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8 New Goodyear EfficientGrip tyres reach an AA rating

Goodyear has just announced that the latest AA rated passenger car tyres have arrived.

Eight sizes of Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance tyres meeting the wet grip and rolling resistance criteria to give them this ultimate Euro label grading.

Goodyear is now providing one of the largest numbers of tyre sizes with the Euro AA tyre label grade. These new sizes complement the extensive range of 53 BA rated tyres Goodyear already have on the market.

The arrival of these latest sizes are all new XL fitments, which are often the most likely candidates for this top level of performance. The Efficient grip range became the focal point of Goodyears development for an AA rated tyre after it had an AA tyre at the Reifen 2012 show. Pirelli showcased its Cinturato P7 Blue tyre in one 17" tyre at the same show, and Bridgestone promised that its Ecopia EP001S tyre would come with AA sizes.

Other manufacturers that have reached AA ratings include: Hankook, Kuhmo, Nokian and Michelin.

Lie Junis, director of public affairs at Goodyear said " We committed to labelling in 2012 and continue to see the value of highly labelled tyres to our customers and the community at large".

He continued "Today we build on that commitment, delivering tyres that achieve top ratings in the tyre labelling scheme. And with it, a delivered commitment from Goodyear to help vehicles improve fuel consumption thanks to low rolling resistance, and improve safety thanks to improved wet grip. At the same time we continue to ask the European Union for more enforcement, as we feel that today's label grades are an excellent approach to better informing consumers of the tyre's benefits. However, the label only takes into account three criteria, while our own product development team looks at over 50 to ensure we can deliver a safe, solid and high-quality product to market."

The AA label is the highest grade set out by the European tyre label regulations, and signifies a tyre that has attained an 'A' grade in both fuel efficiency (rolling resistance) and wet grip.

Goodyears AA tyres will will roll out to the market from this month. The eight EfficiencyGrip Performance tyres that have gained the AA rating are:

Goodyear EfficientGrip AA tyre

• 205/55R16 94W XL

• 205/55R17 95V XL

• 215/55R16 97H XL

• 215/55R16 97W XL

• 215/55R17 98W XL

• 225/50R17 98V XL

• 225/55R17 101W XL

• 225/60R16 102W XL

If you are looking for new tyres consider

using Hometyre Sussex, we are a mobile service

and will come to you at a time and place of your



What to do if you get a flat tyre

Most drivers will get a flat tyre at some time, it can be caused by a number of reasons.... hitting a pothole or kerb, getting a foreign object stuck in the tyre, corrosion of the wheel rim itself or a leaking valve.

Hitting a Pothole or kerb often results in a cut or split in the tyre sidewall, and this cannot be repaired, air loss is almost instantaneous and you will be stuck at the side of the road.

Foreign objects, corrosion and valve leaks, can often be a slower type of puncture, and if caught early enough can be repaired, if you haven't driven too far on the flat tyre. As soon as you know you have a flat tyre, if safe to do so pull over to the side of the road. If you have a mini compressor (The type that plug into the cigarette lighter) you can inflate the tyre and get yourself home, where you can call out Hometyre to sort out the problem.

If you don't have a mini compressor or you have split the tyre and air won't stay in it, then you can either call out one of the breakdown services or If you have a spare wheel, you could fit that, or some cars now come with a can of tyre repair (follow the instructions on the can).

Should you be on a Motorway then call out the recovery service, emergency phones are located every few hundred yards, or use a mobile phone.

If you have a spare wheel and want to fit it, here are some tips on how to go about it.

1. Make sure your vehicle is on flat, hard, level ground. You don't want the jack sinking into the ground or slipping out from under the vehicle, causing further damage and possibly injuring yourself.

2. Check your vehicle manual to find out where the jack and wheel brace is located, also where the jacking points are. It will also tell you where your spare wheel is located and how to get it out. You should also check if you have locking wheel nuts, as to the location of the locknut socket, as without this, you will not get the lock nuts off.

3. Make sure your car won't move before you jack it up. With the engine off, put the car into either first or reverse gear or 'park'(if an Automatic), put the handbrake on, and if you have them put some chocks (a brick, rock, piece of wood) behind and in front of the wheel opposite the one you are changing.

4. Before jacking the car up, you need to loosen the wheel nuts slightly, this is because if the nuts are too tight, once the car is in the air, the wheel an often turn when you try to loosen the nuts. Place the wrench on each nut and turn it about half a turn, if tight you may need to put your foot on it and use our weight to turn the wrench.

5. Get your spare wheel out and check its pressure, use the mini compressor to top it up if required. With space saver wheels these are often pumped up to 60 psi, even though your other tyres may be around 30 psi, check your manual. Get the jack out and place it under your vehicle according to the manual next to the wheel you are going to change. Jacking points are usually under the sill, and are sometimes marked with an arrow head.

6. Jack the car up, by winding the handle until the wheel is clear. If at any point the vehicle starts to slip, or the jack starts to tilt over, wind it back down, re-level the jack and try again.

7. Using the brace, undo each nut and remove the punctured wheel.

8. You now need to put the spare wheel onto the hub, this is easier with cars that have nuts as the bolts stick out of the hub making it easier to locate them and hang the wheel while you put the nuts back on. Vehicles with bolts are slightly more difficult as you have to fit the wheel onto the small ledge of the hub and rotate the wheel to line up the holes before you can put the bolts back in.

9. Once on put all the nuts/bolts back on and tighten them up finger tight. Lower the car slowly till it is resting on the replaced wheel. You can now use the brace to tighten the nuts, use your foot to put a final bit of pressure, but don't jump up and down on the wrench as this would be too tight.

10. Put the jack, wrench and punctured wheel back into your boot, and remove any chocks from the other wheels. You should now be sae to continue your journey.

If driving on a space saver wheel, remember that these are generally limited to 50 mph as they are smaller and thinner than normal wheels. Also remember to get the punctured tyre fixed or replaced as soon as possible. If you are stuck at the side of the road or at home with a flat tyre, then give us a call at Hometyre, if we have a van in the vicinity we will be happy to come out and either fix the puncture, replace the tyre, or just fit the spare for you. Call us on 0333 444 5454


Check both Front and rear tyre sizes before ordering.

