Contiseal tyre repair
One of today's jobs was to repair a puncture on a Contiseal tyre, this is something that we at Hometyre can carry out for customers as most tyre bays will not carry out repairs to these tyres as they are difficult to work on.
For those of you that don't know, a Contiseal tyre is a Continental tyre with a thick tar like gel coating on the inside. The idea being that should you get a puncture with a sharp object piercing the tread area of the tyre, the gel will form a seal around the foreign object and keep the tyre from deflating.
To carry out a repair on one of these tyres it is necessary to remove the foreign object first then scrape away the gel around the hole to expose the tyre surface. It is then possible to carry out a high performance permanent repair to British standards (using a patch plug glued in from the inside). Once complete it is then necessary to spend some time scraping the gel back over the repaired area. If this isn't done, then you have lost the self sealing properties of a Contiseal.
Today's customer had seen a metal object sticking out of his tyre, he called a couple of tyre shops who told him it wasn't possible to repair these tyres and that he should buy a new tyre.
After some investigation on the internet, he found Hometyre and gave us a call. He explained that there was a metal object in the central area of the tread and that is looked to be around 4 to 5mm in size. The tyre hadn't deflated so there was no damage to the sidewall.
I arrived at the address and after jacking up the car, removed the wheel. The metal object was easy to see and it turned out to be a snapped off screwdriver blade. I removed the tyre from the wheel and pulled out the metal blade. I then carried out the puncture repair as described above, scraping the gel back over the repair patch at the end.
The tyre was then refitted, inflated balanced and refitted to the car.
So should you find that you have a puncture in a Contiseal tyre, don't despair, call Hometyre as we may be able to help when others refuse to.
The photo shows how the gel has been scraped away and a plug patch has been inserted. The gel is then pulled back over the patch to complete the job.
Remember that we at Hometyre are Which?Trusted Traders, so we will carry out a professional job at a reasonable price.
For more information call us a Hometyre, contact details are here.
Two caravans with differing problems.
Today I had two jobs concerning caravans, and both were quite different…
The first was a puncture repair in Burgess Hill, I had only fitted new tyres to this caravan last year.
During a routine check the service engineer noticed a screw in one tyre. Since he only required a repair, the customer took the wheel to his local KF (Fast fit centre). They took one look at the screw and told him that he needed a new tyre as the screw was too close to the shoulder of the tyre. He agreed to having the new tyre, but when he told them there were Tyron safety bands in the wheel. KF then told him that they could not help him as they could not remove and refit the Tyrons.
When he got home he dug out his invoice from last year and using the number at the top of the page he called Hometyre to see what we could do.
I turned up bringing a new tyre in-case it was required.
My first job was to measure the position of the screw and using British Standard charts I found that the screw was well within the repairable area, so there was no need for a replacement tyre. For information on puncture repairs click here.
Having been properly trained by Tyron UK, I was able to remove the tyre and Tyron band without any problem, I then removed the screw and made a high performance repair according to British standards. The tyre and Tyron band were then refitted to the wheel, it was inflated to the correct pressure, put back on the caravan and the bolts tightened to the correct torque settings.
My customer was very happy as we had saved him money by not replacing a tyre when it was unnecessary, but also because we are a mobile service, so we came to his home to carry out the work.
My second caravan job was to replace two tyres on a caravan that the customer had just bought in Wales. He did a quick check on the caravan before towing it back to Sussex, but it was only when he got it home and checked it properly that he saw that there were cracks in the sidewalls of the tyres and that they were 12 years old. (The caravan club recommend changing caravan tyres every 5 to 7 years without fail).
This had the customer extremely worried, as to what could have happened if he had had a blow out on the trip back.
He found Hometyre on the internet and having read some reviews felt that we were the right company to come out and change his tyres, especially as he works from home, so he didn't have to tow the caravan to a tyre centre and wait around for an hour or so.
This was a straight forward job, taking up the corner stays, jacking up the caravan in the correct place, and then changing both tyres (No Tyron bands this time), refitting the wheels, torquing the bolts to the correct settings, and putting the corner stays back down.
He was very impressed with our service, and is at the moment having his car wheels refurbished; he now wants me to return to fit new tyres to the wheels when they are returned.
Tyron Safety bands
Are you considering fiting a set of Tyron safety bands to your Caravan or Motorhome? Then we at Hometyre are recommended suppliers and fitters. I personally have been to Tyron UK for additional training in the use of their products, not many Tyron fitters can say that. Tyron bands start at £69 including vat per wheel fully fitted at your location. (Home, storage area or even at a camp site).
What are Tyron Safety bands?
Tyron safety bands are a simple safety device that were originally designed for military use, since then they have been used by ambulances, police cars, the fire brigade and now they have progressed into the leisure vehicle market.
The safety bands can be a potential life saver in the event of a tyre blowout, giving you the ability to continue handling your vehicle under control and continue driving until you reach a place of safety to pull over and stop.
Are there any other advantages?
Some insurance companies will offer a discount on your premium if you have Tyron safety bands installed. This can be around a 10% reduction, which over the years that the Tyron safety bands are fitted, means they can actually pay for themselves.
How do these Safety bands work?
Wheels are all designed with a 'fitting well', this is used by a tyre fitter when putting on or removing a tyre. When fully inflated a tyre is held in place by the internal air pressure, if this pressure drops due to a puncture, then the tyre can move around and drop into the fitting well. If this happens the tyre can come off the wheel, reducing traction, braking and handling as well as possibly damaging your vehicle. When Tyron safety bands are installed, they fill up the fitting well, meaning that a tyre cannot come off a wheel.
Tyron safety bands are especially beneficial for caravans and trailers as they are towed vehicles and a driver will not always realise that they have a puncture until it is too late. These vehicles can easily overturn if they have a blowout, causing considerable damage, as well as putting you and other road users in danger. Fitting Tyron safety bands is a simple safety solution that can be added to your wheels either when buying new tyres, or as a retro fit..
Can Tyron safety bands be fitted by any tyre depot?
The basic answer to this would have to be 'yes', but in reality, not many tyre depots know how to fit them correctly. I have seen many Tyron safety bands fitted upside down, fitted with parts missing, fitted over the valve, and even with the wrong size bands fitted.
