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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.


Keep your tyres in top condition

Your tyres are your only contact with the road, keeping them in top condition will make your ride safer, will make them last longer and will save you fuel. Here are some tips on how to best maintain your tyres:

1. Ensure you have the correct size tyres for your vehicle. Some people will put wider tyres than are recommended, this can affect the handling and as such the safety. I have even seen cars with different size tyres on each wheel.

2. Check your tyre wear, the legal limit in the UK is 1.6mm over 3/4 of the tread. Even at depths of 3mm or below, your vehicle will have less grip, especially in the wet where there is a chance of aquaplaning. The grooves in the tyre are the only things that remove water from beneath the tyre when driving on a wet surface.

3. Ensure you have the correct tyre pressures as recommended for your vehicle. The pressures are often listed on a sticker that can be found inside the door frame, or in the fuel filler cap. Incorrect pressures will cause uneven wear and can increase your fuel bill. Tyre pressures should be checked every couple of weeks, not as many of my customers do, every year or so.

4. Have your wheel alignment (tracking) checked and adjusted as required. It is often recommended to have your alignment checked every time you have new tyres fitted, or if you ever hit a kerb or pothole. Incorrect alignment will affect your tyre wear and your vehicles handling and this will increase fuel consumption.

5. Correct wheel balancing will reduce the level of wear on your tyres, and will make your vehicle drive a lot smoother. An unbalanced tyre will vibrate at higher speeds (Usually around 65~70mph. you will often feel this as the steering wheel will vibrate.

6. If having new tyres it is always best to have them fitted in pairs on the same axle. Otherwise a vehicle with differing tread depths will not handle so well. If you have a 4x4 and you have more than 4mm difference in tread depth on the same axle, this can cause the diff to think that one wheel is slipping, and it will increase drive to that wheel. eventually ths will cause damage to the diff.

7. Tyre valves, are made out of rubber just like the tyres, even steel valves have a core with a rubber ring. Valves like tyres deteriorate over time, you should always have new valves fitted every time you change your tyres. Leaking valves will cause air loss, which leads to uneven tyre wear.

8. If you have two sets of tyres (Winter / Summer), then make sure the stored tyres are kept dry, ideally at a stable temperature, and away from sunlight.

This can also be said of your spare tyre, generally as it is kept in a boot, or under a vehicle, it is not in the best condition. Ideally a spare tyre should only be used as a get you home tyre, and should be changed back to a new tyre as soon as possible.

9. Should you need advice as to the best tyre for your vehicle, then give us a call at Hometyre.


Summer to Winter tyre change over.

I was called out to a new customer in Slindon on Friday, not only was he new to Hometyre, but he had only just moved into the area, and had found us through a google search. He was booked in for 2pm, but since I was running early, I phoned ahead to see if I could arrive at 1pm. He was happy with this as he had a few jobs to do in town that afternoon, and this gave him more time.

When I arrived the car a Mercedes CLK was waiting for me on the drive, with his set of old winter tyres. This car has the same size tyres on front and rear, but the wheels rims are different, so you have to make sure the correct wheels go back in the right order.

I soon had the car jacked up and the old summer tyres removed (marked up as to where they had come from), new valves inserted, winter tyres fitted (Yokohama 245/45 R17's), Pressures set accordingly, wheels balanced, and put back on the car. I put his summer tyres back in his garage, the locking wheel nut back into the boot, before completing the Hometyre tyre report, and his invoice. Payment was taken using his debit card and our chip and pin machine, then his receipt was immediately emailed through to him.

Another satisfied customer, who has said that he will be calling me back in the spring to swap the tyres back.

It must have been a day for tyre changes as I ended up doing 3 sets that day, and all to new customers. Not only do they not have to transport 4 big tyres to a tyre depot and wait around for the work to be done, but they were able to stay at home and get on with other activities.


Thinking of buying Budget Tyres?

Most new cars are sold with Premium tyres as standard, and as a rule it is recommended to stay with this type of tyre if you can afford to. But many owners wonder if the cost justifies the performance.

What car? did some tests to see if half the cost means half the quality. The tests were carried out using a Vauxhall Merviva.

test 1, stopping distances in dry conditions at 70 mph.

The premium tyres on average stopped around 48 -50 meters, while the budgets stopped within 52-53 meters. Not so big a difference (5 meters max).

test 2, stopping distances in wet conditions at 70 mph.

Premium tyres stopped between 59 - 64 meters, while the budgets stopped between 68 - 84 meters. This was a shocking difference, with the average difference being 14 meters.

Tests 3 & 4, were on lateral grip ( the premium tyres did show better grip) and in noise level (they were all very similar).