If you are about to order new tyres for your vehicle, depending of the make of car it may be worth checking the sizes on the front and rears, as some cars have different sizes front and rear. This is especially the case on some BMW, Mercedes and Jaguar models.

Last week I was called out to Aldwick do a job on a Mercedes CLK, this was the first time this customer had used a Mobile tyre fitting service and the customer had ordered tyres online, after checking just the front wheel size. Luckily our sales people at Hometyre called to confirm the time of fitting and asked if they had checked both sizes before ordering. This prompted the customer to go out to the vehicle and check, they then called us back to say that the sizes were different and could we change the order. Tyre sizes are shown on the side walls of all tyres, there is also information as to the tyre speed and loading as well as date codes. On this Mercedes the front tyres were 205/55R16, and the rears were 225/50R16. Changing and order like this is no problem, we would rather do this than turn up at a job with the wrong size tyres and find the problem then, as that means we have to make a return trip, which wastes time and fuel.

Once the correct tyres were ordered, I then turned up on the day with all four tyres, asked the customer for the car keys and If she knew the location of the locking wheel nut. She did, as her husband had pointed it out the day before, this saves me time in hunting around the car looking for it.

I jacked the car up and soon got to work changing the tyres, again because of the different tyre sizes, I like to work on both fronts first then both rears, as this way I only have to reset tyre changing equipment in the van and the wheel balancing machine once between changes.I soon had all four tyres changed and pumped up to the correct pressures, the wheels were put back on the car and torqued to the correct settings. The locking wheel nut key was put back into the boot and recorded on our invoice as to its location.

I then took payment using our debit card reader, and emailed the receipt through to the customer.


Locking wheel nut removal on a VW Transporter in Bognor Regis

It was almost the end of the working day when I got a call asking if I would go to a locking wheel nut removal in Bognor Regis on my way home.

The vehicle was a VW transporter and it was in the Halfords car park at Shripney.

I turned up to find the customer waiting with his van, he had been into Halfords to see if he could buy one of their cheap removers, he had checked the diameter of their tool and found it would not fit in the recess of his alloys, and after checking on the internet he found us at Hometyre Sussex and gave us a call.

The original problem came about when the customer decided to fit his winter wheels & tyres, when he pulled out the lock nut removal tool, he found that one of the pins had been broken off and the others were rounded off. (It was a 3 pin type lock nut with a revolving collar). The garage that had fitted new brake pads earlier in the year, had obviously gunned the lock nuts on, and damaged the tool, then put it back without mentioning the problem.

Luckily the customer had not bought the reverse thread tool from Halford as if it had fit within the recess, it would have just turned round and round on the revolving collar and could have been stuck on their making it very difficult to remove.

I took the removal tools out of my van and got to work on the first of the lock nuts, these had also been driven on very tightly as I was hammering away for around 20 minutes before it started to move and could be taken out. I then moved onto the other locknuts and continued to work on them until they were all out. It was tiring work and my arms certainly ached when I was finished, but at the same time I was very satisfied as it meant that I retained my 100% successful removal rate since 2013.

I then checked my box of nuts and found that I had 4 that would replace the removed locknuts. I then went round all the nuts loosening them off and torquing them back up to the correct settings for the vehicle. I finally checked all the tyres and filled in the Hometyre report, before taking a debit card payment from the customer and letting him get off home.

If you ever find yourself in the unfortunate position to have a missing or damaged lock nut tool, then do not try the cheap reverse thread removers, as they can cause more damage and make normal removal very difficult, call us at Hometyre first, we know what we are doing and will do the job correctly.


Tyre labels and winter tyres

Over the last year there has been lot of discussions about the benefits of the European tyre label, which gives a A to G grading on wet grip and fuel efficiency, as well as a noise level in decibels.

While this is beneficial when choosing summer tyres, it has not been so useful when checking winter tyres, as the testing is made at 25 degrees Celsius. Yet winter tyres only come into their own at temperatures of below 7 degrees C.

The performance results for wet braking rate a tyre on its stopping distance in wet weather, with 'A' being the shortest and 'G' being the longest. The rubber compounds in winter tyres are softer than summer tyres and offer their best performance at lower temperatures, this means that the EU test is actually very confusing as it doesn't show a true representation of what the tyre is designed to do, which is give good grip in snow, or cold conditions.

When it comes to fuel efficiency again the testing when carried out at higher temperatures doesn't favour winter tyres. Winter tyres are designed with many small slits in the tread blocks called 'sipes', the idea being that these sipes give extra bite so that the tyre is able to give grip on ice, snow and slush. This design for winter tyres means that they are less fuel efficient than summer tyres. So you will generally see winter tyres having a higher labeling letter, which is again not so true a measurement of its ability. Although the difference between the best and worst tyres in the test probably amounts to less that a tank full of fuel over the life of the tyre.

When it comes to noise levels, this is based on the road noise levels that a tyre generates. Winter tyres don't perform so well in noise levels and the chunkier tread block design with the additional sipes all add to winter tyres being more noisy than summer tyres.

It is a pity that the European union has not come up with a different way of testing winter tyres at correct usage temperatures and showning how well they handle in snow and ice, especially as in some European countries winter tyres are mandatory. see here.

If you want advice on winter tyres give us a call at Hometyre.


Stay safe on the roads in frosty and icy conditions

The Christmas holidays are over for most of us and we will be venturing back on to the roads on Monday morning. The forecast for Sunday night and Monday morning is one of minus 2 to minus 3 degrees centigrade accross most of the country. Here are a few tips on how to drive safetly in frosty, icy conditions. Check weather conditions before driving, ideally do not drive in icy or snowy conditions unless absolutely necessary. If you do have to venture out, take care and allow more time for any trip. At this time of year it is recommended to take the following items with you, de-icer, an ice scraper, torch, jump leads(flat batteries are the No1 call out reason for the AA at this time of year), a small shovel, a blanket, warm clothing and boots. You could even go as far as taking emergency food and a flask with a hot drink in case you break down or get stuck. Ensure you leave extra distance between yourself and the vehicle in front, not just when driving but also when stopped, as this allows space for any error or unusual manoeuvre. If the road is slippery or you are on snow, try moving off in second gear, wheels spin more slowly and you will get better grip. Check your tyres for tread depth - ideally it is recommended to have at least 3mm of tread depth in this cold weather. Also check your tyre pressures, make sure they are correct according to your vehicle requirements. Also consider buying a set of winter tyres these are designed for use in temperatures of below 7 degrees centigrade, at these low temperatures the rubber in summer tyres harden increasing braking distances and giving reduced grip. This is where winter tyres come into their own, they are not just for use in the snow as some people in the UK think. Also should you be considering travelling to Europe for a winter holiday, then in some countries winter tyres are mandatory.