We at Hometyre are recommended by Tyron UK as one of their main suppliers and fitters, I have also been to their headquarters for training in the correct methods of fitting their products, so we know exactly what we are doing… not many Tyron fitters can say that.
How much do Tyron safety bands cost? We will supply and fit your Tyron safety bands at your location (Home, storage area or campsite) for a price that starts at £69 including vat for the 13" and 14" bands. 15" & 16" bands are a little more. We even balance your wheels once fitted, to make sure your vehicle does not vibrate when being towed.
There is also a customer care kit that we recommend every customer has at £7.46 plus vat.
To order your Tyron safety bands give us a call at Hometyre on 0800 7839310 (Landline free phone), or 0333 444 5454 (Mobile friendly number), all we need to know is your wheel rim size, then where and when you want them fitting. For more info click here
What are Tyron bands and should I have them?
What are Tyron safety bands?
Tyron Safety bands are a very simple but effective safety device mostly used by the leisure industry on caravans, motorhomes and trailers. They are especially beneficial on these vehicles, as unlike a car it is not so easy to realise that you have a puncture, until it is too late.
These bands can be life-saving in the event of a puncture or blowout. Originally designed for use by the military, they have also been used on police cars, ambulances and fire response vehicles.
The main benefits of Tyron bands is that you will have better handling of your motorhome, caravan or trailer should you suffer a flat tyre. There is the added benefit that a number of insurance companies offer a discount on your annual premium if your vehicle is fitted with Tyron safety bands. For example: the camping and caravan club offer a 10% discount on caravans fitted with these safety devices. This means that over a number of years they could pay for themselves as well as saving your life.
Where or how are Tyron bands fitted?
Tyron bands are fitted into the fitting well of each wheel by a tyre fitter at the same time as fitting a tyre.
Air pressure inside a tyre, keeps it 'pushed' out on the rim. Should you get a puncture the pressure inside decreases and the tyre can flop around on the rim. Because the Tyron band is filling the fitting well, the tyre cannot come off of the rim, all it can do is move around, giving you runflat capability. This allows you to continue driving under control until you reach a safe place to stop.
Without the Tyron band, the tyre would move around and eventually find its way into fitting well, the tyre then comes off the wheel causing a loss of traction, braking and handling. At the same time the tyre can damage the side of your vehicle as it comes off the rim, costing a lot in repairs.
Hometyre Sussex is a recommended Tyron band installer. I personally have been to Tyron UK for additional training on the correct method to fit their products.
Over the years I have seen many Tyron bands fitted upside down, with parts missing or with them covering the valve. All because other fitters do not know what they are doing and don't have the correct equipment to deal with Tyron bands. We at Hometyre Sussex will come to you with our mobile service vehicle to fit the Tyron bands at your location.
Once purchased the Tyron bands do not need to be changed. They are removed and re-fitted whenever you change your tyres, so they are a one off purchase.
Tyron bands come in various sizes to fit differing wheel sizes (13", 14", 15" and 16") they also come in various widths to ensure they fill the fitting well completely. We at Hometyre bring a selection with us when you order new Tyrons, to make sure we have the required size.
How much does it cost for a set of Tyron safety bands?
Tyron bands prices start at £69 per wheel fully fitted, including vat, we can also supply you with a customer care kit if required. The care kit consists of a removal tool for Tyrons plus an instruction book in various languages explaining how they should be removed and refitted. This is extremely useful if travelling in Europe where Tyron bands are no so well known, as many tyre depots do not know how to remove or refit them.
For more information on Tyron bands click here.
Tyron bands can save you 20% on your caravan insurance
At this time of year many caravan owners are taking to the road aiming to travel to a caravan site without any mishaps.
But as many people know from being stuck in a traffic jam, this is often the time when a tyre blows and a caravan comes to a grinding halt blocking a road. If lucky the caravan will remain upright, but often as a burst tyre comes off it can make a lot of damage knocking a big hole in the side of the caravan.
One way to prevent this is the installation of a Tyron band, it does as the name implies. It keeps the TYRE ON the wheel in the event of a deflation or a blowout.
Originally designed for the military, Tyron bands were fitted to Jeeps and trucks, so that should they get a puncture in enemy territory they could still continue to drive under control until they got to a secure area to change the tyre.
Basically a Tyron band is a metal strap that is fitted to a wheel and inside the tyre filling the 'well' in the wheel. This well is normally used by a tyre fitter when putting on and taking off a tyre. By filling the well, the tyre is virtually locked in place on the wheel rim. A tyre can still be punctured, but when deflated it will not come off the rim, and can be driven on until the tyre eventually disintegrates. Hopefully you will realise before too long that you have a flat tyre, and will be able to drive to a place of safety to change the tyre.
It did not take too long before the potential of putting Tyron bands onto leisure vehicles (Caravans, trailer tents, etc) was realised, as with a towed vehicle it is more difficult to know that you have a flat tyre until it is too late. Since then they have also been installed into motorhomes, camper vans, even some cars and vans. Since they are a safety device, some insurance companies will offer up to a 20% discount if you have Tyron bands fitted, which means they will pay for themselves over a few years.
Tyron bands need to be installed correctly, and Tyron UK contacted us at Hometyre to not only sell and fit their products, but we spent time at their facilities, being taught how to fit them correctly.
When changing caravan tyres I have seen many Tyron bands that have been incorrectly fitted by tyre depots who do not know how they should be installed. Hometyre are now one of the main recommended fitters for Tyron UK's products.
The caravan club recommend changing caravan tyres every 5 to 7 years regardless of the amount of tread remaining; this is due to the fact that oxidisation causes the rubber in tyres to harden and become susceptible to cracking. If you have Tyron bands fitted then you need to have them removed and refitted at the same time as changing a tyre. There is a small charge for the additional work involved, but considering the safety aspect it is well worth it. Tyron also sell a customer care kit, which consists of a long reach allen key and an instruction book in many languages, so that should you be travelling abroad and suffer a flat tyre, then any professional tyre depot should be able to understand how to remove and refit the Tyron bands.