The tyres tested were, Premium: Michelin, Continental & Goodyear. (£58-£70).

and the budgets were, : Arrowspeed, Ovation & Sunew (£37-44).

What car? Went on to say the small number of tests show that there is a difference in quality, especially in the wet. But certainly not half the quality, even though they are half the price.

Michelin UK, commented that even though they were pleased with the results, they say the tests didn't take into account fuel efficiency & longevity.

Personally, I would prefer to be safer and would cite wet braking as a major factor in my choice of tyre.


Maxxis tyres Drift to success

Maxxis, the official partner of the British Drift Championship recently discussed its role in this fast growing motorsport.

While this sport is still in its infancy, Maxxis has supported the sport and their usage of the Maxxis MAZ-1Drift tyre, where previously most drifters would have used part worn tyres, many are now using fresh rubber. The extent to which tyres are damaged is testimony to the forces they endure, while still offering progressive grip and safety to the drivers.

Maxxis' involvement as a British drift car partner is a clear indicator of the progress that drifting is making here in the UK. Gaining sponsorship from a supplier like Maxxis assures the drivers of a continual supply of good tyres, which improves their drifting abilities, which aids skills and competition standards. Maxxis support Team Japspeed, who can be seen at Bovindon raceway in Hertfordshire.

The British Drift Championships are run with a series of tiers; Super professional, Professional and Semi-professional, with teams regularly contacting each other for advice, as they all want to promote the sport.

We at Hometyre have even supported a drift car weekend held in Portsmouth, we sent two vans to help out with all the tyre changes. Should you be considering a drifting event, then give us a call, to see what we can offer.

When it comes to Maxxis tyres, we have promoted these for long time, I run my van on Maxxis and get good mileage, and good grip.

We have the following Maxxis tyres available on our website: MAP1, Victra Sport VS01, Victra MAZ1, Victra MAZ3, M36, M36, Victra MAZ4S, Victra PRO-R1, MAZ1-Drift, MAPW2 (Winter tyre), & the UE168 (Van tyre).

There are also a series of 4x4 tyres Such as the Bighorn, Mudzilla, Trepador, Creepy Crawler, Bravo, etc Give us a call to discuss options and what is best for the type of driving you do.



Dunlop Winter Response 2 tyres, ideal for smaller cars.

This year Dunlop launched a range of tyres specifically aimed at the smaller car, with sizes for 14 and 15 inch wheels. The winter response 2 tyres follow on from the successful Winter response tyres and pick up in areas of performance, where the latter left off.

Several innovative features have been incorporated into the Dunlop Winter Response 2 tyres to make them safer for driving in the winter.

They are equipped with 45 degree shoulder blades, which enhance the grip on snow and ice when cornering, as well as having the innovative Reverse Snow guide tread block pattern. This ensures that snow from the surface is captured in the central part of the tread, resulting in an increase in the contact area.

They offer enhanced braking responsiveness and improved handling especially on wet and icy roads as well as in the snow.

Fuel efficiency... has been a cruicial factor in the design, the tyre shows less deformation in comparison with a standard tyre of the same size, as a result rolling resistance decreases, leading to more fuel efficiency.

The Dunlop Winter response 2 tyre is available in 22 different sizes ranging from 155 / 55 R14 to 195 / 65 R15, with the majority of these sizes attaining a 'B' rating in the wet grip European tyre labelling.

In the first few months of 2013, the AA rescued over 7000 vehicles that had become stuck in snow, ice or mud. The long range forecast for this year is similar, so if you don't want to become a statistic, consider fitting winter tyres to your vehicle this year.

Hometyre recommend fitting winter tyres for customers who rely on their vehicle for work or for those who regularly make essential journeys.

Our vans are fitted with winter tyres, so we can get to you wherever you are located to fit your new tyres.


Are your tyres fitted correctly?

This year checks in Ireland as part of their Mot found 8000 tyres had been fitted backwards. Even here in Sussex I often see tyres on cars that are fitted wrongly, I followed a vauxhall Zafira today that had one rear tyre facing the wrong way.

Most people do not realise that some tyres can be handed. There are three basic types of tread pattern on tyres:

Conventional, these have a tread pattern that can be fitted to a wheel rim facing either way. They can also be placed at any position on a vehicle.

Assymetrical tyres have a tread pattern that differs from one side to the other. These tyres have the wording 'Inside' and 'Outside' printed on the side walls. As such they have to be mounted on the wheel rim the correct way around. Once correctly fitted to a wheel, these can be mounted on any position on a vehicle.

Rotational tyres generally have a 'V' shaped tread pattern, they have the wording 'Rotational' printed on the side walls. These have to be mounted on the car with the rotational arrow facing the correct way.