Winter tyres are the safest option

Tyresafe the independant tyre safety organisation has just sent out a reminder to all motorists not to be complacent this year, just because we have had a mild start to the winter. The safety organisation recommends that all motorists should have a set of winter tyres, but has also said that all-season tyres also provide an acceptable balance between summer and winter performance.

Winter tyres are ideal on British roads from October right through to the spring when temperatures rarely get above 7 degrees Celsius.

Stuart Jackson Chairman of tyresafe said "We've had one of the mildest autumns on record, but the colder, wetter weather is now most definitely here, bringing with it more hazardous driving conditions. While we can't know for sure if we will experience snow this year, we can be certain that drivers fitting winter tyres will have better grip and safety, throughout the entire winter period".

Many drivers in the UK mistakenly think that winter tyres only offer benefits when driving on snow and ice, this is not correct. As when temperatures drop below 7 degrees Celsius the tread compound in summer tyres begin to harden and as such they have reduced levels of grip. Winter tyres contain more natural rubber, this minimises the hardening effect and gives more grip in the cold and wet.

Tests carried out by the British tyre manufacturers association proved that a car travelling at 60 mph on a wet road at 5 degrees celsius stopped 5 metres shorter when fitted with winter tyres.

A alternative option is to fit all-season tyres, as these offer a more balanced performance without the need to change tyres between seasons.

Even if you do decide not to fit winter tyres, then you should at least ensure that your tyres have adequate tread depth. The minimum legal requirement in the UK is 1.6mm, but deeper tread does provide safer motoring, especially in wet conditions.

Always remember that illegal tyres can carry a fine of up-to £2500 and 3 penalty points on your licence per tyre.

Should you like more information on winter tyres, or wish to purchase a set then give us a call at Hometyre. We have some special offers at the moment on Nokian tyres, and if you are purchasing 4 tyres, then we offer a discount as a bulk buy.


Travelling to see family this christmas

If you are planning to use your car to travel any distance this festive period, then it might be a good idea to check your tyres first. Its no good waiting until Christmas eve, then finding you need a couple of new tyres, as most tyre depots will not be able to help you at the last minute, especially if you have unusual tyre sizes. Driving to an airport with a fully laden car can show up any tyre faults, and the plane won't wait for you.... you could lose an expensive holiday.

Good maintenance of your tyres could not only save you from an accident, but can also help reduce car expenditure. It is recommended to check your tyres monthly or before going on a long trip. Follow these tips:

1. If possible rotate your tyres occasionally, this is good for tyre wear, but also give you the chance to have a good look around each tyre for any possible problems (See point 2).

2. Have a check around the outer and inner walls of your tyres looking for any cuts or tears. If possible check around the tread, again looking for splits, any embedded foreign object or even a puncture (A screw can stay in a tyre for weeks or months, without causing the tyre to lose air, but then at some point it may get pulled out through cornering or braking causing a fast deflation. We at Hometyre can repair a puncture to British standards.

3. Check the tread depth, even though the minimum legal requirement in the UK is 1.6mm, in wet conditions it is recommended to have at least 3mm otherwise you risk aquaplaning if you hit a puddle.

4. Learn how to check a tyres age, on one side of the tyre are the letters DOT these are followed by some code letters & numbers, then often in an elipse you will find 4 numbers these represent the date of manufacture. i.e. 2114 is week 21 of 2014. Ideally tyres should be changed when they are more than 5 years old, after this the rubber starts to harden braking distances increase and cracks appear not only on the sidewalls but also between the tread blocks.

5. We would also recommend having the wheel alignment and balancing checked at least once a year. Bad alignment will cause premature wear on one side of a tyre. You may notice that your car constantly pulls to one side, or the steering wheel is on an angle when driving in a straight line, these are signs that the alignment is out. Again we at Hometyre can correct you wheel alignment on site using our laser alignment equipment. For more info see here.

6. Most modern vehicles do not come with a spare wheel, many drivers are unaware of this until the time comes when they need one. Have you familiarized yourself with the contents of your boot? Many new cars have a mini compressor and a can of spray sealer, this sealer only works on a puncture in the tread area, it will not work on any sidewall damage. Have you replaced your can of sealer if it has been used previously? If you have a spare tyre, have you checked its pressure? There is no point in trying to fit your spare on the side of the road only to find it is flat.

7. If travelling long distances, then it is good to take regular breaks, not only for the driver, but to also allow your tyres to cool down.

8. If you are planning on taking your car abroad for a winter break, then you may want to check the relevant tyre regulations in the countries you will be travelling through. As in some European countries it is mandatory to have winter tyres. See regulations here.

Above all have a safe trip, and should you need tyres or advice, before your winter vacation, then give us a call at Hometyre.


Prepare your car for winter

It looks like winter is well and truly here, snow is already falling in Scotland and on high ground in the north of England. Temperatures have dropped, and wet weather and gales will hit most of the UK over the next few days.

Now is the time to ensure your car is ready for the winter. Quinten Wilson the Sunday Mirror's motoring correspondent wrote in his latest column that now is the time to get your car serviced, top-up the antifreeze and check your battery (Battery failures over the winter period is one of the main reasons for call outs by the AA & RAC). Remember also to carry a phone charger, blankets, boots and supplies just in case you get stranded. It is also recommended to carry a small folding shovel if possible. Quinten also mentions that now is the time to get a set of winter tyres before they sell out. Some sizes are already scarce, as buyers in the North have been buying winter tyres since November.

We at Hometyre have been busy in the last week either swapping customers summer tyres for their winter tyres, or supplying and fitting new winter tyres.

