Check your car before that August bank holiday trip
If you are thinking of going away for the forth coming Bank Holiday in August or just preparing to go away on holiday, then checking your tyres early can save you money. For advice on tyre checks click here.
Worn tyres have reduced grip and are also more susceptible to picking up a puncture. If the tread is below the legal limit, then you could also be fined up to £2500 and 3 penalty points per illegal tyre if the police pull you over.
Just because a tyre looks good from the outside, it doesn't mean that the inside edge isn't worn. Ideally you need to get on your hands and knees and have a good look at the tyres. Especially those with the wider profiles. I regularly get called out to flat tyres, to find that the inside edge has worn right through to the wires, yet from the outside it still looks good.
A blow out could ruin your holiday plans, especially if you are travelling to an airport , as you could miss your flight. Also don't leave changing tyres till the last moment, as with the large varieties of tyre size on modern cars they can be difficult to source. Tyre depots don't carry all sizes in stock and it could take a day or so to get an odd sized tyre from a wholesaler. Ordering replacement tyres before you go means that you can choose the make/style of tyre that you want within your budget, leaving it until you have a problem by the side of the road means that you have to take what is available when you have your problem, this will also probably cost more (never mind the hassle).
Under inflated tyres increase fuel consumption, increase wear on the tyre, can be more susceptible to blow outs and increase your braking disances, as less of the tyre is in contact with the road.
Remember that with a fully loaded car the tyre pressures should also be adjusted, this information is normally on the drivers door jam or on the inside of the fuel cap cover, if not then the hand book will have this information. Also remember when returning from a holiday, to put your tyre pressures back to their normal settings.
Checking your cars fluids will mean that the engine should run more efficiently and cooler, improving fuel economy. Low engine oil will increase friction causing your engine to run hotter and reduce fuel consumption. Also long term damage to the bearing and surfaces inside the engine can be caused.
Low coolant will increase the engines temperature and can lead to head gasket failures.
Also remember to top up those windscreen washer bottles.
All these problems cost a lot more to fix after they have happened rather than a quick 5 minute check and top up before you leave. We can't help you with engine problems, but should you need tyres call Hometyre on 0800 783 9310 (Land line free phone) or 0333 444 5454 (mobile friendly number) and we will change and check your tyres before you go.
Tyron bands save the day
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 blow out.
Originally designed for the military, Tyron bands were fitted to many vehicles, 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, and camper vans.
Additionally as Tyron bands are a safety device, some insurance companies will offer up to a 20% discount if you have them 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 and require new tyres then you need to have them removed and refitted at the same time as changing the 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.
The photo below shows what is left of a tyre that has been driven on, 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 10 miles until he could get to the next off ramp and change his tyre.
For more info on Tyrons click here
photo by Mark Watson
Buying a used caravan, check those tyres.
One of this weeks jobs seemed simple enough at the start - replace two 14" tyres on a Swift caravan.
The customer had ordered two 185/14 GT Radial Maxmiler tyres, he had also confirmed that there were no Tyron bands fitted, so it should be an easy change over.
I arrived at the house on Hayling Island to see the caravan on the drive, it was against a fence, so would have to be moved to get to the near side wheel. Met the customer and had a quick chat, he had bought the caravan second hand and used it a few times last year on trips down to Devon. He had noticed a few cracks in one of the tyres, so decided to change them both before he used it this year.
I raised all four of the corner stays, placed the jack under the main axle and jacked one side of the caravan up, removed the wheel trim, and took out the bolts. This was the worst of the tyres and it was covered in cracks on the sidewalls but worse than that, I checked the date on the tyre, it was from 1985 so it was 29 years old. This is the oldest tyre I have removed from any caravan. See photo showing date code and cracks. As any caravan owner who is into their caravan knows, it is recommended to change the tyres every 5 ~7 years regardless of tread remaining. This is due to caravans being used infrequently, the rubber deteriorates and cracks start appearing.
I then removed the tyre from the rim to find that there was an inner tube inside, and that these rims have no bead, they are only designed to be fitted with inner tubes. A modern tubeless tyre will fit the rim, but if there is any loss in pressure, then the tyre can easily fall into the fitting well and come off the rim either damaging the caravan or worse causing it to tip over. I showed it to the customer and explained that the best solution for the moment would be to replace the new tyres using the existing inner tube, as we do not carry inner tubes and they need to be ordered. The chances being that this was also the original inner tube, so it will also be 29 years old. We could then come back at a later date and fit new inner tubes. Or another option would be to fit the tyres as tubeless, but to add Tyron bands as a safety device to keep the tyre on the rim in case of any deflation. The customer agreed to refit the original inner tube for the moment and he would then consider his options as to new tubes or Tyrons.
I soon had the old inner tube in, and the tyre replaced and inflated, then put it back on the caravan, lowered the jack and torqued the wheel bolts to the correct setting. Replaced the wheel trim and added a cable tie to stop it from getting lost should it come loose. With the customers help we pulled the caravan out and away from the fence to repeat the job on the opposite wheel. This was exactly the same, except that the tyre had been changed 14 years ago, the customer thought it would be OK to keep this tyre as it looked OK from the outside…. I explained about changing caravan tyres every 5 to 7 years, then showed him splits within the tread that he had not seen, so he was happy for me to go ahead and change it.
I then found that this tyre had no inner tube, and the last fitter had just fitted it to the rim, hoping the pressure would keep it from popping off. I had no choice, but to fit it the same way as there was no inner tube available, and again explained all of this to the customer, leaving him with the options of new inner tubes or Tyron bands.
I also recommended to the customer that he has the caravan serviced, as if the tyres were that old then maybe the gas and water has also not been checked for a long time.
Once complete the caravan was pushed back down the drive and against the fence, the corner stays were put down. Finally I completed my job report which would be emailed to the customer, again explaining his options and the work I had done. Finally I took payment using a debit card using our onboard card machine, and drove off to my next job.
So if you are considering buying a used caravan or have bought one recently, then please check the date codes on the tyres.
3 numbers on their own mean the tyres are from the 80's, 3 numbers with a triangle mean they are from the 90's, and four numbers are from 2000 onwards. For more info on caravan tyres click here.
Low mileage car, how often should I change the tyres?
If you are one of those drivers who do not do many miles in your vehicle, you may think that by clocking up low mileage your tyres will last longer, but this is not generally the case. Tyres have a lifespan that can be affected by how they are stored, used, are they in the sun, are they used regularly, tyre pressures, etc.
The Sunday Times motoring supplement "Ingear" gave a lowdown on the subject by answering a query from KB in Ashford.
KG wrote asking " The tyres on my Land Rover Discovery are 10 years old, I only do about 3,000 miles a year, mostly around town. Occasionally I tow a horse trailer, so the tyres need to be in good condition. Is there any law or insurance requirement to say if the tyres need to be changed after a certain time?"
