Boughey Distribution says its decision to switch to an all-Michelin tyre fleet has slashed its downtime, and resulted in significant cost savings. Group fleet engineer Paul Brimelow explains that the company had traditionally bought on price, but this policy had resulted in a huge breakdown problem. "It used to be horrendous," he says, "especially when a tyre took out a mudguard or trailer light bracket."

He explains that Boughey takes its legal obligations very seriously, and it is a sacking offence if a driver moves a damaged truck. As a result, a blow-out can result in a truck being taken off the road for a long period, and the average tyre failure costs the company an estimated £2,000. Brimelow made the decision to switch to Michelin, which he says resulted in an immediate reduction in downtime. "They aren't the cheapest," he says, "but then buying Michelin is all about whole-life costs. Michelin's Four Lives programme allows us to get the maximum out of the tyres."

However, despite improved reliability and wear characteristics, Brimelow says he was consistently let down by various tyre providers. They were apparently unable to cope with Boughey's rapid expansion - its fleet having increased five-fold in the past six years. The solution was Quinton Tyres of Greater Manchester, which was recommended by Michelin. It now supplies and manages Boughey's 1,800 Michelin tyre fleet. Quinton has its own bay at the haulier's workshop, and a dedicated tyre fitter on site who ensures tyres are checked every three weeks.

"We haven't had any problems since switching to Quinton," says Brimelow. "We now average eight breakdowns a month, which is three times lower than it used to be. And it is incredibly rare for a tyre to blow for no reason. This is proof of the importance of proper tyre management."

Maxing it up

Boughey has become the first UK haulier to place a significant order for Michelin's new X One MaxiTrailer tyres. They have so far been specified on 100 Montracon and 30 Schmitz trailers. The new 455/45 R 22.5 tyres, which use Michelin's Infinicoil architecture, have a 120mm-wider track and 35% more rubber in the compound than Michelin's XTE2 tyre. This, says Michelin, allows them to deliver 50% more mileage.

"We are happy to try new things, just so long as they look and feel right, and these do," says group fleet engineer Paul Brimelow. "We felt comfortable with the product and Quinton Tyres was happy to support it." He says although Schmitz was already familiar with the Maxi-Trailer tyre, Montracon had to make some alterations to the trailer in order to accommodate it.

Although it is too early to determine whether Michelin's durability claims are true, Brimelow is so far happy with the performance. "We have some positive comments from the drivers, and haven't had a failure yet. My only concern is how the wider footprint will cope with scrub." Boughey specifies Michelin's XDN2 Grip tyres on the drive axles.

Will Shiers

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