Because winter tyres are only used for around 4 months of the year, for the average mileage driver they tend to last for 3 to 4 winters. This also extends the life of your summer tyres as they get a four month rest every year.

We have some great offers on Nokian winter tyres this year, but you will need to call in for prices as they are not shown on our website. Prices for a set of winter tyres are not as high as some people think. A set of four budget winter tyres can be bought and fitted for as little as £248 (depending of the size and brand you choose). Also because you are buying four tyres, we give you a discount compared to buying single tyres.hometyre_vital_for_winter_months

Many people in the UK think we don't need winter tyres as we don't get that much snow, especially here in the south. But what they don't realise is that winter tyres are not just designed for use in snow. They are made with a different rubber compound than summer tyres, ensuring that they stay soft and pliable in temperatures of below 7 degrees centigrade. This will give greater grip during the winter months, helping with acceleration, cornering and braking.

Also if you are considering a trip to Europe, then you need to check the regulations in the countries you will be visiting / crossing as in some countries winter tyres are mandatory over the winter months. You can check European regulations on our website here.


Morgan Plus 4

I was called out to an interesting little job on a Morgan Plus 4. The owner called us out as it had a slow puncture in one tyre and would lose all its air over a week.

Once I turned up at the job a bit more information came out from my discussion with the owner. The car was only two years old and has only ever been driven for around 2000 miles, so it was fairly new. I was expecting to find a small hole in the tyre.

The customer told me that he had taken the car to a local tyre depot last week, and they had been unable to find the leak, had pumped up the tyre and sent him back home. now one week later, it was flat again, so he decided to call out Hometyre Sussex to see if we could find the problem and sort it out for him.

I jacked the car up and removed the offending wheel, these are a modern version of a wire wheel. The rim itself is sealed with an internal ring, that stop the wire spokes from going through to the inside, which means that a normal tubeless tyre is fitted, instead of needing an inner tube.

My first job was to pump the tyre up to its normal operating pressure of 29 psi, I then took a quick look around the tyre for any obvious sign of a nail or screw. I couldn't see anything so it was then out with the leak detector which is sprayed around the rim and valve. If any leak is present bubbles will appear. Being a newish wheel I was not expecting to find a leak around the rim, as this is usually caused by corrosion on older wheels. No bubbles appeared, so I moved onto the valve, again this showed no signs of any leak. It was now a case of going back over the tyre with the leak detector looking for a very small hole. This took quite a time to check it all and again it was negative. I increased the pressure in the tyre to 40 psi, then went back over the rim and valve and eventually small bubbles appeared from around the valve. This was a steel valve that is bolted into the wheel rim. Now that I knew what the problem was I could go about solving it. I let the air out of the tyre, broke the bead, and removed the tyre from the rim. I then checked the valve and found that the nut was only finger tight. Rather than just tighten it, I took it out and checked the rubber seals on the valve, these were 'OK' so I refitted the valve and tightened it up properly, before re placing the tyre and inflating it. I checked the valve area again for any leaks, and not finding any, I balanced the wheel and refitted it to the car. Did a quick check on all the other tyres, before writing the invoice and taking a debit card payment.

The customer was happy with the job, and decided that he would take the car out that evening as a small celebration.

If you have a puncture or just need new tyres for your car give us a call at Hometyre.



Thousands of drivers have no idea on how to check their tyres.

A survey has just been completed this week following on from Octobers Tyre safety month, this survey showed that more than half (62%) of drivers are unaware of the legal requirements for tyres and the minimum tread depth. Also around one in 10 haven't checked their tyres in the last year. The research surveyed 1,000 motorists on how regularly they undertake essential tyre maintenance. That means roughly 18 Million drivers in the UK have no idea if their tyres are roadworthy or not.

I wonder how many of those drivers know that they could receive 3 penalty points per tyre and up to a £2,500 fine for illegal tyres.

According to figures released by the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency), more than 2,2 Million cars failed their MOT test last year due to the condition of their tyres. Further figures released by the DfT (Department for Transport) showed that more than 968 road casualties in the UK last year were caused because of illegal, defective or under inflated tyres.

When taking a driving test, they teach you how to check water and oil levels, but I personally think that they should also teach new drivers how to check tyres for wear, tread depth and pressure. Those four round circles of rubber are all that keep your vehicle on the road, they affect the handling and stopping distances of your vehicle, so they are an essential safety item, especially now as we are entering the winter months.

Even though the minimum legal requirement is 1.6mm, it is recommended that tyres should be changed at 3mm. As below this depth in wet weather, the grooves cannot disperse water fast enough, water builds up under the tyre and there is a greater possibility of aquaplaning.

Here in Sussex when changing customer's tyres, I often find tyres that are worn right through the canvas and have wires' protruding, that means that these tyres have been illegal for 1,000's of miles.

We at Hometyre also check the tyre pressures of our customer's cars and adjust them to the correct pressures. When doing these checks, I almost always find tyres that are around 10 to 15 psi below the recommended pressure. Worryingly still I find some drivers have inflated their tyres to the figure on the tyre sidewall (49psi), thinking this is the correct pressure for their car. The pressure figure on the sidewall is only there to state the maximum that particular tyre should be inflated to, it is not a normal driving pressure.

It is recommended to check tyres every 2 weeks, but even if the average driver checked their tyres every month, or when they fill up with fuel, that would be a great improvement. One method of doing a quick check on the depth of tread is to use a 20p coin. You insert the edge of the coin into the main grooves around the tyre, if you cannot see the outer rim of the coin then your tread is fine, if you can see the outer rim, then it is time to consider changing those tyres, as the rim on a 20p coin is 3mm.

While checking the tread depth, you should also check the pressures of all tyres, including the spare. There is no point in carrying a spare tyre if it is punctured or has no air in it. Your cars correct pressure requirements are generally in one of 3 places: either on a sticker inside the fuel filler lid, inside the driver's door or in the vehicles manual.

Should you find that your tyres need replacing, then take a look on the Hometyre website, or give us a call and we will give you advice on your tyres over the phone.


Winterisation charges on rental cars

Planning a trip to Europe this Winter? If you are planning to take your own vehicle, then check the various legal requirements in each country as shown on the Hometyre website here.

