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The difference between wheel alignment and wheel balancing.

Wheel alignment

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

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.Locknuts_drilled

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.Caravan_3

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 thePuncture_repair_mushroom 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.alignment_laser

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 the

Uniongap_splitvan, 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 uniongap_mike


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 seCaravan tyre changetting 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 . laser_wheel_alignment


Caravan and Motorhome season is fast approaching are you prepared.

With the onset of the warm spring months, holiday time is fast approaching. When you set out on a journey it is important to check your towing vehicle for safety reasons and none more than the tyres. Make sure they are inflated to the correct pressures as this can affect the fuel consumption and stable driving condition. Also the tread on the tyres needs to be more than 1.6mm.Caravan_5

Should you be towing a caravan, the tyres need to be checked on this also. The Caravan club recommend ideally replacing caravan and motorhome tyres after 5 years, and they should definitely not be used after 7 years, they also say that if they are inflated to over 50 psi, then they should be closely examined from 3 years, and should not be used past 5 years. These recommendations are made due to leisure vehicle tyres having different load and suspension conditions to cars; also they tend to be stored in one position for long periods. 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.

Please check your Caravan or Motorhome handbook for the correct tyre pressures, do not as a few customers have done..... read the maximum permitted pressure on the tyre wall and inflate the tyre to this amount. If in doubt, call a Caravan service centre or check out the Caravan club website.

The tyres on your caravan may have Tyron Safety Bands fitted. These are steel bands fitted inside the wheels well, to stop a tyre from falling off the rim if you get a puncture, allowing you more time to find a safe stopping place to fit your spare. Many tyre specialists are not equipped to deal with these metal bands, but we at Hometyre pride ourselves on being trained by Tyron UK in their use, and with the most modern tyre fitting equipment on our service vehicles we can change these without any problem. If you would like to have Tyron bands fitted, then it is possible to purchase them from Hometyre and have them fitted by our operators. There is no need to hitch up your caravan and take it to a garage, as with Hometyre, we come to where you keep your caravan and we come at a time to suit you.

Hometyre have now also tied up with Bulldog security to offer the leisure vehicle enthusiast - wheel clamps, levellers, security chains, GPS trackers and secure storage stands.

Mark Watson, proprietor, said, "Hometyre are a national company and I own the Sussex local business with my wife, Lyne, we are very proud to be part of the Hometyre brand as it has a very high level of service and customer satisfaction. We care about you and your safety." END


Why you should should let us check your Fleet/Company car tyres

4 Reasons to have Hometyre Check your Fleet's Tyres

Did you know that as a business owner with a fleet of vehicles or company cars, you should have fleet tyre checks at regular intervals as a critical part of your duty of care.

This doesn't just mean checking your tyres for wear and tear or punctures, but also ensuring that your wheels are properly balanced and aligned, so that there's no uneven pressure on the tyres which could magnify the risk of punctures or blow outs.

Here is a short list of four reasons to prioritise regular fleet tyre checks.

1. It's the law since April 2008. The Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Act set out a new offence for where there has been a gross breach of duty of care. For business owners with company cars or fleets of vehicles, this translates into the need for proper vehicle maintenance, including checking and maintaining tyres so that employees aren't at any undue risk. Failure to do so could make you liable for the death or injury of an employee in the event of an accident while driving your company vehicle.

2. Responsible management. Ensuring your company cars' tyres are safe to drive on is simply the only way to responsibly and ethically manage your business and human resources. Otherwise, you could be putting your employees at serious risk. From a moral standpoint, there's really no question about it.

3. Save money. The less your tyres and wheels are checked, balanced and aligned, the more your business will invariably have to spend on tyre repair and replacement. This is because poorly positioned or worn down tyres have a much greater likelihood of being punctured or worn unevenly. Add to this the possible cost if an accident occurs, and suddenly having a fleet tyre check carried out doesn't seem so bad.

4. Ease and convenience. Surprised? Well, with Hometyre's mobile tyre services, a qualified and competent technician comes right to your business and can do any required tyre maintenance, including wheel alignment and balancing, on the spot, taking all the stress and hassle out of checking your fleet's tyres.

If you'd like to find out more about our free, no obligation tyre health check for your fleet, contact us today on Free phone 08007839310 or Mobile friendly 03334445454.



Why are my Wheel nuts so tight.

