Haulage contractor, H&L Transport, which operates major contracts with Gist, has found switching to Continental Tyres from a previous premium brand has brought real benefits.
Checks on the original fitting dates for recently removed Continental HD3 315/80 drive axle tyres, taken off a Scania 490hp 6x2 mid-lift tractor unit, showed the Continental products had delivered 659,721kms of safe and reliable wear.
Mike Hill, partner in the small Cumbrian-based fleet, said, “I was astonished. We always check fitting and removal dates to keep an eye on tyre costs and performance, but we’ve never experienced anything like the distance covered by these Conti HD3s. I was so sure we must have made a mistake, I checked another Scania in the yard, and found it had already done almost 440,00kms and still had a good 11mm of tread depth. And that was a 450hp truck with the slightly smaller 315/70 HD3s.
“We have always used premium tyres to try and guarantee safety and wear, so had rather assumed we would simply be getting comparable performance, but the Continental tyres have been just outstanding.”
H&L now specifies any new trucks with Continental tyres fitted and has embarked on a Continental-only programmes when it comes to any replacements. The company works with local dealer, Cumbria Tyres, buying stock of their preferred specs from them, which are then held in reserve at the dealership to ensure they are always available for them.
The relationship with both the dealer and manufacturer is clearly a strong one. “We have had other premium tyres, at least in terms of cost, but in truth we didn’t always get premium service. It’s different with Conti, because they all take an interest and if we have any queries, or even an occasional problem, they are on the case immediately – and happily send in their local technical manager to talk to us and look for solutions. Then, if there’s any issue that’s down to just them, they compensate us straight away. It is very different from any other relationship we’ve ever had!”
Tyre checks are thorough at H&L. Mike himself, and partner Kevin Little with whom he started the firm back in 2004, both still drive and always walk round each of the vehicles in the yard before they go out, to check tyres, lights and bodywork. On top of this, the local Scania dealer, Graham Commercials, Carlisle, regularly checks when the trucks come in for service. With some of the vehicles running round the clock, seven days a week, H&L really can’t afford to have issues with tyre performance.
Mike said, “We know that if we do have a problem on the road, such as hitting some debris at night, the Conti360ᵒ Network is very quick to respond, wherever we are. It’s a truly outstanding service and unlike any other manufacturer service we have used in the past. With experts committed to helping us with any problem, no matter how big or small, we’re now aware of the level of standards we should be getting and wouldn’t accept anything less.”
One other bonus for the haulier has been the on-road performance of the Continental HD tyres in bad weather. “You sort of expect a tyre giving the high levels of mileage we’ve had with the HD3s, to have tread patterns designed for long-life rather than anything else, but we have been very happy with the grip these tyres give us – even in really bad conditions.”
So, does Mike plan any changes in the near future? He chuckles as he answers, “Continental Tyres and the local dealer have set the bar pretty high for themselves, but while they keep it there and keep measuring up to it, then the simple answer to that is, ‘No!'"