In some countries it is mandatory to have winter tyres from November through to March, in other countries, summer tyres are acceptable if they have over 4mm of tread. But in the event of an accident the insurance company may refuse to payout.

Snow chains may also be an option or even mandatory in some mountainous areas.

But if you are planning to rent a vehicle on your arrival, then watch out for 'winterisation charges' that some car rental companies are adding to the standard rates for tourists.

iCarhireinsurance company has researched five rental companies in seven European ski resorts (Barcelona, Geneva, Grenoble, Innsbruk, Sophia, Turin and Inverness), they found that in some areas either adding winter tyres or snow chains can add an extra £114 to the weeks rental charge. They found that the average 'winterisation' cost over the seven destinations was over £40.

In Austria and Germany winter tyres are mandatory, yet despite this Avis levy a £25 'winterisation charge' at Innsbruk. Snow chains must also be used where instructed in mountainous areas in France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Norway, Austria and Andorra.

The charge can also vary in different countries, for example Budget did not charge any extra in Geneva or Innsbruk, but did charage £57 in Barcelona, £40 in Turin and £24 in Grenoble.

Ernesto Suarez, CEO of icarhireinsurance said "why each individual customer should be held accountable for winter tyres that have been changed once for the winter season is ludicrous and is another example of hidden costs that can make the original rental price not such a good deal. It's frustrating that the rental companies use 'winter' as yet another opportunity to make money from their car hire customer, but unfortunately it's your responsibility and not the rental company's to make sure that you're driving with the correct equipment for wintery conditions".

In Inverness, where winter tyres are not mandatory, there was no additional cost for 'winterisation'.

Winter tyres are not just for the snow, even here in the South of England there are benefits, as winter tyres give better grip and shorter stopping distances in the cold and wet.

I have many customers who fit winter tyres from November through to March. Often people will say that there is a big additional cost to buy winter tyres, yet this is offset by not using your summer tyres over those same 4 months, so they will last longer.

We at Hometyre have a number of different winter tyres for sale on our website, or if you prefer give us a call to discuss the offers we have on Nokian tyres.



One job leads to another

On Friday I had what seemed to be a simple job, go to see a previous customer in Petworth check his tyres and fit either two or four 275/40R20 Pirelli Scorpion Zero Asymmetrical tyres to his Range Rover Sport.

I met the customer in the car park, and took a look around the vehicle, one front tyre was flat and had been put it the boot, the space saver was on the vehicle, this had caused the original request for new tyres. The other front tyre was down to the cords on the inside edge (new tyre required), the NSR tyre had a gash in the side wall with cords easily visible (new tyres required), the OSR tyre was worn on the inside edge, but was still legal as it had 3mm of tread remaining. But due to the 4x4 rule it is recommended that tyres on the same axle should have no more than 4mm difference in depth, as it can damage the vehicles differential. So it was agreed that we change all four tyres.

Due to the fact that the tyre wear was all on the inside edges, I recommended that the tracking be checked and if required - adjusted. The customer agreed as this would extend the life of the tyres and improve the handling.

I got to work on removing the first tyre from the wheel that was in the boot, and soon had the new tyre fitted and balanced. I then jacked the vehicle up and got out the locking wheel nut socket only to discover that it was cracked and misshapen. I showed it to the customer who said that he must have damaged it earlier when he took the flat tyre off, as the nuts were extremely tight and he had jumped up and down on the spanner.Range Rover locknut damaged

The socket would not fit in the wheel nut opening, and I had to hammer it back in shape closing the split, to be able to use it. I then used it to remove 3 of the lock nuts, but the last nut was also greatly over-tightened so the socket just opened up again and again slipping round the locknut.

I showed it to the customer, who agreed that it was his fault, and could I do anything to resolve the situation.. I said that "yes I could do a locking wheel nut removal for a nominal fee" as I carry a special removal tool just for Range Rovers. It took some work, but I eventually managed to get the stubborn nut off, the customer would have to replace all four locknuts at a later date, as we do not carry spares.

I was then able to continue with my job of changing all four tyres, at the same time while the front wheels were off, I loosened up the locking nuts on the track rod ends.

Once all four wheels were back on the vehicle, I took it for a quick test drive to settle the suspension back in place. It was then on with the wheel alignment job. Curved disks were put under the front wheels to help with movement; a clamp was put on the steering wheel to hold it straight, and the laser equipment was put on the wheels. I then checked the readings and compared them to the correct settings for the vehicle. They showed a reading of -8 degrees, this vehicle was supposed to be +2.4 degrees, meaning it was 10.4 degrees away from where it needed to be. This explained the bad tyre wear.

I then adjusted the track rods until I got the settings correct. All the equipment was removed and I then took the vehicle for a test drive, confirming that everything felt right and the vehicle drove in a straight line. I then completed the vehicle report, updated the invoice, and took payment from the customer. All in all it took me 3 hours to complete the work, but at least the customer now has a safe vehicle that will handle correctly.

If you need new tyres, wheel alignments or a lock nut removal give us a call at Hometyre Sussex.


Half a Wheel lock nut

One of this week's jobs was a locking wheel nut removal on a Mercedes 'C' Class in Goring, West Sussex.

The customer explained that he had tried to remove his locking wheel nut as normal using the removal socket and that the nut itself had split in half.... could we still remove it. He said that there was approx. 6~7mm of the original nut head left but there was restricted access as the hole in the wheel rim was narrow and deep. He needed to get the wheel off as he had to change his brake pads ready for an MOT the next day.

Rather than refuse what sounded like a difficult job, I asked if he could send a photo to me by email so that I could assess the problem further. From the photo I could see what he meant. It was a McGard type lock nut with a hardened top, the hardened top had come off, leaving a stump of a lock nut with a small spigot still protruding. These Mercedes Locknuts can be very difficult to remove when complete, yet alone when they are split, as they are long bolts, and for some reason they always seem to bind in the hole, whether this is through design, or if they just rust in place.

Since I already had a job booked in, near to his address, I said that I would call round and try my best to remove the nut for him. I arrived at his place about an hour later; he first showed me the other lock nuts that he had removed and the locknut key plus the broken off top of the offending nut.