If you have ever had a puncture by the side of the road you probably know how difficult it can be to remove your wheel nuts with the wheel brace the car manufacturers give you, it is almost as if the nuts have been welded to your wheel. Quite often you will be stamping on the brace bar with your foot trying to loosen the nut and hoping that the bar does not go flying off and hit your car.

Well how can this be? The chances are that last time you had your tyre changed you went to a tyre depot and happily sat in the cold waiting room while the staff fitted new tyres to your pride and joy, while you where reading a 2 year old copy of "What Car?" you probably heard in the back ground a rat-a-tat-tat of an air gun doing up the wheels on your car. The trouble with these air guns is that you have no control over the force they exert on the wheel nut. You just turn them on and then when you think the wheel nuts are tight enough you turn them off, not the most precise piece of equipment. They can also apply much more force to the wheel nuts than you can with the small wheel brace the manufactures supply with their cars.

Each car manufacturer specifies a torque setting that should be applied to the wheel nuts on their cars, an example of this is a Nissan 350Z. The torque setting for these wheels is 113 Newton Meters. So how are you going to set this correctly with an air gun and just as importantly is the wheel on tight enough? Too loose and your wheel could come off, too tight and the nuts can sheer (and the wheel can come off).

We at Hometyre always use a toque wrench to tighten the nuts these can be set exactly to 113 Newton Meters so you know your wheel nuts are tightened to the correct specifications.

Now onto the locking wheel nuts, these generally have either a pattern on the inside of the locking wheel nut key that fits into the corresponding locking wheel nut or a set of pins or ridges that stick out and fit into holes in the locking wheel nut. All these keys are inherently weaker than a normal wheel nut; the pattern on the locking wheel nut key does not have the same thickness of metal as a solid bolt. Take an air gun to these and you can split the locking wheel nut key as you do the bolt up, rendering the key useless.

So there you are by the side of the road, you have jumped up and down on the wheel brace and at last got your normal wheel nuts free but the locking wheel nut key will not fit the locking wheel nut bolt. You are stuck and the only thing you can do is hope that your recovery service membership is up to date so you can be towed home and then try to arrange the removal of the locking wheel nut bolt from your wheels.

Things don't have to be that way. Call Hometyre and we will come to you and change your tyres or fix your punctures, we will then torque the wheel nuts up to the correct tightness (all our vans carry a chart that shows the recommended torque settings) and place the locking wheel nut back where we found it and mark this on the invoice for your future reference.

What if you have a locking wheel nut that you cannot get off because the locking wheel nut key is damaged? All of our vans carry a specialist tool that can remove locking wheel nut when the locking wheel nut key has been damaged or lost.

So, don't put yourself in a position that you are stranded by the side of the road contact Hometyre in the first place and have the job done correctly by Tyre professionals.


Bulldog Security wheel clamps for Caravans, Motorhomes, Cars and 4x4's.

Did you know that you can now buy your Bulldog Euroclamp wheel clamps for your leisure vehicle directly from Hometyre. We have made a partnership agreement with Bulldog, to supply all of their security items to you the leisure vehicle owner. In some cases we will even come and fit them for you if you require help.

The full list of items is shown on the Hometyre website, (Click here) it includes wheel clamps for both steel and alloy wheels, as well as lockable security stands, GPS trackers, wheel levelers and security chains. All of these items are backed up by Bulldogs 5 year guarantee, they are easy to use, have a ultra reliable security lock and are Insurance approved.

Bulldogs security clamps were even awarded the What car? - Best value buy award. Our prices even include free carriage to any UK Mainland address.

Should you also be in the market for new tyres and or Tyron safety bands, then that is another area in which Hometyre can help you, as we are primarily a mobile tyre service, so we will come to you at Home, storage area, or even a camp site to fit these items for you at no additional cost. In fact we often beat most fixed site tyre depots on cost.

Unsure of what you need then give us a call on Freephone 0800 783 9310 or Mobile friendly on 0333 444 5454.



Citroen Locknut removal

We had a call today from a customer who had problems with his locking wheelnuts. He had bought a used Citroen C4, but when he came to remove the wheels lock nut he found that the removal 'key' did not fit. He took the vehicle along to his local garage, who tried to remove the locknuts, but ended up breaking part of them off. They then wanted £70 per wheel (total £280) to drill them out for him. This is when he did an internet search and found Hometyre.