The answer given in the motoring supplement stated "There is no legal time limit stating when tyres must be changed. The lifespan of a tyre depends on many factors, including usage and the conditions in which your vehicle is kept. To be legal, car tyres must have a tread depth of at least 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the tread and around the whole circumference. The sidewalls must have no obvious cuts or large cracks. There must be no cords showing.
Deterioration can be accelerated by driving on incorrect pressures, and infrequent, as well as frequent use.
The rubber compounds used in the manufacture of tyres will also degrade over time, due to exposure to sunlight and ozone, regardless of how the tyres are stored or used".
Tyre safe an independent organization that promotes tyre safety, says " As a rough guide most manufacturers agree, tyres need replacing at least every 10 years regardless of the amount of tread remaining, After that time, although your tyres may appear to be in good condition , the sidewalls could be cracking and be particularly unfit for pulling a heavy load, such as a horse box or trailer".
"Poor tyres will increase braking distances, give you less grip when cornering and could be more prone to a blowout. If you were to be involved in an accident there is a chance that your insurer may use the state of your tyres as a reason to reduce any insurance payout"
For example, Direct line insurance states: "If you are found to be at fault in the event of a car insurance claim, insurers may take your car's roadworthyness at the time of the accident into account. As a responsible car owner, it is down to you the driver, to ensure that your car is kept maintained between MOT tests".
"It may be unlikely but, if your tyres are defective you also run the risk of being charged with " Using a vehicle with defective tyres". This carries a maximum penalty of a fine of up to £2,500 and 3 penalty points on your licence per tyre."
To confirm the age of your tyres, you need to check the DOT code on the sidewall, it is a code stamped on one side of the tyre only. For tyres manufactured since the beginning of 2000, it is a four digit code. E.g 4809, this would denote week 48 in the year 2009. If there are only 3 numbers then the tyre could be from the 80's or if there are 3 digits with a triangle, this would be from the 90's.
If you own a caravan or motorhome, then tyres should be changed more regularly. The caravan club recommend changing these tyres every 5 to 7 years. I personally recommend the same for any horse trailer, as these get infrequent use, and are often left standing for long periods in damp fields.
Caravan tyres & tyrons fitted by professionals
Why you should use Hometyre Sussex when having tyres or tyron bands fitted to your caravan.
At Hometyre Sussex we have been fully trained in how to change tyres correctly on a caravan.
I will ensure that the corner stays are raised, otherwise undue pressure can be exerted on them when jacking one side of the caravan causing them to bend.
If the caravan is on a slope I will ensure that the wheels will be chocked to stop the caravan from moving.
When jacking it up I will ensure that it is jacked on either the main axle or on the strengthened reinforcement plate behind the wheel on the frame. I will not jack it up on the main frame as this could twist the frame.
I had a customer last week who had originally taken his caravan to a well known national 'Fast fit' centre to have his tyres changed. Firstly they put their jack under the motor mover, until the customer stopped them. They then started winding down the corner stays, and when asked why, he was told that they intended to jack the caravan up using the stays. Again he stopped them and told them that this would damage the stays and frame.
Finally they put the jack under the frame, and jacked it so high, it almost toppled the caravan over. At this point the customer asked to see the manager, who told him they had never worked on a caravan before and didn't really now what they were doing. The customer cancelled his order, and towed his caravan back home. He then went on the caravan club website's forum and after a search for tyres and tyron bands found a recommendation for Hometyre Sussex. I went to his home and changed his tyres without any problems.
Although when I removed his tyron bands I found that they had previously been fitted upside down. I pointed this out to the customer, who told me that the tyron bands had originally been fitted by the caravan sales centre. We at Hometyre Sussex have been to the Tyron UK headquarters, where we have been properly trained in the proper installation of their products.
So if you want your caravan looking after properly, and want your tyres or tyron bands to be fitted by professionals who know what they are doing, then call us at Hometyre. We will come to you at home, a storage area or even at a camp site.
Buying a second hand car? Check those tyres.
If you are out looking at second hand vehicles, make sure you get down on your hands and knees and check the tyres properly, otherwise you could soon find yourself with a hefty bill of new tyres. Some of the larger BMW's running on Runflats could leave you with a bill for around £600 ~ £1000 if all 4 tyres need changing. Remember the legal limit in the UK is 1.6mm, but ideally you should consider changing any tyres that have less than 3mm of tread remaining.
It is worth turning the front wheels on full lock, you will then be able to see right across the tread. Uneven wear could be a sign of a tracking problem or worse a suspension problem, and might need further investigation.
Rear wheels can only be viewed by looking under the car from the rear, again you are looking for uneven wear, cracks or bulges, some unscrupulous people will move badly worn tyres to the rear in the hope that you will not notice.
Also check that the tyres are of the same make and if possible same tread pattern, any mixture could cause handling problems, or if one tyre is completely different, it might be worth asking why it was changed. It could be as simple as a puncture, or worse, a pothole strike or even an accident. A pothole strike or accident might mean that the alloy wheel is damaged. I have seen alloys where dents on the inside have been filled with a bathroom silicon sealer just to keep the tyre inflated and on the bead. I have even seen wheels where there is a crack in the alloy, it has been covered with gaffer tape, and the tyre mounted on top. Ideally you would also like to find that the vehicle has mid to premium makes of tyre rather than budget tyres. Some more powerful performance cars will not handle well on budget tyres.
If you are buying an older vehicle with low mileage, it might be worth looking at the date code on the tyres as they could still be the original tyres, in which case they could prove to be dangerous. Ideally any tyre over 5 years old should be changed. I have been out to some cars where the tyres are 10 years old, but still have plenty of tread. At this age the rubber has hardened and will not give proper traction, there is also the chance that cracks will be appearing.
Should you be buying a newer vehicle with low mileage, but find it has old tyres on it, again it would be worth asking a few questions as to why the tyres have been changed.
Don't forget to check the spare wheel, (if there is one), often people will change the wheels around and leave a worn out old tyre in the boot. If there is no spare, see if there is a sealant and mini compressor present.
And as a final check, make sure the vehicle comes with a locking wheel nut key, the last thing you want is to find your self stranded on a country lane with no way of getting the wheel off. (Other than calling us at Hometyre for help).
Maintaining your tyres
There is nothing more frustrating than finding you've got a problem with your tyres.
Not only does it put your safety at serious risk, but even in minor cases, a puncture, a blow out or illegal tyres can present a major inconvenience.