This photo shows what is left of a tyre that has been driven on when flat, the Tyron band can be clearly seen inside the wheel. The driver realised that he had a flat tyre but was on a motorway, he continued to drive for around 20 miles until he could get to the next off ramp and change his tyre. It may look a mess, but the tyre stayed on the rim and he was able to drive under control. Also because the tyre stayed on the rim, there was no damage to the caravan wheel arch.
Winter tyre to summer tyre change over
Are you still driving round on your winter tyres? Now that temperatures have increased you should be changing back to summer tyres, as winter tyres are too soft and lose some grip now the weather is warmer.
Braking distances increase, it has been shown that at 50 mph your braking distances can decrease by around 15 yards when using winter tyres in the summer. This means that continuing to drive on winter tyres is compromising your safety as well as costing you more in fuel consumption, as it has been proven that winter tyres can cost you up to 15% more in fuel usage in the summer.
Since winter tyres are made of a softer compound they also wear more in warmer temperatures, again costing you more money. Heat generated in winter tyres increases in the summer which can cause sidewall damage, you may even see some of the tread blocks becoming unstuck from the main carcass.
In temperatures of above 7°C summer tyres provide increased efficiency, tyre wear and safety.
A general rule of thumb in the UK is to use winter tyres from November through to March, and Summer tyres from April through to October. The only real exceptions would be if you were planning a late skiing holiday in Europe, then it would be worth keeping the winter tyres on for a little longer.
Hometyre are ideally suited to swap your tyres over for you, being a mobile service we will come to you at home to change your tyres over. That way you do not need to carry your extra tyres back and forth to a tyre depot. We bring the entire fitting service to you, including electronic wheel balancing and a replacement rubber valve.
Why not take the chance to have your tracking checked at the same time as having the tyres changed. With the potholes that have been prevalent over the winter period, there is always the chance that you may have knocked your alignment out of true. Hom etyres vans carry laser wheel alignment equipment on board, and all we need is to have your vehicle on a flat-ish surface to carry out the work. It takes around 45 minutes to track a car, but is very beneficial in regards to tyre wear and handling of your vehicle.
Citroen C4 Picasso in Chichester
This started off as a simple job, I was booked to fit 2 new 215/55R16 Pirelli Cinturato tyres to a Citroen C4. The new tyres arrived first thing in the morning from the wholesaler, I loaded them up and drove to the customers home in Chichester. As usual when I arrived I asked for the keys to the car and for the locking wheel nut key.
It was at this point that things got messy. The customer confessed that he had tried to remove the wheel himself and had rounded off the locknut key...... Would that be a problem? He seemed to think that we as Tyre fitters carried a universal lock nut key that could remove all locknuts. No this is not the case. There are around 20 different locknuts per vehicle manufacturer and that is if they still have the original set as factory fitted, so have aftermarket locknuts increasing the variety.
Back to the job in hand... the customer had then gone to Halfords and bought a reverse thread locknut removal tool, this didn't fit properly and just rounded off more of the locknut. It was at this point that he decided to call out someone who knew what to do.
This Citroen was fitted with the type of locknut that has a small protrusion in the centre, and at the base there are 3 small holes, the original locknut key has 3 pins that fit in these holes allowing it to be removed. In this case though the holes had been deformed and the pins just slid out. I got out one of my removal tools and fitted the appropriate head. It is then a case of using a club hammer to bang the tool into the locknut where its teeth cut into the locknut and provide a way of removing the offending nut. As it happens the nut had rusted in place, so it did not come off easily, this is maybe what had contributed to the original locknut key becoming damaged in the first place.
It took me around an hour to remove all four locknuts on the car and I was then able to continue and change the tyres. As mentioned previously I was to replace two tyres and these were the fronts. I checked the rear tyres and they had around 4mm of tread remaining, but they were showing signs of cracking starting on the tread blocks, this is age related. I recommended to the customer that I change the front tyres as planned, but also move the rear tyres to the front and fit the new tyres on the rear position. This would incur a small fee as we also re-balance the wheels on the front. But it is the safest way of setting up the vehicle, and it also allows you to get the most out of the older tyres before the cracks get any worse and the tyres become scrap. The customer agreed to my recommendation and I got to work. Jacked up the car with two jacks on one side, this enabled me to remove both front and rear wheel at the same time, I then re-balanced the older rear tyre, checked it for punctures (there weren't any) adjusted the tyre pressure and replaced it on the front of the vehicle. I then stripped down the other wheel, it was fitted with TPMS valves, so I had to be careful not to damage it. The new tyre was fitted to the wheel, it was inflated to the correct pressure, balanced and fitted to the car. All of the wheel bolts were torqued to the correct settings for the car, before I was able to move round to the other side of the car and repeat the process.
Because the locknuts had been forcibly removed they could not be replaced, so the customer would have to replace these himself. We do not carry replacement nuts/bolts as there are far too many different types, lengths, thread sizes that we would have to carry hundreds of nuts.
Once complete, I took a payment from the customer using our chip & pin machine, a receipt is then emailed to him and I was able to get off to my next job.
Preparing your caravan for this season
How often do Caravan owners check their tyres? Maybe not as often as they should according to most of the caravan tyres I see when changing them.
This may be because caravan tyres are half hidden under the vehicle and you need to get down on your hands and knees to check them properly, however the outside wall is easy to see and you should be looking for signs of cracking, cuts, or bumps. Additionally you need to look between the tread blocks as caravan tyres often crack in this area.
Taking a caravan to a tyre depot to have the tyres replaced is not an easy job and many tyre bays cannot accommodate these vehicles - Which is why using Hometyre Sussex is the ideal solution, as we will come to you where ever you keep your caravan, at home, storage area or even a campsite. (If a campsite, please confirm with the site owner that we are allowed on site).
Although caravans do not need an MOT, they still need to conform to UK law and have at least 1.6mm of tread depth. Most caravans cover very little mileage per year, and the tyres get changed more when they meet a certain age rather than low tread. Although there are no hard and fast rules concerning tyre age on caravans, we tend to follow the recommendations of the Caravan club, which are: tyres using pressures of less that 50psi should be changed every 5 years and never be used past 7 years of age, regardless of tread depth remaining. Tyres using over 50 psi should be changed every 3 - 5 years. To check the age of your tyres you need to check the four digit DOT codes on the sidewall, if unsure how to read this code, click here.
