Image source: Nokian Tyres (04/06/2018)
We could be seeing a ground-breaking digital transformation of the tyre sector, following an announcement from Finnish company Nokian regarding the development of tyre checking speed bump technology for car parks.
Driven by a desire to raise awareness of tyre condition and improve road safety, Nokian have been developing the SnapSkan system, featuring a ‘smart ramp’ that can be installed in public car parks and uses 3D scanning to automatically measure the tread depth of all four tyres on a vehicle as it passes over.
Closer to home, an 18-month-long study held recently by the UK Highways Agency and tyre company Bridgestone, analysing tyre debris from five motorways, has revealed that almost three quarters of failed tyres featured defects which could have been spotted with more frequent tyre inspections.
Although there are no immediate plans for this technology to be introduced to the UK yet, pilot tests in Finland have been received positively; and if SnapSkan does make it over here, it could help to reduce these types of accidents and address issues associated with estimated 18 million cars thought to be driving on UK roads with illegal tyres.
A prototype version was piloted in a Helsinki multi-storey car park in 2016, with a fully operational version unveiled in 2017. Drivers simply had to drive over a 3D laser scanning strip placed at the entrance, and data about the tyre surface condition was stored in a database.
With data security in mind, data about the tyres is not associated with a registration number until the driver provides permission. Drivers who decide not to opt in to the SnapSkan system have their vehicle’s data automatically deleted, while those signing up will be sent a report on how much tread their tyres have left. The report will also include a discount code for use in local tyre suppliers!
The public reaction to the testing was positive with 80% saying that they would recommend it to others. Subsequently there has been a lot of international interest with over 400 articles in the press all over the world and an estimated media audience of 66 million during its first six weeks of operation.
Hille Korhonen, the President & CEO of Nokian Tyres, said: “Caring about people and safety is at the very core of our business. Launching SnapSkan is an embodiment of our philosophy. We safeguard life and provide peace of mind in all conditions.”
Four new SnapSkan service points are about to open in various car parks across Finland, and plans are in place to roll the service out internationally, starting with Oslo, Norway. Other European locations could follow…watch this space!
The minimum legal tread depth for cars in the UK and Europe is 1.6mm. If your tread depth falls below this, not only is it illegal, but it is also extremely dangerous.
We all know that to avoid accidents, and potentially a fine and penalty points, it is important to check your tyre tread depths on a regular basis. But, what else can you do to prolong the life of your tyres?
We’ve pulled together some useful hints and tips on how you can reduce the wear on your tyres and help to keep them at the legal tread depth for longer.
Your tyres need to be at the correct angle as specified by the manufacturer to ensure they wear evenly over time. Driving with incorrectly aligned tyres is dangerous and could put you and other road users at risk.
Hitting kerbs or driving too fast over bumps and potholes on the road can result in wheel misalignment.
Keep an eye out for signs of misalignment such as dragging or pulling to one side, steering wheel vibration or squealing noises at low speeds.
Where possible, try to stick to the same brand of tyres on all four wheels as not all tyres are made in the same way. Every tyre manufacturer uses different processes and materials and will therefore wear at different rates.
The way that you drive and the condition of the roads you drive on can have a significant impact on the life of your tyres. Driving calmly, smoothly and at the speed limit could prolong the life of your tyres.
Driving too fast, braking sharply and taking corners at speed is not only dangerous, but will also lead to more tyre wear. If you are driving too fast, you will also not see bumps or potholes in the roads until it is too late.
If your boot is crammed full of stuff, if might be worth seeing how much of it you really need.
Reducing unnecessary weight in your car can help to get the most out of your tyres. Remember, your tyres are already carrying the weight of the engine, the chassis, the driver and any passengers. By emptying out all the things you don’t need, you’ll help to reduce the strain on your tyres.
When your tyres are either under or overinflated, your tyres can’t make proper contact with the road and this can contribute to wear and tear on the tread.
Check your tyre pressures on a regular basis and ensure they are at the manufacturer recommended levels. You can find these in your vehicle handbook. It is good practice to check pressures at least once a month and before any long journeys.
Different wheels take on different impact levels when you drive, so it can pay to rotate your tyres between the front and the rear of your vehicle so that you get an even wear and tear.
Some manufacturers believe this should be done every year or 7,500 miles, but if you’re not sure speak to your garage and find out if this is something they would recommend for your vehicle.
We hope you’ve found this article useful and informative. We look forward to hearing more about the exciting speed bump technology making its way over to the UK, but in the meantime if you follow our hints and tips you’ll hopefully get more miles from your tyres and be safer on the roads.
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