Maintenance can prevent punctures. As with most vehicle-related safety issues, the key to preventing problems is proper maintenance. At Hometyre, we recommend taking the following steps to ensure your tyres are in tip-top condition and at minimal risk of an unexpected problem:
Having your wheels aligned regularly will ensure that pressure is evenly distributed on your tyres, drastically reducing the risk of premature wear on one side and thus the need to replace you tyres. The vehicle will handle better, also misaligned tyres will cause your fuel consumption to increase.
Hometyre vans carry laser wheel alignment equipment, plus we have data giving us the manufacturers recommended settings, so we can set your vehicle up correctly.
2. Regular checks,
You should check your tyres regularly for signs of wear and tear, also for any signs of cracking on the sidewalls or even inbetween the tread. Check that the tread depth is legal and consider changing your tyres when they get to 3mm as grip starts to drop off after 3mm's is reached, especially in wet weather. Also check the date code on the sidewalls of the tyre, this will indicate the age of the tyres - if they're more than five years old, then replacement should be considered if cracking has been found on the sidewall and tread of the tyre, this will avoid an increased risk of blow outs.
3. Wheel balancing,
This will address any imbalances in the wheel and tyre. It is recommended any time tyres are rotated or when swapping winter and summer tyres. Doing so could mean you do not suffer from wheel wobble at speed which can be irritating and increase the wear and tear on steering and suspension components.
4. Check those pressures. Regular checks on the pressures, will show up any possible punctures, which can then be repaired before they get worse. Driving on under-inflated or over-inflated tyres will cause uneven tyre wear, as well as effecting the handling and braking of the vehicle.
There's only so much anyone can do to prevent the unexpected. Therefore its advisable to also have a back up plan in the event that a problem still occurs despite your best efforts.
Firstly, If you have a spare tyre, make sure it is serviceable, and that the pressure is correct. If you don't have a spare tyre, you should carry a can of tyre weld and a mini compressor.
Do not continue to drive on a punctured tyre. This is of paramount importance, as you could cause further damage to the tyre, or lose control of the vehicle if the tyre comes off the rim. Pull your vehicle to the side as soon as possible and have it towed to your work or home. Then, you can simply contact Hometyre to arrange for your puncture repair. We'll come to your office or home at your convenience to repair your puncture, or if necessary, replace your tyre.
If your tyres are below the legal minimum of 1.6mm do not drive on the road, if you are pulled over you risk 3 points per illegal tyre and also up to £2,500 per tyres as well.
So, although it's not something anyone looks forward to, your tyres don't need to wreak havoc on your day. Thanks to Hometyre's mobile tyre replacement service, a problem tyre will be nothing more than a small bump in the road. For more information on how Hometyre can provide the above tyre maintenance procedures and repairs at a location of your choice, contact us today.
Looking after your vehicle tyres is critical when it comes to safety
Four postcard sized areas on your vehicles tyres are the only contact point with the road, so making sure those tyres are in good condition is vital for your safety. The tyres contribute not only to the safe handling and braking, but also to the overall comfort and running costs of a vehicle. Tyres suffer from wear, and the amount of wear proportionately affects the way a vehicle behaves on the road. A vehicle will never function at its safest if the tyres are in a poor condition. The obvious indication as to a poor tyre is the lack of tread, this is something any vehicle owner should be able to check for themselves. Other indicators can be poor grip when cornering and braking or vibration at speed.
Ideally the driver should make the following regular checks on the tyres:
Tread depth New tyres come with around 10mm of tread on Light commercial tyres and 8mm of tread on car tyres. The tread depth is important to assist grip on wet roads by helping clear water from under the tyre allowing it to contact the road. All tyres come with tread wear indicators; these are small blocks of rubber generally located at regular intervals around the tyre in the main grooves. These indicators are generally set at a height of 1.6mm. (The minimum legal limit in the UK). When these indicators become level with the main tread surface, then your tyres should be changed immediately. Ideally you should consider changing your tyres when the tread depth is between 2 ~ 3mm as at these lower depths, water cannot escape so easily, and handling deteriorates.
Uneven wear This is generally a sign that something is wrong, it could be over or under inflated tyres, or even a wheel alignment problem. Ideally you should be driving your vehicle at the tyre pressures recommended by the manufacturer. ( Not the pressures stamped on the side wall of the tyre). The correct pressures are usually found in the handbook, or failing that can be on a sticker inside the door frame, or even inside the fuel filler lid. Wear on one side of the tyre is generally a sign that the alignment is out. This happens as a car ages and the suspension parts begin to wear, but also if you hit a kerb or pothole. It is recommended to have your alignment checked every 5000 miles. Front wheel drive vehicles tend to wear their front tyres faster than the rears. To help keep your vehicle in its best condition, it is often recommended to swap your tyres around front to rear, and rear to front. But please make sure you have the same size on both sets of wheels before doing this. In particular, some Mercedes, BMW's and Smart cars have different front and rear sizes.
Ageing In the UK we have no laws stating how old a tyre can be, but it is recommended that tyres should be changed when it is around 5 to 7 years old, regardless of tread depth remaining. Even low mileage vehicles need their tyres changing, as the rubber dries out, making it hard and brittle. Cracks start to appear on the side walls and even between the treads. When changing tyres also remember the spare, just because it is in the boot, doesn't stop it from ageing. All tyres carry an age stamp on one side of the side wall it is preceded by the letters DOT, then there are 4 numbers representing the week No. and year. i.e. 4512 would be week 45 in the year 2012.
Look out for foreign objects in the tyre - punctures (Nails, screws), these can generally be repaired if caught early enough. Also look out for any bulges or cuts to the side walls, if these are visable, then you will need to change your tyres.
Ideally you should replace all four tyres at the same time, but due to fronts and rears wearing at differing rates, plus personal budgets, most people will change tyres in pairs. Mismatched tyres can cause an imbalance in the vehicle which can affect the handling. Tyres come with differing tread patterns such as Rotational (Directional), Assymertical and normal.
The fitter should note which type he is putting on and fit them accordingly. Size is also important, some people think that fitting a wider tyre will give better grip, this is not always the case, and also if you change the tyres width, the ride height will change proportionally.
Always consult a professional before making any changes to the tyre specifications.
This could also affect your insurance, as you may have made your vehicle unsafe.
BMW 7 series in Pagham
Today I was called out to a house in Pagham where the owner had a BMW 7 series with a flat tyre. He wanted the same tyre as he had previously namely a' Michelin Primacy Pilot' size 275/35R20. He had called around locally and no garage had them in stock, luckily a friend recommended he contact Hometyre, and we were able to source his tyre the same day. Not only that but it was £17 cheaper than the best quote he had received from our competitors.
I arrived at his house to find the damaged tyre and wheel was in his boot, and the spare was on the vehicle. I took the wheel out of the boot and put it into the van and stripped the old tyre off of the rim. The reason for the flat was easily apparent, as there was a nail in the tyre, but since the customer had not noticed in time and had driven a number of miles on the flat tyre, it was badly damaged inside and was not repairable.