My first job was to tighten up the other nuts on the wheel to try and remove a little pressure on the locknut, this proved impossible, as the other nuts were already over tightened. He explained that he had recently had his tyres changed at a well known 'fast fit' tyre depot and they had used an air gun in replacing the nuts. That explained a lot, as air guns should not be used on McGard locknuts, this is bad practice as they should be torqued to the correct settings for the vehicle along with the rest of the nuts. (We at Hometyre always tighten nuts by hand using a torque wrench). McGard nuts come with a warning on the box showing that air guns should not be used. This could also explain the broken lock nut, as it is possible that when tightening it up they had actually damaged it.

While the customer went off to make a cup of tea, I got to work on the locknut. I have a number of different tools in my van, and selected the most appropriate, hoping that the teeth in the tool would bite into what was left of the nut. I worked on it for around 10 minutes, without success. I then decided to try a different tool to bite into the edge of the remaining nut, and twist it off with a breaker bar. It took some pressure, and at first I thought the tool had slipped off, but no... it had worked and out came the locknut. Success, one very happy customer and one relieved Hometyre technician.

Time for a well earned cuppa. I still have my 100% success rate for locknut removals for the last 2 years.

The customer told me that he had spent some time studying the internet looking at various tools for home removal; he even went to Halfords to measure their tool, only to find it would not fit in the wheel hole. He also read a forum where one guy had said "leave it to the professionals, they have the right tools and know what they are doing". I am glad he did, as there was little for me to work with in the first place, and if he had damaged it further, then I might not have got it out.

If you have a locking wheel nut problem, give us a call at Hometyre.. details here


Four new tyres for a Nissan

One of my jobs yesterday was to change the tyres on a Nissan Infinity EX37 this is one of the premier line of Nissan vehicles. The customer had seen me at his neighbours in Rustington a few times, and decided to give Hometyre a try. He went to the Hometyre website and booked his car in to have two Nankang AS1 - 225/45 R19 tyres fitted to the front of his car. I arrived at the address and met the customer, he explained that he owned a small garage locally, where they maintained and sold cars, but did not have the facilities to fit tyres. He wanted me to change the tyres on this car, and possibly some of the other cars at the garage. I asked for the car keys and for the locking wheelnut socket, which was in the glovebox. My first job was to undo the locking wheel nuts, before jacking the car up removing the rest of the nuts and taking off the first wheel. These wheels are painted black, they had been scratched a few times and touched up around the edges. Not wanting to damage any more of the paintwork I used plastic covers on my equipment to remove the tyres, at the same time being careful as the vehicle is fitted with TPMS sensor valves. These valves can easily be damaged if a tyre fitter pulls the tyres off without placing the valves in the right place as the pressure involved can crack the plastic sensor casing. Once removed I cleaned up the sealing bead area, before soaping up the wheel and tyre, it was then a reversal of the removal process in putting the new tyre back on, again watching out around the TPMS valve. Once fitted, I inflated the tyres to the correct pressure of 36psi. I had checked the pressure requirements using the label inside the drivers door. The wheel was then put on to my electronic balancer, and spun to find the right places to put the weights. Because these are black wheels, I hid the weights behind the spokes, to give the best appearance. I then refitted the wheel to the car and tightened the nuts up to the correct torque settings for the vehicle. I then lowered to car and moved the jack to the other side to repeat the process on the other front wheel. Once completed I put my equipment away, then checked the rear tyres for tread depth and wear, as well as checking and adjusting the pressures. Both had around 3mm of tread in the middle, but both inside and outside edges were worn lower. I filled in the Hometyre vehicle report and invoice, which would be emailed to the customer later. The locking wheel nut socket was put back into the glove box and I then handed the keys back to the customer. At the same time I told him my findings on the rear tyres. He had already paid for the work in advance using our online service. I was surprised to find a new job pop into my online system a few hours later to go back the next day and fit two Bridgestone RE050A 245/40R19 tyres to the rears. The customer explained that they had decided to sell the car, and wanted to have new tyres all round before it went. So whether you are having tyres fitted for yourself or because it is at the end of a lease and needs a minimum tread depth, or to sell your vehicle, just give us a call at Hometyre or check out our website.

Hometyre Sussex has become a Which? Trusted trader.

Hometyre Sussex Becomes a Which? Trusted trader.

Drivers around Sussex can have total confidence of getting good service at the right price from Hometyre Sussex, as they have just been endorsed as the first Which? Trusted trader mobile tyre dealers in the area.

To become a Which? Trusted trader, firms have to pass a rigorous and independent assessment process that includes a face-to-face evaluation by a professional assessor, a company credit check and most importantly vetting of customer references.

Mark Watson of Hometyre Sussex said "We are part of the Hometyre Group, providing a Mobile tyre service across the area, as part of this we are delighted to be recognised as a Which? Trusted trader. Even though tyres are made of rubber, their classification and construction is very technical. They have to work in harmony with your vehicle; there are lots of variables such as your braking, suspension and driving styles to consider when selecting new tyres. This is something that internet sites do not often take into account. Our sales team are highly trained and will talk you through the process, making an informed choice, at the right price, for your budget and your safety. After your home, your vehicle is generally the most expensive item you own, you need to know you are in safe hands. Hometyre Sussex has built up a large customer following with customers from Portsmouth right through to Brighton. If customers trust you and have confidence in your advice and skill, they will keep coming back. There are lots of these schemes out there, but the Which? Name is one that consumers know they can trust, so we are very proud to be endorsed by them".

"Stephen McCluskey, Managing Director at Which? Trusted Traders, said: "All consumers are likely to need the services of a trader at some point in their lives but many feel nervous hiring a stranger and worry they will be ripped-off. By choosing a firm endorsed by Which? Trusted Traders, consumers can be confident in the service they'll receive." Which? Trusted Traders is an endorsement scheme that recognises reputable and trustworthy traders and is a free to use service for consumers who can go online to access the database of traders.

1. Visit to see the full list of providers in any given area, with approved traders highlighted with the Which? Trusted Traders logo.

2. Hometyre not only provides a Mobile tyre service providing new tyres for cars, vans, 4x4's, Caravans, Motorhomes and Horsetrailers, but we also carry out ' Puncture repairs, wheel alignments, wheel balancing, valve replacements, and locking wheel nut removals'.