Should you have a 3 digit code with or without a triangle, then you should change these tyres now.
Also do not overlook the spare tyre, just because it is under the caravan or in the front storage locker does not mean it is acceptable to keep it longer…. In fact the opposite is true, as the spare does not get any use, the side walls start to harden making them more susceptible to cracking if used. We would always suggest that you change the spare at the same time and the other tyres.
Tyre pressures on a caravan are just as important as on your towing vehicle, you should always check the pressures before taking the caravan out on the road. The correct pressures should be in your caravan's specification handbook; occasionally it can be found stamped onto a small plate near the door. While looking at the handbook also make sure you are using the correct load index for the caravan. The load index is the number shown after the tyre size. E.g. 195/80R14 97H in this case it is the number 97. Using a lower load rating can lead to overheating of the tyres and this can eventually lead to a blow-out. Using the correct load rating is important for stability and handling.
We at Hometyre specialise in changing caravan tyres, we will ensure that the corner stays are put up before jacking the caravan (If left down they will possibly be bent and damaged). We will ensure that the caravan is jacked up using the correct jacking points and once fitted we will make sure your wheel bolts are tightened to the correct torque settings.
Should you have Tyron bands or if you are interested in having a set fitted, the we are recommended by Tyron UK as one of their main fitters and suppliers. Additionally I personally have been to the Tyron UK headquarters for additional training in the use of their products. (Not many tyre fitters can claim this). For further info on Tyron bands click here.
We at Hometyre Sussex are also recommended by Which? Trusted Traders, so you can be assured of our commitment to quality and service.
The growing danger of part worn tyres
Advantage Research & Innovation recently surveyed over 4000 UK car drivers between the ages of 17 an 84, all of who had purchased tyres within the last month. the results show that road users could face a growing danger from a generation of younger drivers who are happy to purchase part worn tyres.
The research showed that those aged 17 to 34 were more inclined to purchase part worn tyres as they thought they were a safe and economic option, whereas the older age group shied away from the part worns.
Most of those aged over 55 agreed with the statement "I would never drive on part worn tyres"
Younger drivers were most likely to agree with the following statement about part worn tyres "They're the cheapest option", with approximately 70% of 17 to 34 year old's choosing this as their first option to describe part worn tyres.
In contrast, over 50% of 55 to 64 year old's selected as their first choice the statement "They are unsafe"
A recent investigation made by Tyresafe and the National Tyre Distributers Association, in conjunction with Trading Standards found that out of 800 part worn tyres bought by mystery shoppers found 97% were illegal as they had not been marked "part worn" as required by law, also around a third of the tyres when checked were found to be faulty or damaged.
I had a customer recently who asked me to fit 3 tyres for him, he had bought them all from eBay. Of the three only one had the "part worn" marking on the side. When I then checked all of the tyres I found:
Tyre 1. Had an illegal repair on the side wall, making it unsafe.
Tyre 2. Had a 6mm hole right through the tread, with chords on view.
Tyre 3. Had a bulge in the sidewall as well as a hole through the side.
All three tyres were dangerous and should never have been sold.
When you are buying part worn tyres, you do not know what you are buying, most have been scrapped for a reason, others are off cars that have been involved in an accident, meaning that the tyres could have been structurally damaged. This type of internal damage is impossible to see visually, it is only when the tyre is mounted on a wheel or driven on that problems can be seen.
It is really important to get the message out to younger drivers that part worn tyres can be dangerous and are also a false economy. It has been shown through checks made by TyreSafe that on average a part worn tyre can cost £6.33 per mm of useable tread, whereas a comparable new tyre can cost around £5.32 per mm. Not only that but at least with the new tyre you know exactly what you have on your vehicle.
Many part worn tyres will not make it through the first MOT as bulges, splits and holes are seen, and your car will fail its MOT.
Be sure, be safe, buy new tyres only.
Last minute tyres needed on a swift caravan in Ferring
I had a call to go and fit two new tyres to a Swift caravan in a storage site in Ferring last Friday as a bit of an emergency as the customer was planning to use the caravan over the weekend.
When I arrived the customer met me at the gate and guided me round to his caravan, which was looking rather sorry for itself as both tyres were flat.
It turned out that someone had stabbed both tyres through the sidewalls making them non-repairable. Both holes were very small and took 5 to 6 hours to go flat. So my customer wasn't sure if this had happened in the storage site, or outside his house before he towed it to storage the last time he used it. To make matters worse he had also lost his locking wheel nut removal tool.
Originally he had called out another major nation-wide tyre company who turned up at the site, but when told that the locknut key was missing, they told him they would have a go with a hammer and chisel, but couldn't guarantee the results, also there was the possibility that the alloy wheels may get damaged. Not wanting his caravan to be butchered, he told them to forget it.
He mentioned his problem to the site owner who recommended us at Hometyre as they had received good reports from other caravan owners who had used us. He checked out our website and was pleased with what he saw especially as we specialise in the removal of locking wheel nuts without damaging your wheels.
Once on site it was a case putting the corner stays up first, then pulling the caravan out of its space (not easy on flat tyres) to give me room to work on the locknuts. We at Hometyre have a specialist tool with interchangeable heads to use on the various types of locknut. As it was these were MacGard nuts, one of the best on the market as they are hardened and have spinning collars, making them very difficult to remove.
I set up my tool and got to work on the removal, luckily they had not been over-tightened, so they came off without too much of a struggle.
I was then able to jack the caravan up and replace both tyres with new 195/65R15 Maxxis commercial tyres, without incident. Once complete we pushed the caravan back into its storage bay, normally I would then lower the corner stays as part of the job. But the customer told me it wasn't necessary as he would be hitching it up in a few hours as he and his family were taking it away that afternoon for a long weekend.
Payment was taken using our on-board card reader, and the receipt was emailed to the customer immediately upon completion. I gave him a key ring with our details on it for future use, as well as a Which? trusted trader card to fill in. (See reviews here)
I called in at the site office on my way out to thank them for their recommendation, and they were happy that we had been able to help their client at such short notice.