Had he notice earlier, it would have been possible for me to repair the puncture, by gluing a patch plug to the tyre from the inside. This is classed as a permanent repair, and will usually last the life of the tyre, saving the owner a considerable amount of money. We will only do this type of repair if it is safe to do so (i.e. the repair area is within the central ¾ of the tyre tread area), and there is an amount of tread left on the tyre making it economically viable. Note: it is not possible for us to repair a runflat tyre, as they are designed to be driven on when flat, but there is no way of knowing what damage has been done to the internal structure of the tyre.
Back on the job…. I checked the rim, cleaned up the bead sealing area, removed the old valve and inserted an new one. I then replace the tyre with a new one, making sure it was mounted the right way around, as these are assymetrical tyres. It was then inflated to the correct pressure and put on the wheel balancer. The balancer was set to the specific wheel size, and spun to show the out of balance amounts. Sticky weights are put around the inside of the wheel at the allocated points to counteract the out of balance, the wheel is then re-spun to check it is correct.
The wheel is now ready for refitting to the car. I loosened up the locking wheel nut on the spare by hand, then jacked the car up. All the nuts were then removed and the spare wheel removed. The new wheel and tyre was then put on the car and the nuts replaced and tightened up to the correct settings using a torque wrench. The car was then lowered and the jack put back in the van, along with the old tyre which will be sent off to a recycling site.
I then checked all the other car tyres for pressure including the spare and adjusted them to the correct amounts. The spare wheel was then put back in the boot and stowed away properly.
Tread depths and tyre conditions were then checked, and details were put into the Hometyre report. The locking wheel nut adaptor was put back in its place in the boot, and I then prepared the invoice for the customer. Payment was taken by credit card using the chip and pin machine in the van.
Once complete the report along with the receipt will be emailed to the customer.
One satisfied customer and I was off to my next job.
Mobile fitting of Caravan & Motorhome tyres
Most caravan and motorhome owners take their vehicles to a Caravan service centre to have their tyres changed, at inflated (excuse the pun) prices.
Why go to this trouble, when with a simple call to Hometyre you can arrange for Hometyre Sussex to come to you and fit your new tyres at your home, storage area or even at a camp site. If considering a camp site or storage area, please advise them in advance, as Hometyre do need approval to go on site.
We have access to many types of tyre, including reinforced, extra load, 8ply, light commercial and Camper tyres, from manufacturers such as Michelin, Continental, GT Radial, Matador, etc.
Our tyre prices are fully inclusive of Mobile fitting, wheel balancing, a replacement rubber valve, old tyre disposal and vat. The only additional cost would be a small charge if you have Tyron bands that need to be removed and replaced.
How often should you change youe leisure vehicle tyres? For this answer we follow the recommendations made by the caravan club, which are:
"It should go without saying that tyres which are damaged or worn to the legal minimum tread depth must be replaced immediately. However, tyres which are visually OK, and which have seen little or even no use are also recommended to be replaced when they reach a few years of age. As a general rule (and following guidance issued by the tyre makers' trade body, the British Tyre Manufacturers' Association, it's advised that caravan tyres should ideally be replaced when 5 years old, and should never be used when more than 7 years old. "This advice is borne out by the Club's own research into caravan tyre failures, which confirms that the likelihood of a tyre problem increases after such age. Our research further suggests that tyres which need a high inflation pressure (say 50psi or more) require greater care still. Such tyres should be closely examined for signs of deterioration from 3 years old, and it would be strongly advised not to use them beyond 5 years old. It is not the case that all tyres over these ages will rapidly fail. "However, the statistical likelihood of a problem occurring increases noticeably with age. Given the disruption to your holiday that a tyre failure could cause (let alone the risk involved), it's strongly recommended that you follow this guidance. Since tyres deteriorate with age even when not in use (unless kept under very strictly controlled conditions of temperature, humidity, light level etc), it is usually necessary to consider a tyre's age from the date it was made, and not from when it was bought or fitted to the caravan."
Do you know how old your tyres are? All tyres carry a date code, it is imprinted on one sidewall of the tyre. Look for the word DOT this shold be followed by either a 3 or 4 number code. If 3 numbers, then the tyres were produced before 2000. ie. 329 would mean week 32 in the year 1999. (approx 14 years old). 4 numbers such as 2009 would mean week 20 in 2009.
We at Hometyre get our tyres direct from the wholesalers these are 'fresh' tyres and are generally 3 to 6 months old, as most new tyres are shipped from around the world in large containers, they are then sorted and sent out to wholesalers before being bought.
We at Hometyre will also ensure that we jack up your caravan or motorhome in the correct places, so as to not twist the frame, or damage the sills. Once fitted back on the vehicle, the wheels will be tightened up to correct torque settings using a torque wrench.
Give us a call at Hometyre to discuss the best tyres for your vehicle.
Do you trust your main dealer?
One of my customers, who has previously used Hometyre for Caravan tyres, decided to use us for her tow vehicle this time.
Her 4x4 had been into the main dealer for a service, after the work had been completed, they told her that her rear tyres needed changing. She asked them for a cost, which they promised to send to her the next day.
She also phoned Hometyre to get a cost as a comparisson. She also checked how much she had paid to the main dealer the last time she had changed her tyres. While checking this, she was surprised to see that she had paid for all 4 tyres to be changed only two years ago and in that time had only covered 6040 miles. Not only that but the quote from Hometyre now, was considerably lower than the price from the main dealer two years ago!
After waiting 2 days for the main dealer and still not getting a quote from them, she decided that she couldn't wait any longer and booked the job through Hometyre.
One of the first questions she asked when I turned up was "Do you think that it is right that the rear tyres should have worn out within 6040 miles, yet the fronts still had 5mm of tread left". I agreed that it was not usual and said I would check the tyres for her. The vehicle has covered approx. 38000 miles from new.
All tyres have a DOT code on the sidewall, which is actually the date of manufacture. I checked all the tyres on the vehicle to find that both front tyres were manufactured at the end of 2011. which would agree with the customers account that the tyres had been changed early in 2012.
I then checked the rear tyres, to find that the date on them was week 11 in 2008. which since the 4x4 was new in 2008, I concluded that these would be the original tyres.
My customer was not at all happy, as she is certain that she was ripped off by a Main dealer that up until now, she had always trusted.
We at Hometyre are a mobile service, we come to you at Home or work, you can watch us change your tyres, and will see that we are trustworthy.
So if you want your tyres fitted by professionals, at a time and place you choose, then contact us at Hometyre, you will be pleasantly surprised, by our costs and service.
Help locking wheel nut key missing
Do any of the following relate to you?