The rotational tyres are the ones that are most often wrong as it is the car drivers who swap their wheels around trying to improve tyre wear, but they don't always realise, that rotational tyres must stay on the same side of the vehicle.

If in doubt about your tyres have them checked by a reputable tyre depot.

GoodYear_Eagle_NCT5_Tyre Normal tread Tyre_B__stone_Potenza_RE070 Assymetrical tread Tyre_16_Wanlai Rotational tread


Spare tyre, have you checked yours?

Its not often that you need to use your spare tyre, but when you do, you need to know that is in good condition and is inflated to the correct pressure.

I often check spare tyres and can find them with pressures as low as 10 PSI, and when this is a spacesave that is supposed to be 60PSI then it is way under pressure. If you were to drive on a tyre this low, you risk damaging it, with the possibility of having a blowout while driving.


I also see many spare tyres with cracks on the sidewalls, where they have been left unused and unchecked in a boot for years on end.

Most people don't realise it, but the rubber of a tyre kept in a boot and not used deteriorates faster than a tyre in constant use.

If you had two tyres of the same age the one not in use is more dangerous than the one in constant use.

When not in use, atmospheric gases have a more damaging effect on the tyre (whether new or not), such gases harden unused tyres and make the rubber more brittle. Then when you evenruallly use the tyre it could disintegrate and cause an accident.

The tyre in constant use counteracts the atmospheric gas effect as it rolls and flexes. For this reason, if you need to use your spare tyre, then you should drive at reduced speeds when using it, and revert back to the original tyre (Repaired) or a new tyre as soon as possible.

Since this effects any tyre even a new one, that is why you should be sure that any tyre you buy even from a tyre depot should not be more than 5 years old when fitted. We at Hometyre get our tyres 'fresh' from the wholesalers as and when we need them, we do not keep old stock like some tyre bays.

Furthermore this is another reason not to buy part worn tyres, as they are often more than 5 years old.


Winter tyre swapping or fitting

I have already been busy this week swapping existing customers vehicles over from Summer to Winter tyres. As well as fitting new winter tyres for some customers.

The temperature has already dropped, and while out today I was caught in a hail shower (Winter is on the way). If you have never had winter tyres, then now is the time to consider having them fitted, as temperatures drop below 7 degrees C, the rubber in summer tyres harden and braking distances increase. Winter tyres are made with more Silica in the compound allowing them to stay supply in these lower temperatures, thus improving acceleration, handling and braking.hometyre_vital_for_winter_months

Many drivers of rear wheeled vehicles, such as BMW's, Mercedes & Porsches will greatly benefit from the additional grip they will get by having winter tyres fitted.

Even if you own a 4x4, winter tyres can make a great difference in the amount of grip, this was shown in the auto Express magazine this week when they tested a Ford Kuga fitted with winter tyres and one with summer tyres on a ski slope. The Kuga with Summer tyres only managed to get up 12 meters before it slid back 9 meters, the Kuga without 4x4 engaged but fitted with winter tyres managed to go 110 meters, and with the 4x4 engaged managed to get all the way to the top of the ski slope.

I have already fitted winter tyres to my van, so I will have no problems getting to you whatever the weather. You can order your winter tyres directly on line, choose the date and time you want the fitting, and we will come to you. Once fitted with your new winter tyres, the old tyres can then be stored away ready for the spring.

For more information on winter tyres click here.


More part worn tyre companies being caught out

Trading standards across the country have been checking up on Part worn tyre dealers who sell to the public. The latest checks of 10 sites found that most were starting to follow guidelines and they had no major issues. But one site caused major concern, last Friday along with the police they raided the site, to check the tyres on sale. The police were asked to accompany the trading standards officers due to previous resistance. Two men at the site were arrested under the customer protection act and have been bailed pending further inquiries.

Checks in the site found tyres for sale that were ten years old, some that were defective in terms of tread, as well as some with nails and screws still in them.

A local councillor said "Traders who adhere to the rules and sell used tyres to the public in the right way had nothing to fear. But in situations like this, there are two problems; firstly you should not be ripping off the public. And secondly and more importantly here, is a matter of safety. Lives were being put at risk, if you are a rogue trader we will catch you and we will deal with you.

Members of the public should be aware that they will ultimately lose out by buying such products".

This is why we at Hometyre will not sell of fit part worn tyres, you do not know their history. Have they been repaired/patched, or have they been taken off a crashed car, where they may have suffered internal structural damage? New budget tyres are not that much more expensive when you compare them per mm of tread left, and at least you are safe in the knowledge that they are in good condition.Sidewall_repair A Part worn tyre patched on the sidewall, this is not to British standards and should be considered as dangerous.