Luckily for the customer he had come to the caravan early that morning to check it over and stock it up with some provisions before their trip.
I can't guarantee that we can always get to you in such a short time to fit new tyres, as a lot depends on the time you call, tyre availability and how busy I am that day. But if at all possible we will always try to squeeze a job in if humanly possible.
So should you require new tyres for your caravan or towing vehicle, tyron bands, puncture repairs or locking wheel nuts removed, then give us a call at Hometyre click here for contact details.
Difficult Audi A4 locking wheel nut removal job
I didn't plan on writing about a locking wheel nut removal so soon, but felt that this job had to be explained. It shows the problems that can occur when other people have a go at removing locking wheel nuts and fail, making the situation much worse.
Originally I was called out to remove a set of locking wheel nuts from an Audi A4, which in itself was a normal job.
I arrived at the address in Chichester to be told by the car owner that there was a problem. The car had been in a garage the week before to have the brake pads changed, the mechanic had changed three brake pads but when tightening up the locking wheel nut on the third wheel, the removal 'key' had broken.
The owner had the original box that the locknuts came in and so he had the 'keys' serial number. Using this number he went to the local Audi dealership and ordered a new 'key', it arrived after two days, but when he went to use it is did not fit the locknuts. He contacted Audi, who ordered a second 'key', which when it arrived also did not fit.
So far he had wasted 5 days and it had cost him around £90.
The garage where they were doing the brake pads said that they would try to remove the locknut, but after a few hours they called him to say they had failed, which is why he had called out Hometyre.
The Audi was fitted with Mcgard lock nuts, what the garage had not mentioned was that they had hammered a socket on to the locknut, then used a breaker bar to try and remove the locknut. The problem was that the breaker bar had broken with the force and left the stud stuck in the socket, which they could then not remove, so they left it all stuck on the car without telling the owner.
This was going to be a problem as I had no way of removing the socket, especially as it had a stud stuck in the hole. I decided to use our impact driver locknut removal tool to see if it would dig into the socket to allow me to turn it. After around 10 blows with the lump hammer it had made little impact on the socket, but had flattened off my tool rendering it useless….
Back to the drawing board. There was no way off drilling the socket as it was hardened. My only option was to try and hammer a large stud removal tool over the garages socket to see if it would grip and then use my breaker bar to slowly turn the socket.
As it turned out this worked better than expected as not only did the socket turn, but also the locking wheel nut came out with it. I can only assume that the original attempt I made with my impact tool had loosened the thread in the hub.
I was not too happy to see that it had split my stud removal tool, but at least I had the problem locknut removed. I was then able to use my normal removal tool to remove the other 3 locknuts without and other problems. Making a customer very happy, and keeping my record of not failing in over 4 years.
So if you ever find yourself in the situation of having no way to remove your cars locking wheel nuts, then please call us at Hometyre Sussex and don't let any cowboys have-a-go.
Bead seal in Ferring (Slow puncture)
On of todays jobs was in Ferring at a previous customer with a Mercedes CLK. I had fitted new tyres to the car around a year ago and let the customer know that the inside of the rims were badly corroded. The paint had all blistered up allowing air to seep out. I had cleaned them up removing the loose paint and added a bead sealer, to give a good air seal and to help stop the corrosion from returning.
The customer told me that the wheels were going off to be refurbished soon, and I advised them that the tyres should be removed completely and the rims shot blasted back to bare metal before being powder coated to give the best finish and to remove all of the corrosion.
She told me that she had had a discussion with the wheel refurbishment company in Worthing and that, yes they were going to remove the tyres and do the job properly.
Here we now are a year on and I have been called out as two of the tyres are constantly losing air and are being pumped up every few days.
The wheels had been refurbished, but now with powder coating, they had just been painted. I removed the tyre to see what was causing the problem, only to find that they had not removed the tyre when painting it, all they had done was to push the tyre bead down and paint over any corrosion. Also by doing this they had removed most of the bead seal I had previously applied allowing the tyres to leak again.
I cleaned up the wheels again applied new bead seal and refitted the tyres. I then let the customer know about the bad workmanship on the wheels and let her know that the other wheels could also have the same problem, so keep and eye on them.
Also looking at the paint on the outside of the wheels in some areas it was already starting to peal off.
The customer said that she would go back to the company that had done the refurbishment to make a complaint.
So if you are considering having your wheels refurbished, then you need to ask what type of work do they undergo. Do they remove the tyres completely and take the wheels back to bare metal before repainting or powder coating. Or is it only a coat of paint covering the original coating making it look good for a short time.
In general having the job done properly will cost around £75 per wheel, where as having a paint job on top can cost up to £65 per wheel, for the small difference I would suggest having the job done properly.
Then atlease when you have new tyres fitted you will know that they sholud give a good seal and not cause any further problems.
Winter fitted tyres in Sussex
Even though we are having a wet mild December, we all know that winter is just around the corner. Temperatures will drop soon, mornings will be frosty and we may even get some snow, making road conditions dangerous.
Now is the time to make sure your car is ready for the winter. Fitting cold weather tyres is one of the safest things you can do, as the rubber in summer tyres hardens in the cold weather, increasing braking distances and reducing road holding.
Should you be planning a winter getaway to Europe, then in many European countries it is mandatory that you must have winter tyres fitted between the months of November and March. So if you are thinking of getting away for a ski trip then make sure you are road legal. Take a look at European legislation by clicking here.
Some European countries will allow summer tyres as long as there is more than 4mm of tread on each tyre, but should you be involved in an accident, then your insurance company may not pay out.
One other option is to use all season tyres, although these are not as good as winter tyres if planning extended trips in snow, they are far better in the cold and snow than summer tyres, they can also be legal for use in those European countries that insist on winter tyres.
Some people think is is acceptable to use only 2 winter tyres just on the driven wheels. But this is not recommend as this can cause unstable handling in winter conditions.
Also remember when travelling in the UK that just because you have winter tyres fitted, not all others will have, so you still need to drive slowly and be aware of others on the road.