Can't find your locking wheel nut key?
My Locking wheel nut key is damaged.
My locking wheel nut key is missing.
My locking wheel nut key is split.
My locking wheel nut key is rounded off.
The garage has lost my locking wheel nut key.
I bought a used car and the locking wheel nut key is missing.
My car has a flat tyre and I can't remove the wheel.
I have McGard lock nuts and the local garage can't get them off.
Don't know how to get my locking wheel nut off.
My locking wheel nuts have revolving collars so driving a socket on won't remove them.
I am worried about getting my locking wheel nuts removed as I don't want my wheels to get damaged.
My local garage can't get my locking wheel nuts off.
Need help to get my locking wheel nuts off.
My local garage won't give a set fee to remove my locking wheel nuts.
Well here is the solution.... Call Hometyre, we are a mobile tyre fitting service, who are also professional locking wheel nut removers, using our specialist tools.
We can remove, hardened nuts, Mc Gard nuts, nuts with revolving collars, domed Jagaur and Landrover/Rangerover nuts, Peugeot nuts, the nuts with 3 round pins, also the new spinning nuts as used by Ford and Volvo.
I have had customers who have bought cheap reverse thread removers from halfords only to find thet they either don't fit over the locknut, or they won't work on the nuts mentioned above.
I have also had customers who have been quoted various prices by different garages such as:
£400 to remove a domed Jaguar nut.
£800 to dismantle the suspension and drill the nut out from the inside.
£75 an hour to drill the nuts out which was going to take around 2 hours per nut.
£50 to cut the wheel off, then an additional £200 for a new wheel.
One customer with a flat tyre was quoted £35 for a new key, it took a week to arrive and didn't fit, they then sent a second key, which also didn't fit, after the 3rd key still didn't fit, he called us out. I removed the nuts within 30 minutes, but he had been without a car for 3 weeks.
£125 to remove all four nut, if you bring the car to their garage.. not easy when you have flat tyres.
We at Hometyre have a set fee for removing locking wheel nuts, as long as you are within our operating area.
There can be a small additional charge if the lock nuts have been greatly over tightened, and we have to use more than one tool on a vehicle. (Each tool has a one off use.)
So far over 2013 and until now in 2014, I have managed to remove every locking wheel nut I have been called out too.
Don't take a chance, call out the professionals, we know what we are doing, and we won't damage your wheels.
The difference between wheel alignment and wheel balancing.
The term alignment does not really refer to your car's wheels, but really it is the suspension that has caused the wheels to be out of alignment with the centre line of the car.
During normal everyday driving parts of your suspension become worn, rubber bushes deteriorate, springs can become stretched, etc. Small knocks such as hitting pot holes, hitting a kerb even a small accident can knock a highly calibrated suspension out of kilter, making the wheels sit at wrong angles.
When done correctly a wheel alignment restores these angles to their correct settings, making sure your wheels are straight in line with the vehicle.
How can you tell if your alignment is out?
Firstly take a look at your tyres, uneven wear on the outside or inside edge is a prime indicator.
Look at your steering wheel when driving in a straight line; is the steering wheel straight or on an angle? If it's on an angle, then there is a good chance the alignment is out.
Does your car drift to one side when you think you are driving straight? This is another good indication that the alignment might be out.
The most visible benefit of a wheel alignment is less tyre wear, and when the tyres do wear down they should wear evenly. Less stress is put on the suspension components, the car will handle better and although small, there will be a fuel saving.
There are two types of wheel alignment: 2 wheel and 4 wheel alignment.
2 wheel alignment is most common, and involves adjusting the front wheels only.
4 wheel alignment is more complicated, and includes adjusting both the front and rear wheels, so that both axles are aligned.
At Hometyre we carry laser alignment gauges on our vans, and we use these along with charts that give the correct manufacturers settings, to bring your vehicle back into the correct tolerances.
When having new tyres fitted it is always worth having your wheel alignment checked, if it is out then have it corrected or pay the price of another set of tyres sooner rather than later.
Wheel balancing is something the tyre dealer does to counterbalance the tyre imbalance from when a tyre is manufactured.
This is done on either a static or dynamic wheel balancing machine. Once a tyre is mounted on a wheel the complete assembly is put on a wheel balancing machine, where it is spun at a given speed. The wheel balance machine then highlights the light side of the wheel, and the tyre dealer attaches weights to this side, to even out the balance.
One way of knowing if your wheels are out of balance is to drive at around 65 to 70 mph, if your vehicle starts to shudder or if you feel a vibration through the steering wheel then that is a good indication that the front wheels may be out of balance. Should you feel a vibration through the seat, then there is a chance that the rear wheels are out of balance.
At Hometyre if you have alloy wheels we will attach sticky weights to the inside of the wheel, this keeps them hidden and does not cause any damage to the rim.
If you have steel wheels, then we have clip on weights that can be fixed on either side of the wheel.
Years ago, weights were made of lead, now they are either steel or zinc due to environmental and public health reasons.
It is recommended to have your wheels rebalanced after around 6000 miles, as rubber is worn off, or if you do a front to rear wheel swap.
Vauxhall Vectra locking wheel nut removal
Today I was called out to a locking wheel nut removal in Havant. It was on a Vauxhall Vectra, and had McGard nuts. These are one of the best locking wheel nuts on the market from a security point of view, as there are so many different shapes of locking pattern that it is almost impossible to find another 'key' that will fit. This combined with a revolving collar and the fact that the lock nut is hardened, makes then extremely difficult to remove.
One problem with the McGards is that the shaped part is only about 1.5mm deep and if too much pressure is exerted on the Key is will snap. This often happens when a tyre depot or garage have replaced the locknuts using an airwrench and greatly over-tightened.
We at Hometyre always remove lock nuts by hand and replace them using a torque wrench.
On this Vectra the customer needs the wheels off as he is going to replace the track rods on the car. The locking wheel nut key is missing, he has no idea of when it was last used or by whom.
At first he decided to try removing them himself, he tried hammering a socket over the locknut, but due to the revolving collar all it did was spin around. A friend then recommended drilling the locknuts off using a special drill that will go through hardened steel. He bought two of these very costly drills and set to work, after a couple of hours of drilling and breaking both drills he had a hole in two locknuts of about 5mm deep, but it was no help in removing the nuts. Not wanting to waste and more time or money he decided to call out Hometyre Sussex.
Although we are mainly a mobile tyre service, we also specialise in removing locking wheel nuts for customers using a range of specialist tools that we carry on our vans. Some of these tools are only available within the motor industry.
I turned up at the customers address in Havant and after meeting with the customer and having him sign a consent form, I got on with the job.