I went round to his home in Worthing, and Lock_nut_17took a look at the lock nuts, these are a type that are typical of both Citroen and Peugeot, I have removed many of these, so I wasn't too worried about the damaged one.

Once I prepped the wheels, it took around 20 mins to remove all four nuts using our specialist tool. I then replaced the missing nuts with some new nuts that the customer had already purchased and torqued them all to the correct settings.

Finally I checked all the tyres on the vehicle and gave a report to the customer. The Hometyre price for this service is £80 plus vat. which is a lot less that the garages £280 quotation.

Should you have a problem with your locking wheel nuts, then give us a call at Hometyre, so far I have removed all locknuts without fail during 2013 and 2014.


Another pothole statistic.

Had a call from a new customer today to say his Volkswagen Touran has been left at a friends house with a flat tyre as he had hit a pothole. Luckily for him I had a 205/55R16 tyre in stock and was able to get out to him this afternoon. He was hoping that his tyre would be repairable, but it was not, as it had a split on the inside wall of around 80mm in length. He was lucky that he had not damaged his alloy wheel.

I fitted the new tyre, checked all the other tyres which although they were all low on pressure, they were in good condition. I corrected the pressures, then checked the wheel alignment. The toe in/ toe out on this vehicle is supposed to be +/-zero, this vehicle was showing +5, so it was way out of tolerance.

I soon had it back within the manufacturers correct settings, and took it for a test drive, just to ensure that it felt good and that the steering wheel was straight. All was 'ok' and the vehicle was given back to a happy customer.


Fiat 500 tyres

One of today's jobs was to replace a tyre on a souped up Fiat 500 running on 245/35R17 Falken FK452 tyres. The customer had hit a pothole and split his tyre as well as buckling the alloy. His car was in a local garage, where the had beaten the alloy back to shape, but were having trouble sourcing the right tyre. Hometyre contacted our suppliers and had a new Falken tyre delivered the next day. fiat_500_Arbath

The tyre arrived at 08:45 this morning and by 9am I was in the garage fitting the new tyre. Since there was still a slight wobble when I checked the wheel on the balancing machine, I suggested that it be fitted to the rear, to eliminate any vibration being felt through the steering wheel.

Had the customer come to Hometyre directly, we would also have checked the tracking on the vehicle, as chances are that a hit like that will have knocked it out of alignment. This was left for the garage to do as it was their customer.

Fiat 500 Arbath


Driving on tyres while flat ruins them!

Should you be unfortunate enough to get a puncture, try not to drive on it while flat unless absolutely necessary. Even driving 1/2 a mile can damage the side wall of the tyre. This is not always evident when looking at the tyre from the outside, but once you take the tyre off the wheel, you will see that the inner structure has disintegrated. I always think that it looks like desiccated coconut . See PhotoTyre_damage_inside

Should you have a slow puncture, then make sure you keep the tyre inflated as you can then continue to drive, until you can get to a place to have it repaired. A repair is a far cheaper option than buying a new tyre, and as long as there is no structural damage to the tyre, then a repair should be possible, as long as the hole is not on the sidewall or shoulder of the tyre.

New vehicles and even some older ones, are now fitted with some form of puncture warning system. (TPMS) Should this light up, don't ignore it, you tyre is flat even if it doesn't look like it.

Runflat tyres have very thick sidewalls, this makes it especially difficult to tell that you have a pressure loss, and you do need to rely on the TPMS system to warn you about the flat. Except that with runflats you cannot get them repaired, they are designed to let you continue driving (for a short distance) until you can get a new tyre.


Firestone aims to be a main player in the UK during 2014

American tyre giant Firestone has announced that it is to take on the UK with more force in 2014, to 'become one of the main players in the tyre market'. A Spokesman for the company said that the marketing will draw on Firestones historic experiences, combining the Formula One inspiration of John Surtees & Jim Clark, plus the Indy 500 association and a number of world land speed records.

The new Firestone Destination 4x4 tyre will be unveiled in June, along side a concerted effort to increase brand awareness and ultimately sales. The famous Firestone badge will play a prominent part in the companies marketing efforts.

Andy Dingley, the North region communications manager said "We see our Firestone offering as playing a pivotal role for us in 2014. The brand is powerful, endearing & we believe it can become one of the main players in the tyre market. There is a great sense of heritage associated with Firestone and from our research, we know that it is steeped in tradition and respect, with an association with genuine quality. We really do feel that we can offer motorists a product to be sure of, which will compliment our premium Bridgestone range perfectly".