We at Hometyre can supply many makes and size of winter tyre or all season tyre, for help or advice, give us a call on the free phone number. Click here for details.
Wet weather and aquaplaning
The cold weather is on the way, there is snow forecast this week in the North, but we are also getting a lot of rain here in the South.
Since we have had a relatively dry summer, the ground is hard and water cannot seep away so easily, so much so that there have been big puddles on the roads and a number of accidents where vehicles have aquaplaned.
Aquaplaning happens when a cars tyres cannot release enough water through the tread, and the tyre ends up 'floating' on a wave of water, there is no contact with the road surface, no grip and the vehicle has no control. At this point the vehicle can skid off the road and there is nothing the driver can do about it.
For this reason even though the legal tread depth limit is 1.6mm, it is recommended that tyres should be changed when they get down to 3mm. At 3mm there is enough depth in the grooves to allow water to escape and keep the vehicle under control.
I had a Renault Clio overtake me last week on the A27, drivers ahead on the outside lane were braking due to the spray on the roads and the driver of the Clio, braked harshly and tried to move into the inside lane. The roads were so wet that his tyres did not grip and he spun through 180 degrees before sliding off the road and onto the grass shoulder. Luckily no-one was hurt and there was minimal damage to his car.
Even in the dry there is a massive difference in braking distances between a tyre with 3mm of tread and a tyre with only 1.6mm. See how to check your tyres here
We at Hometyre will happily come out to you to change your tyres, just give us a call and speak to our sales staff, they will advise you as to the best tyres for you and the type of driving you do.
Renault Clio locking wheel nut removal
Today (Thursday) I was called out to West Chiltington to a Renault Clio Sport with two burst tyres. Last Monday the customer had swerved to miss another car and hit a kerb bursting the tyres, she parked the car in a layby and went to remove the wheels to get new tyres fitted only to find that the locking wheel nut was missing. She tried various methods of removing the nuts, including buying another set of locknuts to try the key only to find it was different. No other local garage was able to help her, and on Wednesday she went on the internet and found that Hometyre offer a removal service, so she booked us to carry out the job.
I started by tightening the other wheel nuts to remove pressure on the McGard locknut, then I got to work with my removal tool. The locknuts had been greatly overtightened and it took a couple of tool heads to eventually remove all of the locknuts.
I then asked the customer if she wanted us to fit new tyres for her, but she said that she was going ahead with part worn tyres.
I gave her a warning that this may not be a safe option, as part worn tyres are often removed from cars that have been in an accident, of tyres that have been scrapped by tyre dealers and have been patched up, buy the Part worn 'specialists'.
While I was still there she phoned a couple of part worn dealers only to find that they did not have her tyre size (205/45R16). She then phoned a third dealer who said that he had two tyres of a smaller width (195/50R16) that he assured her would be OK if she put them both on the front and kept the original wider tyres on the rear.
I would warn any driver that this is not a good idea to mix tyres if they are not as designed for the car, as it will effect handling, acceleration, braking, etc.
Also if you were to be involved in an accident you may find that your insurance company will not pay out the full amount as you have changed your vehicles specifications.
BMW locking wheel nut removal
This week I was called out to a Customer in Bognor Regis with a BMW 6 series. He had been to a local tyre depot to have four new tyres fitted to his car. When they came to remove the locking wheel nuts, they found that they had been greatly overtightened and while applying pressure to the tool it broke into pieces. The customer ordered a new tool from BMW but it also broke. The tyre depot tried to remove the locknuts using their methods but failed as they were too tight.
The customer called us at Hometyre, and I went out to the job on Saturday morning. He wanted me to remove the locknuts and fit 4 new 20" Bridgestone tyres to the car.
The nuts were McGards, one of the better types of lock nut on the market, they have a revolving collar and are made of a chrome plated hardened steel. Reverse thread removers won't work, neither will trying to hammer a socket on, they are extreemly difficult to drill (One customer tried and after 2 hours and breaking numerous drills he only had a hole 2mm deep.)
We at Hometyre have specialist tools and can remove almost all locking nuts without damaging your wheels.
This BMW also had black gloss wheels, and the customer did not want them scratching. I soon go to work and after around an hour of toil, I eventually had all four locknuts removed. There was no damage to the wheels and it was now time to replace the tyres. When I came to the rest of the nuts I foound that these had also been greatly overtightened. I had to use a 3ft breaker bar with a socket to loosen the nuts. I was then able to jack the car up and remove each wheel in turn and replace the tyres.
Final result - one very happy customer.
So if you find yourself in the position of having no way of getting your locking wheelnuts off, give us a call at Hometyre. We are a mobile service so we will come to you to carry out the work. For Contact details click here
wheel locknut removal in Chichester
One of today's jobs was to remove the locking wheel nuts on a Mercedes Vito van in Chichester.
The customer had bought the van recently from a local dealer, but had not checked if the locking wheel nut removal key was in the vehicle.
The Van is due for an MOT next week. He decided to remove each wheel to check the tyres thoroughly for any bad wear or punctures before the MOT. He went to remove the lock nuts only to find the key was not in the vehicle, he phoned through to a Mercedes dealership, but they were unable to help him. He then turned to the internet to look for help and found us at Hometyre.
I arrived at his house, and took a look at the van wheels, the locknuts were McGards. For those of you that don't know, McGard nuts are the ones with a little clover leaf type pattern on the surface, (see photo)
and they often have a hardened surface and a rotating collar, making them one of the most difficult lock nuts to remove.
But they are also one of the weakest if not treated with care. When changing a tyre we at Hometyre remove them and replace them by hand using a wheel brace.
The wheels on the van were non-standard and they had been given a specialist black paint job, so I had to be extra careful not to damage them in anyway.
I checked the normal nuts on the car to find that they were not too tight, so hopefully it would not be too difficult a job. One of the first jobs is to tighten the rest of the nuts to relieve some pressure on the lock nuts. I then setup our specialist tool with the appropriate head for the McGard nuts, and got to work, after around 5 minutes of hammering the first locknut moved and I was able to extract it. It was then onto the next wheel to repeat the process until all the lock nuts had been removed without any damage to the wheels.