I must say that I was worried about the two locknuts where he had drilled into the face as around half of the 'key' form was now missing. This is always a problem where people have had a go themselves and sometimes leave the locknut in such a damaged state, that even our specialist tools may not work.
I decided to work on the damaged locknuts first as these would be the hardest, and hopefully it would get easier as I went along. I selected the type of tool to use and set it up, it is hammered into the locknut and reforms the shape of the missing key. You then add an impact driver to the end, and continue hammering and twisting until the locknut comes loose.
In this case the locknuts had been done up very tight, and it took around 20 minutes of hammering and twisting to get the nut free. It was then onto the next locknut, with the same results, I then got on with nuts 3 and 4, removing them all and not causing any damage to the wheels.
We at Hometyre do not carry any replacement locknuts, as there are so many different varieties that we would have to carry hundreds to fit all types and makes of vehicle. I gave the customer one of the removed nuts so that he could match it up at a local autoparts shop.
My final job of the day was to check the tyres on the vehicle, make up a report and invoice the customer.
Photo shows the locking wheel nuts after being drilled.
Various vehicles and tyres
Today I had one of those days where my jobs varied considerably. The first job was on a Bentley Arnage, the customer had ordered two Pirelli P Zero tyres for the rears as one had blown and the other was down to the legal limit.
I arrived at his home at the arranged time, and after a quick look around the vehicle and after a discussion with him, took possession of the keys. He had also told me that he was getting vibration through the steering wheel when he drove at around 65mph. I explained that this was generally down to front wheel balancing, and it was agreed that I would check the fronts as an additional job. (They had been checked last month at a 'fast fit center' and they said that they were 'OK').
I then got on with the job of changing both rear tyres, one was in the boot as he had used the spacesaver after having his blowout. Once the tyres were changed and the wheels refitted to the vehicle, I checked the spacesaver, adjusted the pressure and replaced it in the boot.
I then turned my attention to the front wheels, I jacked the car up again and removed the front wheels, then put them on the wheel balancer. One was 45 grams out, the other was 40 grams out, no wonder he was getting vibration. I added sticky weights to the correct places and checked the balance again. Both came up zero, so I refitted the wheels back on the car and torqued the nuts to their correct settings.
Once complete I made up a report and invoice for the customer before taking payment using our chip and pin machine.
I was soon off to my second Job, a caravan at a storage site. Arrived at the site and called the customer to get access to the site. Once in he took me to his caravan, which had just been serviced, the service engineer had told him that his tyres were starting to show signs of cracking and needed replacing.
First job was to ensure that the brake was on, then raise the corner stays (If they are not raised then when jacking on side, you put undue pressure on the other stays and can damage them).
I placed the jack under the main axle and raised the caravan, took off the wheel and took it into the van to replace the tyre. In this case there were Tyron bands fitted inside the tyres. We specialise in Tyron bands as we have been to Tyron UK for additional training. It was no problem to remove the tyre and Tyron, before replacing with the new tyre and refitting the Tyron band. The wheel was then balanced and refitted back on the caravan. This was then repeated on the other side, and the corner stays put back down.
I then checked the spare tyre, which was in the front locker. It was an original tyre and was 15 years old, there were cracks all over the sidewalls. Unfortunatelly the customer had not thought of the spare, so I did not have an additional tyre with me. It was agreed that he would book me back in to come and replace the spare later in the week. I made up the report, and took a credit card payment.
Off to Job 3. This was Transit van with a flat tyre located at a building site. The customer was hoping for a puncture repair, but we take a spare tyre just in case it is not repairable.
I arrived at the site, and soon found the van and driver. I soon had the van jacked up and the wheel removed. In this case the puncture was a screw in the central area of the tread, there was no damage to the tyre so it was safe to carry out a permanent puncture repair. This is done from the inside, as we glue in a mushroom patch that covers the inside and goes through the hole. once repaired the tyre is refitted to the wheel rebalanced and the wheel is refitted to the van.
I then checked all of the other tyres before writing a report and taking a card payment.
Off to my 4 and final job of the day. Replace all 4 tyres and do the tracking on a VW polo. Again this was at the customers house, the car was on the drive when I arrived and I was able to park in the road outside the house.
I met with the customer who told me that the she needed to change all of the tyres, but also needed the tracking doing as she had hit a pothole recently, and the car pulled to one side when driving.
This was fairly straight forward, each wheel was removed and the tyres changed. While the front wheels were off, I loosened off the track rod bolts ready for adjusting. The wheels were balanced and refitted to the vehicle. I then drive the car back and forth, plus side to side several times to settle the suspension before putting on the laser tracking equipment.
This showed that one wheel was way off its settings and adjustment was necessary. Our vans carry charts that give the manufacturers settings for each vehicle, I was able to look up the Polo, and adjust the track rods till the settings were correct. the lock nuts are then tightened and the vehicle taken for a test drive, to ensure it handles correctly. Finally the report was completed and the invoice made up, before taking payment and handing back the keys.
Locknut removal on a Nissan Micra, wheel alignment and a tyre replacement.
One of the jobs I had today was a customer with a split tyre on a Nissan Micra after hitting a pothole; also his locking wheel nut key had been damaged so he could not remove the wheels. We are asked to do a locking wheel nut removal as well as replacing the damaged tyre.Arrived at his home in Haywards Heath and checked around the vehicle, to see the condition of all of the tyres. The near side front tyre was badly damaged after the pothole strike, but the other 3 tyres were still in good condition, especially the rears as they had just been changed recently.
I suggested that we also look at his tracking since hitting a pothole could easily have knocked it out of line. He had already spoken to our sales staff and arranged for us to bring a 175/60 R15 Ovation tyre out with us.
The first job was to solve the locking wheel nut problem. Looking at the original locking wheel nut key, it had split, this often happens when a tyre depot uses a pneumatic gun to put the locknuts on. The customer had called the garage that had changed the tyres, yet they denied all knowledge of the damage to the key.
Like all Hometyre vans we carry specialist locking wheel nut removal tools only available to the motor trade. The first job is to study the locknut and find the relevant head for our tool. This is then attached to the tool and hammered onto the locknut, an impact driver is then attached to the tool and pressure is applied to the tool using a 3lb lump hammer. At the same time as hitting the end of the tool we apply a twisting pressure by hand.
Some locknuts will come out after 2 to 3 minutes, but in this case the nuts were so tight, it took around 20 minutes to remove each nut.
The next job was to replace the damaged tyre. The car was jacked up and the rest of the wheel nuts were removed and the wheel was removed and taken into my van. The beads were broken and the wheel put onto the tyre changing machine. The tyre was soon removed, the rim was checked for any sign of damage, and since it was OK, a new valve was inserted and the new tyre put back on the rim. It was then inflated to the correct pressure, and put onto the wheel balance machine, to be balanced. After spinning the wheel is showed that it was 30 grams out of balance on one side and 20 grams the other side. Depending on the type of rim weights are applied to counteract the out of balance. With steel rims we have clip on weights, and with alloy wheels we have stick on weights. In this case since it was an alloy wheel, stick on weights were applied to the positions highlighted by the balancing machine.
