather in the summer. However, it should be remembered that an all-season tyre – although it has the features of summer and winter tyres – is not able to match them in difficult weather conditions. It is also worth taking into account that all-season tyres wear out faster – especially in summer, because their tread compound is softer than typical summer tyres. So there are no perfect tyres. Ideally, they can only be matched to our preferences.
4. Check the pressure
Appropriate, i.e. not too weak and not too strong inflation of tyres is a determinant of vehicle adhesion. Car manufacturers strictly define what these parameters should be. They can usually be found, for example, on the car's side pillar (the so-called "B" pillar) or on the fuel filler flap and certainly in the vehicle's manual. So before we start pumping, we should check what pressure is appropriate. Also, remember that we check tyre pressure when the car is cold, before we go on tour.
5. Packing matters
Proper distribution of parcels in a delivery vehicle is not only important from the point of view of comfort, but also safety. Poorly secured packages can be fatal. Their improper placement and unsecured protection may cause the car's centre of gravity to shift, e.g. while driving in a curve. This, in turn, will affect the behaviour of the vehicle, and in extreme situations may even throw it off balance. In addition, the driver should also take care of placing drinks in storage compartments or in dedicated holders in the passenger compartment. Placing them "anywhere" may result in them rolling under the pedals and blocking them.
6. It’s not all
Before leaving at this time of the year, it is also worth replacing the windshield washer fluid with winter one, which will not freeze in a situation when the outside temperature drops significantly below zero. It also does not hurt to check the condition of the wipers, because their condition determines the driver's visibility – when the glass surface is poorly cleaned, streaks or smears appear. This is a signal that the wiper blades must be replaced.
In addition, the condition of other operating fluids, including engine oil, coolant and brake fluid, as well as external lighting elements of the vehicle, must not be forgotten. Such an inspection in the workshop takes a few moments and can save you serious expenses and trouble. You should also have a set of spare bulbs in the trunk (if the car does not have LED lights).
For vans, which are used largely for courier work over short and medium distances, it is also necessary to check the condition of the battery. In many cases, the engines of these cars are started for a short time, which negatively affects the level of their charging with the alternator. Therefore, it is worth recharging it in advance, and when it is already a few years old, replace it with a new one.
Source: Polish Tyre Industry Association