I then went back round the van, replacing the missing locknuts with a normal nut (Already purchased by the customer) I also undid the rest of the normal nuts and then re-tightening them to the correct torque settings. Finally I made up the invoice and took a payment from the customer using our debit card machine and sent him a vat receipt by email.
Should you have lost or broken your locking wheel nut removal socket, then give us a call at Hometyre, we are professionals and have a variety of specialist tools to remove the lock nuts without damaging your alloy wheels. I have removed over 200 lock nuts since 2013 and until now in 2015, with a 100% success rate.
Should you also need us to replace any of your tyres, then let us know as we can bring them along and change them for you once the lock nuts are off. For tyre info click here.
I have had a customer who was quoted £400 just to have one lock nut removed at a main dealer, and other customers who were quoted a minimum of two hours labour at garage rates, but were also told the cost can go higher if they have trouble removing the nuts. We at Hometyre have a set fee for the removal of locknuts, only if they have been greatly tightened and require the use of many tool heads would we charge any additional cost. I have not needed to charge any extra in the last two years, so this would be a rare occurrence.
If you need to have your locking wheel nuts removed you can get more details here on our website.
All types of tyre and vehicle today
Today has been one of those days when there has been a wide variety of work.
My first job of the day was on a farm in Barnham where they have stables, the owner wanted 4 new tyres to be fitted to her horse trailer.
These generally run at high pressures and use light commercial tyres, which can run up to 65psi. The lady had ordered GT Radial Maxmiler 165/80R13 C tyres which are ideal for this vehicle. Working near horses is not in itself a problem, but I always try to arrive with a full tank of air, so that I don't have to run the compressor and can keep any noise to a minimum.
Horse trailers are also nice to work on as they are easy to get a jack under, and generally have small steel wheels which makes changing the tyre a breeze. It took less than an hour to swap all the tyres, balance the wheels (Which weren't balanced previously) and put them back on the trailer.
The old tyres were 12 years old, and had splits all over them, so since the trailer is used regularly to transport two horses to events around the country, it was an overdue change.
It was then a bit of a trek across country to Hurstpierpoint for my next job which was to repair a puncture on a Porsche Cayenne.
I arrived at the address and collected the car keys from the customer, jacked the vehicle up and removed the wheel. It was immediately evident that this was not repairable, as there was a big bolt stuck through the inside shoulder of the tyre. I showed it to the customer who agreed that it was not repairable (a pity as this was a new tyre last month).
When we come out to puncture repairs, we always try to bring a tyre with us, in this case it was lucky that we did as I now had to fit that new tyre.
This was a Bridgestone D Sport 275/40R20 Extra load with the Porsche N0 marking. Only one tyre to do so it didn't take too long before the job was completed and the vehicle was back on the road.
I then had to get to Ferring near Worthing to my next job, normally I would travel along the A27 but this is closed this week due to the Shoreham airshow disaster, so it was a case of using smaller local roads which added around 30 minutes to the trip.
The job was on a VW Passat which required two new tyres on the front, he had had two fitted by a local garage to the rear only last month. The owner had bought the car second hand around a year ago, he said that the steering wheel was on a 30 degree angle when driving straight, and a quick check of the tyres confirmed my suspicion that the tracking was out, so it was agreed that I would check and adjust the tracking as required.
Not one of my favourite cars to work on as the track rod ends are at the top above the wheel, making them difficult to get too.
I changed the tyres first which were 205/60R15 Continental Premium Contact 5's, and loosened off the track rod nuts, then took the car for a quick spin to settle the suspension back down. I then put the wheel alignment equipment on to confirm it was way out of alignment, so far out that one side did not even register on the scales as the laser light was pointing on to the tyre itself.
It was then a case of adjusting it back to its correct settings and taking it for a drive to confirm all was OK and that the steering wheel was nice and straight. Job completed and one happy customer.
On to my next job in West Wittering which was to change all four tyres on a Mazda CX5 (4x4, although this one has never been off road). The car had just come back from a service at the local Mazda dealership where they had recommended that the tyres be changed and the tracking looked at, as there was bad wear on the inside of the tyres. I checked the tracking first and confirmed that it was out of tolerance, I then adjusted it before changing the tyres as the suspension is already settled down. Once adjusted I was then able to change the tyres - taking care as this car is fitted with TPMS sensor valves. These valves, send a constant signal to the cars onboard computer monitoring the tyre pressures at all times and informing the driver if there is a deflation. The only problem is that batteries in these sensors only have a 5 ~ 7 year lifespan, and they can easily be damaged when changing tyres if the fitter is not careful.
This customer went for 225/65R17 Yokohama tyres, which are more designed for on road use and have good wet braking figures. Once changed I took the car for a test drive to confirm that it all felt well and the steering wheel was straight.
Only a short trip to my next job which was also in West Wittering, it was a boat trailer, that was fitted with small 8" plastic wheels, that had flat tyres.
The owner thought it was a valve failure. I removed the wheels and took them into my van, then inflated them to see where they were leaking, it turned out not to be the valves but a hole in the inner tubes. I had to remove the tyres by hand as the wheels were too small to fit on our tyre changing machine, I then removed the inner tubes and found the holes, glued on patches, then replaced them and the tyres. I checked the inside of the tyres for any sign of what had caused the deflation, but apart from a small hole in both sidewalls there was no sign of anything (Possibly vandalism, as its uncommon for both tyres to deflate with a similar size hole and not have anything sticking into the tyre). Wheels were put back on the trailer and I was off to my final job of the day.
This was a single tyre job on a Nissan Micra in a car park in Bognor Regis, and was on my way home, so nice and easy…. Except…… When I got there the customer met me and took me to the car showing me the tyre that needed changing (It was his girlfriends car), she had had two new tyres fitted to the front recently, one of the rear tyres she had also changed about 3 months ago at a part worn 'specialist', but the fourth tyre now needed changing. I checked the part worn tyre and found that it was the wrong size tyre they had fitted. Why do people use these cowboys?
Luckily for the customer we had over ordered and actually had two tyres onboard of the size he required. He asked me to fit both tyres, and was going to have a word with his girlfriend warning her not to use these so called 'specialists' again.