Since we were going to also check the wheel alignment, I took the opportunity to loosen the adjusting nuts on the tiebars. Once this was done I then replaced the wheel on the rim and tightened the nuts to the correct torque. Luckily the customer had a set of spare nuts, so we were able to replace the nuts where the locknuts had been removed. The car was then lowered down, and I moved to the other side to loosen the adjusting nuts.
Tyre pressures on the other tyres was checked and adjusted, as these need to be right before starting any alignment. The car was then driven around, back and forth and side to side to settle the suspension. The front wheels are then driven onto turnplates, the steering wheel is centralised and locked into position, then the laser gauges are mounted to the front wheels and target gauges to the rear wheels.
The figures on the gauges are then checked and compared to the manufacturers settings. In this case it showed that the alignment was way out. If this had been left it would have led to uneven tyre wear. The tiebars are adjusted in and out until we get an even figure on both rear targets, and the front across vehicle gauges are brought into the correct figures as stated by the car manufacturer. Once this was done, the adjusting nuts were tightened up, all the alignment equipment was removed and I took the car for a short test drive. This is to ensure that it drives in a straight line and does not pull to one side.
This car was fine, and was returned back to the customer, I then updated our vehicle inspection report, updated the invoice and took a card payment accordingly. The invoice and report is then sent to the customer by email.. Job complete.
Hometyre keeps the UnionGap band rolling.
We have a call around 5pm to ask if we could get a van tyre (Hankook 225/70R15) this evening as the band UnionGap were performing for a 60's night in Butlins Bognor Regis. When the arrived on site they had noticed 3 large splits in one of their tyres. They went to put the spare wheel on, only to find that some toerag has stolen it from beneath thevan, and hung just an old tyre in its place. The band were due on stage tonight, and as soon as they had finished their gig, they were to pack up and travel to Yarmouth for a gig tomorrow.
We went straight to the wholesalers and managed to get a tyre just before they closed for the evening. I then drove into Butlins and was directed to the rear stage door where the van was located.
The jack was soon placed under the van, and the rear wheel removed. There was no obvious reason for the splits and the tyre was less than a year old. The tyre was removed from the wheel, a new valve was inserted, and the new wheel was fitted. It was then onto the balancing machine to balance the wheel before refitting back on the vehicle.
Being a Mercedes sprinter the torque settings for the wheel nuts has to be done in two stages, you torque all nuts to 190Nm, then go around again taking them up to 210Nm.
I then checked the rest of the tyres and found that the front drivers tyre was down to 20psi (Should be 47psi) so further investigation was required.
The wheel was removed and the tyre checked for any sign of a puncture, there was nothing evident, so I checked the rims and valve for leaks. I turned out to be a slow leak from the valve, so back into the van to remove the tyre, refit a new valve, before refitting the old tyre, balancing the wheel and refitting it back on the van.
While doing all of this work the band members came out to take a look in the Hometyre van, and seemed impressed with the layout and equipment we carry.
Once complete I made out the invoice on the Ipad and took a payment using our chip and pin machine.
Once home it was on to youtube to pull up some of the bands songs and have a listen. Great bunch of guys, hopefully they had a successful night and were able to keep to their schedule.
Should you need tyres for a Van, car or even a caravan, give us a call at Hometyre on 0333 444 5454.
Me with Mike Ellis from the band
BMW 6 Series Bridgestone Runflat tyres in Handcross
We had a call from a customer in Handcross who's tyre had burst on the way to work, since it was a BMW and had runflats he had driven it to work and left it in the carpark. He checked the other front tyre and realised that the inside edge was worn out, so he ordered two new tyres. Bridgestone RE050A Runflats size 245/40R19
Luckily he phoned us first thing in the morning and we were able to source new tyres and have them delivered by lunch time, and had the job booked in for 1pm.
I arrived around 5 minutes early at the customers works and soon found his car in the carpark, I then called him to let him know I was there, and while waiting for him to arrive , I made a preliminary check of the tyres.
The fronts were both showing wear on one edge, which is a sign that the wheel alignment (tracking) could be out. Both rear tyres were also showing signs of perishing on the side walls and cracks were apparent.
When the customer arrived I pointed out my concerns, and he agreed to have the front tyres changed, and have the tracking corrected. The rear tyres he also agreed would have to be changed, but that would have to be the next day as we needed to order them in.
I took the keys to the car, and let the customer go back to work. I then searched and found the locking wheelnut Key out of the boot.
I removed both front locking nuts by hand, then jacked up one side of the vehicle. I then removed the rest of the wheel nuts and took off the wheel. Took the wheel into the van and removed the valve core to let out all the air, I then broke the beads on both sides and removed the tyre. The rim was then checked to make sure there was no damage or internal corrosion. The rubber valve was then removed and replaced with a new one, before applying tyre paste to the rim and edges of the new tyre. The tyre paste acts as a lubricant and helps when putting the new tyre on the rim.
The inside edge of the tyre was then mounted onto the rim, and being a runflat, I then used the assistor arms to help fit the outer side of the tyre. Assistor arms are often used when fitting stiff walled tyres or as in this case Runflats.
Once mounted the tyre is then inflated to the correct pressures, we have a chart in our vans that lists most permutations of tyre option. ( Pressures can also often be found on a sticker inside the fuel filler lid, or inside the door frame).
The wheel is then put on the wheel balancer and after setting it to the correct dimensions, the wheel is spun to see where it is out of balance. Stick on weights are then applied to the inside of the wheel. We use stick on weights when dealing with alloy wheels, as hammer on weights will damage the paint coating letting water and salt in, this causes corrosion and blistering to the alloy, and will eventually lead to a slow puncture, where the air seeps out through the blisters.
The tyre is then given a quick clean to remove and excess tyre paste and it is then ready for replacing on the vehicle. But first because we are going to correct the alignment, we have to clean up and oil the trackrod nuts, so that they can be loosened. The wheel is them mounted back on the vehicle. The wheel nuts are tightened up by using a torque wrench, so as to not over or under tighten them. (Each vehicle has different manufacturers torque settings) which is why home tyre always use a torque wrench and not an air wrench as used in many garages and fast fit centres.
The jack is then released and moved to the other side of the vehicle to do the same job on the other side.
