Midlands-based John Oates Horseboxes is introducing a new retrofit technology on both its new and used vehicles to address the issue of tyre under-inflation, which the company’s Head of Sales James Haddock describes as a “major problem in the market”.
The bespoke horsebox manufacturer has teamed up with official Michelin licensee Wheely-Safe to offer the Michelin Tyre Pressure Management System (TPMS) Light Fleet across all its horseboxes.
Michelin TPMS Light Fleet comprises robust sensors which replace the valve caps and auto-pair with a small solar-powered windscreen display. This in-cab unit provides visual and audible alerts in the event a tyre becomes under-inflated, over-inflated, suffers fast leakage or an increase in air temperature – often the sign of an imminent tyre failure.
“Tyre pressures are critical on any vehicle, but particularly when you are operating at close to maximum gross vehicle weight and carrying livestock,” explains Haddock.
“We know from the number of horseboxes we see in operation that tyres aren’t being checked frequently enough and we wanted to make it easier for our customers to guarantee they are driving on tyres maintained in the safest possible condition.”
Michelin TPMS Light Fleet also incorporates a handy tyre pressure checking device which allows the driver to check all tyre pressures in under a minute before a journey – and without needing to connect a pressure gauge, which is unhygienic and removes air from the tyre.
John Oates Horseboxes manufactures around 100 new vehicles per year and says demand for Michelin TPMS Light Fleet is proving strong, already installing five systems on customer vehicles in the few weeks since introducing it. The company has also fitted the technology to its own delivery van, flatbed vehicle and trailer.
“When we saw the Wheely-Safe technology for the first time, we were sold on it,” he adds. “None of the light commercial vehicle chassis we build on come with TPMS as standard, so we are introducing it to give our customers full confidence in their tyres.”
Advice for horsebox owners published by industry charity Tyresafe, in partnership with The British Horse Society, states that prolonged tyre under-inflation causes excessive flexing, deterioration of the casing and rapid wear of the tread shoulders, as well as increasing fuel consumption. It warns that over-inflation results in an uncomfortable ride, a reduced area of contact with the road, accelerated wear in the centre of the tread and makes a tyre more susceptible to impact damage. It also stresses that correct pressures are vital for maximum safety, braking, grip and extended tyre life.
John Oates Horseboxes was founded more than 30 years ago and designs and builds some of the finest horseboxes in the UK, specialising in the 3.5, 4.5 and 7.0-tonne markets. All products are manufactured to the highest standards, using quality materials and a wealth of experience to deliver products that provide ultimate safety, comfort and style.
Notes to editor:
Wheely-Safe Ltd is a technology start-up founded in 2010 by two lifelong friends – Gary Thomas, a Director of his own transport compliance consultancy, and Gary Broadfield, a Director of Technology and serial inventor for a large Japanese electronics manufacturer. Together they brought the marriage of skills required to help solve wheel loss issues in the automotive sector, and to tackle the huge number of vehicles driving every day on under-inflated tyres. The early years of Wheely-Safe concentrated on attaining worldwide patent protection and technology small enough to fit near the wheels of all vehicle types, from cars and vans to trucks and trailers – with its first products launched into the market during 2018. www.wheely-safe.com
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