In all, a total of 49 Formula One races were won on Firestone tyres, with drivers such as Ludovico Scarfiotti, Jim Clark, John Surtees, Graham Hill, Emerson Fittipaldi & Mario Andretti, all taking the podium top spot.


MAXXIS adds the Victra Sport VS01 to it range.

Maxxis Tyres have extended their high performance range with the launch of the Victra Sport VS01 tyre. Maxxis developed this latest addition to the range after receiving unprecedented demands from people driving high performance vehicles. Maxxis developed this latest tyre to meet these demands and to ensure that it stays at the forefront of the tyre industry.tyre_image_vs01_l

Vertical ribs have been embedded in the centre of the tread to enhance the grip, these ribs also enhance the strength and improve traction, while at the same time delivering outstanding wet & dry handling in all weather conditions.

Driving stability and excellent high speed sport performance provide the driver with extraordinary contact and manoeuvrability. Streamlined transverse grooves and strengthened shoulder blocks ensure outstanding grip & precision while steering and are designed to reduce deformation of the tread blocks during sharp turns,enhancing wet handling and to minimize the chances of hydroplaning. (Aquaplaning).

Derek McMartin confirmed: "Our research and development teams work around the clock to ensure that we continue to provide our customers with the very latest in technological innovation." The launch of the VS01 promises to be one of Maxxis' most significant launches in years.

If you are looking to buy Maxxis tyres take a look on the Hometyre website as we can supply and fit these tyres at very competative prices.


British drivers could face on-the-spot fines in Mainland Europe if using the wrong tyres.

While we in the UK have been experiencing a mild winter so far, many European countries have had severe wintery weather. This means that UK drivers who venture onto the roads using normal summer tyres will not get enough grip for safe driving on braking in snowy or icy conditions. Some countries will allow you to drive on Summer tyres as long as their is 4mm of tread, but should you cause an accident or become stuck then you are liable and your insurance company may not pay out.

In Germany some drivers are liable for on-the-spot fines if their vehicle becomes stuck in slippery conditions due to having the wrong tyres fitted. hometyre_vital_for_winter_months Most Germans will have winter tyres fitted from November right through to April.

The Department of Transport says UK drivers are free to drive abroad, but their vehicle must meet the general technical requirements for each country you visit (Or pass through). Drivers are urged to select winter tyres if they are venturing into Europe. They should also make sure that there is sufficient tread depth remaining, as well as making sure that they carry a spare wheel (Which must also be in a good condition).

Winter tyres work better on wet roads, in slush, snow, frost and ice, they are designed to give better grip in temperatures of below 7 degrees Centigrade, enabling the driver to stop in shorter distances and to help keep control of your vehicle. Unlike normal summer tyres where the rubber compound hardens in these lower temperatures losing flexibility and therefor has less grip.

Hometyre have a mumber of winter tyre packages available, from just the tyres to complete sets of tyres and wheels. Give us a call to see what option is best for you.

Should you be considering driving to Europe this winter then you can check each countries requirements here.


Aquaplaning now that winter is here.

The grooves around the circumference of a tyre, are mainly designed to disperse water, this is one of the reasons that Tyre dealers often recommend changing your tyres when they are down to 3mm of tread depth. A new tyre comes with around 8 ~ 12 mm of tread, depending on the type of tyre, the deep grooves easily allow water to escape when you drive through puddles, allowing the tread blocks to remain in contact with the road and give you grip. Once the tread wears down to around 3mm, even though you are still legal, there is not enough space to allow the water to escape, the tyre then loses contact with the road as it 'floats' on a cushion of water, and you lose grip, causing you to aquaplane. This is especially seen on modern vehicles, where they have wide wheels, as the area in contact with the road is spread over a greater area, and the tyre can 'float' more easily.

The legal limit in the UK is 1.6mm of tread depth over 3/4's of the tyre and all around the circumference, but at this shallow tread depth, in the winter months, you really are putting your and other road users lives in danger.

Correct pressures in a tyre can also have an effect, as with the wrong pressures even less of the tyre is in contact with the road.


This tyre has almost no grooves left, there is no where for water to escape, so it builds up as a cushion at the front of the tyre, and will eventually cause the vehicle to aquaplane. The customer called me out to change his tyres, as he said that he felt that he lost control every time he went out in the wet.


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