Once complete, the vehicle is them moved around several times to settle the suspension, dished plates are put under the front wheels, and a lock is fitted to the steering wheel to keep it in a straight position. The laser tracking equipment is then fitted to the front wheels. Measuring flags are fitted to the rear wheels, and we then check all the readings. The manufacturers settings are checked on a chart and we compare them to the vehicles measurements. In this case the vehicle was approx. 4mm out of tolerance. With a spanner it it then possible to adjust the trackrods until we get them to the correct setting, the lock nuts are tightened up and equipment removed from the car.
I then take it for a test drive to ensure that the steering wheel stays straight, and that the vehicle does not pull to one side.
Once finished, the locking wheel nut was put back in the boot and its position marked on the invoice. the tyre report was completed and payment taken using our chip and pin machine.
New tyres were ordered for the rears, and an appointment was made for the following morning.
Should you require new tyres for your vehicle or need its tracking adjusted, then give us a call on 0333 444 5454. We save you the hassle of going to a tyre depot, by bringing the complete workshop to you at a time of your choosing.
Replacing Caravan tyres with Tyron bands fitted at a storage site near Steyning.
The sales team had a call from a new customer today saying that he needed tyres for his caravan but was having problems getting somebody to change them in this area as he also had Tyron bands fitted.
Tyron bands are a safety device fitted inside the wheel to fill the tyre fitting well so that if you have a blow out the tyre will not come off the wheel.
All of the Hometyre vans are fully equipped to remove Tyron bands so that a new tyre can be fitted, we have also had one to one training at the Tyron UK headoffice as well as having years of experience fitting and removing Tyron bands from caravans, motorhomes and Landrovers.
After talking to the customer we advised him that GT Radial Maxmiller 8 ply tyres would meet his needs, and budget. He was happy with the recommendation, so arranged a fitting for last Tuesday when he had a day off work as he wanted to see the process. The fitting was also to be carried out at the storage site where he keeps his caravan as he did not want to tow it to a tyre depot.
The day of fitting arrived, tyres were loaded and I set off for the arranged appointment. Arrived at the site and was escorted to his caravan.
First job was to inspect the tyres on his caravan to make sure they were ready for changing and that the correct size had been ordered. There was still around 6mm of tread left , but the side walls had started to crack due to that age of the tyres (these tyres where 7 years old). The caravan club recommend changing caravan tyres every 5 to 7 years if they are used at below 50 psi, and change at 3 to 5 years if inflated to over 50 psi.
I raised the stabilising arms and jacked up the first side of the caravan. Removed the wheel and took it over to the van. Removed the valve core to deflate the tyre and broke the first bead on the tyre. the next job was to compress the tyre so that we can get to the Tyron band. Once exposed we release the Tyron band and remove it from the wheel well. Then it's back to the bead breaker to break the second bead, then up on to the turntable to remove the tyre. Inspect the wheel for any damage (none found) and replace the valve and mount the new tyre.
When we mount a tyre on a caravan we always try to put the date stamp on the outside of the tyre so that it can be inspected with out having to get under the caravan.
Tyre mounted we know have to refit the Tyron band. The tyre is compressed again so that the wheel well is exposed and ther Tyron band is bolted back into the wheel well.
A couple of points that must be observed are that the Tyron is fitted up the correct way, the plastic feet must all be in place, and when fitted it must not cover the valve. A lot of tyre mounting paste is then applied all over the Tyron band and the wheel, the tyre was then inflated to the correct pressure which was 48psi. After balancing it was refitted to the caravan and torqued up to the correct specifications. The caravan is then let down and the process repeated on the other side.
I also attached a Tyron band fitted sticker to the wheel as none was found, this will alert anybody else to the fact that Tyron bands are fitted.
The customer had been asking questions all through the process and we had answered all the question and queries he raised. He also mentioned that he was worried about security for his caravan when not in use and that the tyres would age prematurely again due to the sun light. I pulled up the website on my Ipad and showed him a new product called the Bulldog security stand that goes on the caravan in place of the wheels, this is a stand that is bolted onto the hub of the caravan and then one side is covered with a locking panel to stop people having access to the bolts. The wheels are then stored inside the caravan out of the sun and this helps extend the life of the tyres.
For more information on the Bulldog items including wheel clamps, caravan levellers, security chains and GPS trackers click HERE.
I finally put the stabilisers back down, completed my report and took payment using our secure debit card terminal, before setting off to my next job.
Why you should have your wheels aligned (Tracking)
A worrying fact we've noticed over time at Hometyre is that many of our customers neglect to have their wheels aligned until it is too late and they find that their tyres have worn badly on one edge. This is because most people think a worn tyre is the only possible repercussion of improper wheel alignment. However, this couldn't be further from the truth. Properly aligned wheels are essential for the safe handling and proper maintenance of your car. Improper alignment can also impact on how much you spend on petrol, the frequency with which you purchase new tyres, and much more.
What is wheel alignment? Wheel alignment ensures that your wheels are perpendicular to the road and parallel to each other when you are driving. Each manufacturer has a different set up for each and every make/model of car. Some have their wheels pointing in towards each other, some are parallel, and some point outwards. When you start driving the suspension compensates for the setting and brings the wheels back parallel.
Wheels that aren't properly aligned cause uneven pressure on your tyres. This leads to uneven friction on the tyres and creates much more resistance from the road surface. Your car then has to work much harder to move forward, burning far more fuel as a result.
Alternatively, if wheel alignment is done at recommended biannual intervals or every 8,000 miles, there will be much less resistance from the road, allowing your car to drive more smoothly and easily, and burning much less fuel. This means you spend less on petrol every month, and for those of us who are environmentally conscious, there's the extra bonus of reducing your carbon footprint.
Additionally, the uneven pressure on tyres due to improper alignment will indeed lead to an increase in the rate of wear and tear on your tyres. In other words, having your wheels aligned regularly could significantly reduce the frequency with which you have to purchase new tyres. Safety first In terms of the safe handling of your vehicle overall, wheel alignment affects the suspension, steering system and braking system, so having your wheels aligned regularly is a priority for road safety.
I recently changed the tyres on a car, where the alignment was out, the inside edges were through to the chords, so new tyres were required. Yet there was still 5mm of tread across the centre of the tyre. Had this been aligned properly, the chances are the owner would have been able to drive for another 8 ~ 12'000 miles before having to change the tyres.
Get it done : wheel alignment will improve how your car drives, save you money on petrol and tyre replacement, and directly benefits the environment. Need we say more? So contact us on 0800 783 93 10 or 0333 444 5454 (mobile friendly number) or check out our contact page.
Our Hometyre vans carry laser alignment equipment along with charts that tell us the correct manufacturers settings for each vehicle. It will take us around 20 to 40 minutes to adjust the tracking, depending on how far out it is, and how rusty the bolts are. But the results are worth it.
Hometyre offer free wheel alignment checks when you order your tyres with us, Just ask the sales team, or the fitter .
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