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A Size Shift in the Tyre Industry

For a while now, the UK haulage industry has preferred the low 295/80 R 22.5 tyre. This preference has been so common for so long and gone unquestioned and moreover, when vehicles in the UK are fitted...

For a while now, the UK haulage industry has preferred the low 295/80 R 22.5 tyre. This preference has been so common for so long and gone unquestioned and moreover, when vehicles in the UK are fitted with these tyres, it can seem like more trouble than it’s worth to switch.

However, over the past few years, Michelin reports that UK drivers are beginning to make the switch to wider 315 tyres, the tyre favoured in Europe. According to Michelin, since 2010, the market for the 295/80 R 22.5 tyre, traditionally used in the UK haulage industry, has dropped by 3 points, while the 315/70 R 22.5 has gained 3.4 points.

This isn’t just a trend in average sales either. The growth in 315/70 sales has increased each year, while the drop in 295/80 sales has decreased in a similar fashion. The take-home message seems to be that the country’s haulage workers are starting to make the switch to broader tyres.

But Why?

Michelin’s Commercial Director, Guy Heywood, has cited increased fuel efficiency and tyre longevity as major factors driving the switch to 315’s. Indeed, these benefits are attractive: the broader tread allows for more efficient energy transfer and means that the tread takes longer to wear down. This means that individual owner-operators, as well as fleet managers, are able to see the benefits in maintenance and fuel costs as well as labour efficiency from making the switch.

There’s another major reason, however, and that’s a simple case of compatibility: 315/70 tyres, with their low sidewalls and broad treads, are the most used tyres all over Europe. With this in mind, new products hitting the market, as well as products with a limited manufacturing run, are usually built with the 315/70 R 22.5 tyre in mind.
This means that haulage workers using 315/70 tyres are able to use new products without having to wait for a suitable version. So if you consider the issue of compatibility, a switch to 315’s makes a lot of sense.

What Will Happen to 295/80 tyres?

It’ll be a long time before the 315/70 is dominant in the UK, and even then, the 295/80 is unlikely to vanish completely. Some fleets and owner operators will continue to use the old tyres, either out of personal preference or lack of funds to make the switch.

The decreased running costs and increased efficiency are one thing, but most of all, it looks like the convenience of compatibility with the majority of European products will clinch it for 315 tyres.

Whether you are going to make the switch or not, of course, is your choice. The benefits in fuel efficiency and tyre lifespan are compelling, but you may well have your own reasons for continuing to use 295/80’s. Either way, the old tyres look set to stick around for a while, even if 315’s are slowly becoming dominant.

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Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching haulage work with available drivers. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.

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