I soon had them changed and back on the car, all done for the day. Off home.
This shows the variety of jobs we can do from normal to expensive vehicles, 4x4's, horse and boat trailers. The only jobs not covered today were Caravans and Motorhomes.
Should you require tyres, puncture repairs, wheel alignments, valve replacements, locking wheel nut removals or tyron bands then give us a call at Hometyre. Click here for contact details.
Summer tyres tested in Finland
The Finnish trade magazine "Tekniikan Maailma" (World of Technology) has just published the results of its 2015 tyre test.
They fitted a range of Premium, Mid and budget tyres to a VW gold using the same size of tyre 205/55 R16 and specialists from Test World evaluated the tyres driving around Ivalo. The tyres were ranked according to performance in a series of dry and wet tests, with an overall mark out of 10 being the top plus a star rating out of 5.
The best tyre on test with an overall score of 9.5 and 5 stars, was the Continental ContiPremiumContact 5 tyre. The testers said that the Continental tyre offered good grip in the wet, good grip on dry roads and easy handling in all driving situations. The only point the testers marked down the Continental tyre was for rolling resistance.
Closely following the Continental tyre in equal second were the Nokian Hakka Blue, and the Pirelli Cintuarto P7 Blue both had 9.3 points and 5 stars. The Nokian tyre was found to be a quiet tyre with good weather characteristicts and low rolling resistance, however the dry braking was marked down as only being average. The Pirelli P7 was found to give good grip on dry road surfaces.
One unexpected result was that the Michelin Primacy 3 (Premium tyre) was beaten into 9th place by the Chinese Landsail (Budget tyre). The testers considered that the Landsail tyre had good braking grip in the wet & dry, but poor handling and aquaplaning performance. While the Michelin tyre despite its reputation as a sure footed tyre suffered and was marked as only having average grip in the wet. The Landsail received 8.3 points and four stars, where as the Michelin received 8.2 points and 3 stars.
I personally would consider the country we live in when looking at overall tyre results, as the UK has many wet days, both in the winter but also throughout the summer. So a tyre that did not fare well in aquaplaning would not be a contender if I was fitting tyres to my vehicle. I would also check any tyres data using the new label information see here.
I have just fitted 4 of the Pirelli Cinturato P7 tyres to a customers Mazda3 a few weeks ago, it was interesting to see him post on twitter yesterday that he felt they were great tyres for grip in both the dry and wet, especially considering the amount of rain we have had in the last few days. He drives around 2~300 miles a week for work, and this is the first time he has bought premium tyres, as he previously always bought budgets.
Should you require any of the tyres as shown in the tyre test then give us a call at Hometyre. Click here for contact details.
The table of results are:
1 Continental ContiPremiumContact5 9.5 *****
2= Nokian Hakka Blue 9.3 *****
2= Pirelli Cinturato P7 Blue 9.3 *****
4 Goodyear Efficient Grip Performance 9.1 *****
5 Kumho Solus HS51 8.9 *****
6 Hankook Ventus Prime 2 8.8 *****
7 Dunlop Sport Blue Response 8.6 ****
8 Landsail LS588 UHP 8.3 ****
9 Michelin Primacy 3 8.2 ****
10 Vredestein Sportrac 5 8.2 ***
11 Barum Bravius 3 7.9 ***
12 Firestone Firehawk TZ300 7.6 **
13 Goodride Sport SA-37 7.3 **
14 Nankang Econex NA-1 7.3 **
15 Apollo Alnac 4G 7.2 *
Horse trailer tyres in Barnham
This week has been one for Horse trailers in Barnham, I had two to work on from the same stables.
The first one needed new tyres, it had four 175/R13 tyres. The front two had been replaced last year. The owner wanted the other two replacing which was an easy enough job.
It was easy to get a jack under the trailer and onto the main frame, raised the trailer on one side and removed a wheel and took it into the van to replace the tyre. The valve stem was unscrewed and the air let out of the tyre, I then broke the beads on either side and removed the tyre from the rim. The old valve was cut out and a new valve inserted into the hole. A new tyre was put on the rim and inflated to 50 psi, it was then put onto the balancing machine and spun to show any in discrepancies, weights were then added to the rim to counterbalance the errors. Once complete the wheel was fitted back on the trailer and the wheel nuts tightened up to the correct torque.
I then moved the jack to the other side of the trailer and repeated the operation.
Finally I took the spare wheel off of its holder and gave is a check over, it was 9 years old and had cracks appearing on both sidewalls and within the tread area. I checked the pressure and it was down to 20 psi (not much use if needed in an emergency). I pumped it up to the correct pressure and then informed the owner that ideally they should change the tyre as is was in poor condition.
I updated the invoice and added some notes before emailing a copy to the customer. Before I left I popped an advertising leaflet through the door openings of the other horse trailers in the same stables.
A few days later and here I am back at the same stables. One of the other owners had clipped a gate post while out and bent the rim of one wheel as well as bending the wheel arch inwards so that it was rubbing on the tyre. She was grateful for my leaflet and decided to give us a try.
I was asked to see if the wheel and tyre could be checked to see if they were OK to use and to see if anything could be done with the wheel arch.
I removed the damaged wheel and deflated the tyre, I was then able to hammer the rim back into shape. The tyre was checked and it had suffered no damage so it was refitted to the rim and re-inflated and balanced.
I then took a look at the wheel arch and found that the main support bracket was bent inwards and that the securing rivets had snapped off. I was able to bend the bracket back to the correct shape and inserted two nuts and bolts to secure it in place.
The wheel was put back on the hub and tightened to the correct torque setting, I gave the wheel a spin to ensure it cleared the wheel arch and that all was fine, I then checked all of the other tyres for the correct pressures and dates. All four tyres on the trailer were 6 years old, the spare was 12 years old although it looked good, with no sign of cracking. I finally completed the invoice and submitted it to the customer, with a note mentioning the condition of the spare.
Should you need new tyres for your horse trailer then please give us a call at Hometyre, we are a mobile service, so we will come to you. Also please check your spare as this is one tyre that most owners forget to look at.
Fixing a wheel arch is not something we at Hometyre would normally do, but in this case it was an easy fix.
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