Which_2 Mark of Hometyre Sussex showing the Which? sign added to his van.


Should you opt for Nitrogen in your tyres?

I have many customers who ask whether they should put Nitrogen in their tyres rather than air. We at Hometyre believe that there is no great benefit to normal car tyres and you will end up paying more, as a Nitrogen fill up is often around £1 a time.

Tests have been made on aircraft and racing car tyres and these have proved beneficial, but their tyres are or a far higher quality than your normal car tyre and consistency or pressure and temperature is more important.

The reasons for using Nitrogen are:

Better tyre pressure retention. - A tyre will always lose pressure over time, Nitrogen has larger molecules than air, so seepage through the rubber should be slower. Tests were carried out in the USA over a year, they filled a set number of tyres with Nitrogen and another set with air. Pressures were checked after a year and the tyres filled with air had lost 3.5 psi, the tyres filled with Nitrogen had lost 2.2psi. So the Nitrogen filled tyres won the test but the amount of pressure difference lost is only 1.3psi a very small amount. Temperature also plays a part in pressure loss, and it was shown that a temperature rise or fall of 10 degrees would lose 1psi of pressure.

Cooler running temperatures. - Pressurised air contains a small amount of water, which as a tyre heats up during driving it turns into a gas, this expands increasing the tyre pressure. Nitrogen is a dry gas, so the temperature in the tyre remains more stable, and so does the pressure. Again tests from 2008, showed that when plotted on a graph, the differences in tyre pressure were so similar that they could hardly be seen.

Prevents wheel rot /corrosion.- Again the water vapor in air can effect a steel wheel, but only if the paint is damaged on the inside. This is easily fixed by cleaning off the corrosion and adding a sealer. The same happens on alloy wheels when weights are hammered on damaging the paint the aluminium alloy then reacts with the steel clip producing aluminium oxide. This forms bubbles under any paint allowing air to escape. Again this is the same easy fix as steel wheels. Nitrogen filled tyres won't have the same corrosion from within the tyre, but any water on the outside of the wheel touching any paint damaged area, will have the same corrosion problems. So in general there is no real benefit to Nitrogen.

Improved fuel efficiency. - This is often mentioned as tyres that run on a consistent pressure will save fuel. but since the difference between Air and Nitrogen loss is so little there is only a small benefit. But as a driver if you check your tyres regularly and keep the air pressure correct then there will be no advantage.

Is Nitrogen worth having? With the amount it would cost you to pay for Nitrogen fills over a year you would be better off buying yourself a tyre pressure gauge checking your tyres monthly and pumping them up correctly. Also finding a tyre depot that offers Nitrogen is rare, so you would have to drive further costing you more in fuel, or if you have to add air to the tyres using a pump at the side of the road, then any little benefit will be lost.

The air we breathe is 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen and 1% other elements, to get the best benefits for tyres, you would need to have Nitrogen at 93%, so you are paying much more for only 15% more nitrogen.

For these reasons we at Hometyre do not believe that nitrogen gives any significant improvement. Stick to air, and check those tyres on a monthly basis. As having the correct pressures, will give better tyre wear, and keep your braking at the optimum distance.


Lock nut removal, rim seal and a puncture repair on one job.

I was called out on what started off as a normal locking wheel nut removal job, but it soon got complicated.

McGard Lock nut

The owner of the Mercedes S class met me at his car to explain that he had taken it into a local garage in Worthing to have new brake pads fitted. The garage took the car into the

workshop and tried to take the McGard locking wheel nuts off using their air wrench (something that should never be done, as McGards come with a warning sticker showing that they should only be removed by hand). The inevitable happened and they sheared off the lock nut removal tool in the lock nut itself, leaving a flush face on the lock nut. (See photo) They then shrugged their shoulders and told the customer they couldn't help him anymore and it was now his problem to get the lock nuts removed.

After a quick search on Google, he found us at Hometyre, with one quick phone call, I was soon booked in and made my way over to his house.

I decided to leave the locknut with the smooth face till last and concentrated on the other three lock nuts first. The two rear nuts came out with about 5 minutes work without too much of problem using our specialist tool, the other front nut took some work as it had been greatly over tightened by the last tyre fitter. But after around 10 minutes I had it out as well.

Now onto the difficult nut. Our specialist tool needs the original shape in the lock nut to work, so I could not use that. Luckily I carry two or three other types of removal tool, but due to the small access hole in the alloy wheel only two of them were of any good. One tool split after around 10 minutes work, and the lock nut was still stuck fast. It was then onto my last tool, it took an additional 10 to 15 minutes of work, a lot of sweat and some mumblings under my breath, but eventually with the aid of a 3 ft breaker bar I had the lock nut out.

The customer was grateful and then told me that he also had a problem with all four wheels, in that they all lose around 10 psi of air a week, and have to be continually topped up. Could I sort this out for him? .... of course I could.

I jacked the car up and removed the wheels, taking them into the van to find the source of the problem. I sprayed a leak detector around the rims, to find bubbles rising, showing that they were leaking - this is a common cause of slow deflations on wheels, as the alloys often become corroded allowing air to escape from under the paint. The solution is to remove the tyre, clean off any loose paint and corrosion before applying a sealer and re fitting the tyre.

In this case, it wasn't just corrosion that was the problem, at some point the wheels had been refurbished, and the painter had not rubbed the inside of the wheels down with sandpaper, he had just added a few coats of paint over the old paint. This had come loose allowing the paint layers to separate allowing air to escape. It was a simple fix, I cleaned off all the new paint and corroded areas inside the wheels, then added a sealer, put in a new valve, refitted the tyre and finally rebalanced the assembly before putting it back on the car. This was repeated on the other three wheels, except that on the final wheel, I found a nail in the center of the tread, which required a puncture repair.

After checking with the customer that It was OK to go ahead and repair the tyre, I glued in a patch plug to British standards, giving a good seal, and making the tyre safe again.

All four wheels were fitted back on the vehicle, using a torque wrench to ensure the bolts were tightened to the correct specifications. I then made out a vehicle report which we email to the owner, and took payment using a secured card reader.

