Chris Jefferies: Tyre blow-outs can cause devastating caravan accidents but there is a way to limit the amount of damage done when your tyres suddenly deflate.
More and more people are choosing to fit run-flat safety bands to their caravan wheels. Today I'm in Norfolk to talk to Neil Greentree from Greentrees Adventure Store to find out more.
So Neil what are run-flat safety bands and how do they help?
Neil Greentree: Okay run-flat safety bands were essentially they came in about 15 years ago and that the principal of it is - when you get a blow-out or puncture in your tyre - your tyre rapidly and essentially the dip in the middle of your rim which allows the tyre to be removed for replacement - the walls of the tyre essentially - the beads drop into that. The tyre then actually removes itself off the rim and what you then do is your rim then runs on the road so you lose all traction on one side and that's where the caravan they're fitted to veers out of control.
Now with Tyron's, as you can see here sits inside this, we fit it once the tyre is fitted - as we can see here and that prevents this bead here going in there - which prevents the bead coming off the wheel rim, which prevents the tyre leaving the rim.
Chris Jefferies: Talk me through some of the products available on the market.
Neil Greentree: Well there are a number of different brands - the most popular is Tyron. They're the ones that most of the guys fit.
It's a dealer fit only so it's not something you can do yourself and the only indication that you will have that they've been fitted is a little sticker mounted to the rim that will tell you that it's on.
Chris Jefferies: And how much does one of these bands cost - how long does the job take?
Neil Greentree: They're between £250 - £300, there are quite a number of different options - they have to size-up the band to fit your rim and one other thing to bear-in-mind is a lot of people think they can transfer the band from one caravan to the next caravan to the next caravan. In most cases you can't. You might be lucky - it might transfer but expect that once you've fitted them they stay there for life as a rule of thumb.
Chris Jefferies: And what kind of damage can be done when you have a blowout - when the rubber rips completely off the rim of your caravan wheel?
Neil Greentree: The principal of keeping the rubber on the rim means that you maintain grip - it's really as simple as that. Once the rubber is removed from the rim your grip goes down by some 80% which means that then you just you just lose traction stretch because you have more grip one side than on the other. Naturally the unit wants to twist and that's where suddenly it all gets out of control and it all goes horribly out of shape.
I've actually had a blow-out with a tyron fitted. The only way I knew was because I noticed the caravan go slightly side-ways and that was just because the tyre had gone flat. So it is very good.
Chris Jefferies: And if your caravan tyre has blown-out how long can you keep towing?
Neil Greentree: If you weren't to have these run-flat bands you would have to pull straight over to the hard-shoulder and if it's on the off-side of the caravan you're really exposing yourself to traffic travelling right beside you.
So with the run-flat band you can actually continue to travel on - of course we don't recommend you travel too far - you don't continue to the site you were going to in the first place, but certainly you could look at dropping your speed down to 20 - 25 miles an hour and limping it to the next exit, to the next services, to the next safe place you can pull over - which gets you off the main carriageway and out of danger. These can do that - they don't only have 1 mile before they stop functioning. They will continue to function all the time you still have rubber on this wall. Essentially that's how far you can go but certainly the idea is to get you to the next lay-by, get you to the next exit, get you to the services, out of danger and change it over.
Date: June 12, 2013