One happy customer. So should you need locking wheel nut removals, puncture repairs, rim seals, new tyres, wheel alignments or just replacement valves.... give us a call at Hometyre.


Part worn dangerous tyres that should never be sold.

Two independent bodies Tyresafe and the National Tyre Distributors Association have just conducted the largest-ever nationwide investigation into part-worn tyres.

It revealed that more than a third of those tyres inspected were damaged or faulty and should never have been sold in the UK. Among the faults found by these assessors included dangerous puncture repairs, damaged beads, exposed cords, penetration damage and evidence or being run under-inflated (Damaging the sidewalls), all factors that can make these tyres dangerous.

There were 817 part worn tyres in the study and additionally the assessors found that 97% of these tyres had not been marked with the wording "Part-worn" which is a legal requirement.

The chairman of Tyresafe, Stuart Jackson said, "The results of this investigation are truly horrific. Your safety on the road is reliant on the condition of your tyres, so it is essential that retailers only offer for sale either brand new tyres, or those used ones that have been carefully and thoroughly inspected to ensure they meet the various requirements laid down by the law"

The consumer protection act says it is an offence for anyone to sell part-worn tyres that do not meet a number of principal requirements. The tyre must pass an inflation test, it must have at least 2mm of tread depth around its entire circumference, any repairs must have been carried out in accordance with the relevant British Standard and the tyre must be permanently marked 'part-worn' in letters of at least 4mm in height.

Stuart Jackson added "Previous investigations into the sale illegal part-worn tyres have focused on locations where there was a strong suspicion of improper behaviour, but these latest results show beyond doubt that this a national epidemic that needs tackling at the highest levels. We look forward to working closely with even more local councils, Government officials and Trading Standards Offices across the whole of the UK to eradicate this problem and help make our roads safer".

I personally have been out to a car that had had 4 part-worn tyres fitted only a few days previously, one had gone flat and the vehicle owner asked Hometyre to come and replace that tyre with a new one. (The side wall had ruptured). While on the job, I checked the other three tyres, one had a nail still in the shoulder of the tyre, one had a 25mm long split in the tread down to the cords and the third had a tread depth that went from 5mm on the outside down to 1mm on the inside, meaning that none of the tyres would have passed an MOT test. Also none of the tyres had 'Part worn' marked on them, which means they were sold illegally. Screw in tyre

The Tyresafe study comes on the back of a report by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency that stated that 2.2 million cars failed their MOT test in 2013 because of the state of their tyres. This means that millions of drivers and placing themselves and other road users at risk by driving on unsafe illegal tyres.

Further figures released by the Department for transport showed that more then 968 road casualties were caused in the UK in 2013 because of an accident involving illegal, defective or under-inflated tyres.

We are now entering that time of year with the winter approaching, roads will become wet and slippery, drivers need to be aware of this and check their tyres properly. Illegal tyres can leave to venerable to a number of hazards such as longer stopping distances, reduced grip and a higher risk of aquaplaning.

This month 'October' is tyre safety month, this is being promoted by Tyresafe, one of the simple checks they are asking drivers to do is to do a 20p coin check on their tyres. This involves putting a 20p coin into the grooves of your tyre, if you can see the outer rim on the coin then your tyres are at or near the legal limit and you should be considering changing them. If in doubt give us a call at Hometyre, if near we will call round and check your tyres for you.


Cold wet weather is here, Is your car prepared

When the cold and wet weather comes to the UK, we change our clothing to suit, yet not too many think of changing the car tyres.

Winter tyres are designed to be used in cold wet weather (British winter weather) just as much as they are for snowy conditions.

Once temperatures drop below 7 Degrees Centigrade, the rubber in summer tyres begins to harden, they lose grip and braking distances increase by more than double, compared to a winter tyre.

According to the Department of Transport, statistics show that accidents increase in the winter by 267%.

Why do winter tyres grip and summer tyres don't? Winter tyres have a larger percentage of natural rubber and silica in the compound to stop them from hardening as much in lower temperatures, they also have far more sipes (small slits across the tread) allowing the tyre to grip better on cold frosty surfaces, as well as snow.

If you are planning a skiing trip or winter break in Europe, then in some countries winter tyres or snow chains are mandatory, you can check European rules here on our website. CETRO (Committee for European Tyre Retailing Organisation) has been lobbying within the European Commission for a change in tyre laws across all of Europe, including the acceptance that winter tyres are safer to use in the winter months. If you are planning a winter trip to the North of Scotland, then winter tyres are recommended, but there is no law saying you must do it.

Richard Freeman of the AA, says "you are better off with 3mm or more, a change to a 3mm legal minimum would in our view, lead to an acceptable extra cost to drivers, as tyres with tread between 2mm to 3mm are still perfectly serviceable for normal driving the majority of the year. We recommend a change to 2mm, as beyond that point performance drops off markedly"

What other options are there?

All season tyres, these are designed to work throughout the year, they are a compromise between summer and winter tyres. These are not so popular in the UK, but they are emerging as a more popular choice for drivers who live in areas where occasional snowstorms are likely.

Snow tyres, These are really designed for extreme snow & icy conditions, these tyres have meal studs embedded into the tread, it is very rare to see these in the UK, and in some Countries they are banned as they damage the road surfaces if there is no snow layer.

Snow chains, These are a simple alternative for use in snow only, they can be kept in your boot and brought out as required. The only problem can be taking them on and off if the weather changes and the snow melts, as snow chains can slip on roads without snow. Some countries like Japan insist on all cars either having winter tyres or snow chains if venturing onto a motorway during any snow fall.

Why do we the British shy away from buying winter tyres? Most people in the UK believe that winter tyres are for use in snowy conditions, they do not realise the benefits to be had in cold wet conditions. Also there is the overall initial cost of buying a second set of tyres just for use over the winter periods. But there are overall savings to be had... summer tyres slip in the wet cold months causing more tyre wear. If you change to winter tyres in the cold months, then grip is improved, and you don't slip so much. It also means that your summer tyres, and then only used for around 7 to 8 months of the year, so they last longer. There is less chance of an accident if you have winter tyres, as braking distances improve over summer tyres in the winter months. Fewer accidents, mean less insurance companies have to payout, and overall insurance premiums reduce.


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