Part worn tyre, worst bulge

I was called out to a customer today who had part worn tyres fitted to his car two days ago costing £20 each, by the next day he had noticed a slight bulge in one tyre, then by the next day the bulge had grown to the size in this photo overnight. It almost looks like a second tyre underneath the main tyre.

Part worn tyre bulge

I then checked the other part worn tyres on the car and found problems with all of them....

2nd tyre had a 20mm split within the tread (Mot failure - dangerous)

3rd tyre had a screw still stuck in the shoulder (Mot failure as well as being unrepairable and dangerous)

4th tyre was legal but had problems in that it had 6mm of tread on the outside edge and 2mm on the inside edge. Also all 4 tyres did not have 'Part worn' printed on the sidewall which is illegal.

This is one of the reasons that we at Hometyre, often tell people NOT TO BUY PART WORN TYRES.

Last month a Trading standards officer visited two part worn dealers, accompanied by a tyre expert and 45 tyres that were for sale were chosen at random to be given a visual check (This check will not show any structural faults only obvious faults seen by eye). They commented that the results were both disappointing and frightening. None of the tyres had the 'Part worn' marking on them, making them illegal, although not a safety issue. Of the 45 tyres checked 20 were found to be dangerous, with the following faults:

4 still had objects penetrating the tyre.

4 had temporary repairs using string in the hole.

3 had patches over holes, but not the correct patch plugs as recommended by British standards.

3 had side wall damage with cuts still evident.

2 had structural damage that was visible.

1 was kinked and had a distorted bead.

1 the inner liner had seperated from the tread

1 had heavy cracks within the tread.

1 was still punctured.

The tyre expert commented that "These were serious faults that could have resulted in accidents or fatalities"

Part worn SPECIALISTS (And I use the term 'specialsts' loosely) will often tell their customers that they source their tyres from Germany, as the Germans have different laws to the UK ... I have heard two suggested laws

1. The Germans must change all their tyres if one has a puncture, so the other good tyres are thrown away!

2. When selling a car that has been used as a demonstrator, a garage must first change all the tyres, and put new ones on, then throw away the other good tyres.

This is utter rubbish, the Germans do not throw away perfectly good tyres, if anything they look after their safety more than us in the UK, they will insist on good quality tyres, will try to have all four tyres on a vehicle of the same make and tread pattern and they will often change tyres before they reach the legal limit.

The truth is that most part worn tyres come from tyres that are scrapped in the UK. Tyre dealers remove dangerous tyres that should not be repaired, and send them to recycling centres, these places sort out the ones they think they can 'fix' and sell them to part worn dealers. Some tyres come from cars that have been in accidents, there is no way of knowing what internal damage has occurred to that tyre.

Would you still buy part worn tyres if they were called 'Part safe tyres'? My customer was lucky, he saw the bulge, and decided that 'New' tyres were the way to go. How many other people are driving around on dangerous tyres? Why risk your life, buy new tyres, at least you can be assured of the quality you are getting.

Photo below was a cracked part worn tyre fitted to a car to help it pass its MOT!

Tyre cracks


Don't rely on a cars technology

How often do you check your tyre pressures? Or are you one of these drivers that has some form of tyre pressure sensor in your car.

There are two basic types of pressure sensor, the most accurate is the TPMS (tyre pressure monitoring sensor), this is a sensor that is part of the valve, and is placed inside the wheel. The sensor usually sends a signal to the cars inbuilt monitor every few seconds informing it of the actual pressure within the tyre. Once the pressure drops below a set figure (3 ~5 psi) it sends out a warning which usually displays on the dashboard. The main problem with this type of sensor is that they rely on a battery which is sealed within the valve unit, once the battery expires, then the unit needs to be replaced.

We at Hometyre can replace these units for you at prices that beat most main dealers click here for more info.

The other type of sensor works through the ABS system. It measures the rolling resistance on each wheel and should a tyre deflate, it will measure the rotational drag and report this as a problem. This system is not as accurate as the valve system, as it tends to take a 10 psi drop before it flashes up a warning. The problem is that if the pressures drop slowly, the system doesn't often pick it up, or if two tyres are punctured at the same time, it will not show.

This was evident on a mini I was called out too last week, both rear wheels were badly corroded leading to slow air leaks, the system didn't realise that both rear tyres had deflated (especially as they were Runflat tyres) and the owner drove on them damaging both tyres. He had relied totally on the system to warn him that his pressures were low, and never actually checked his tyres himself. The result was that he had to have two new expensive runflat tyres.

TPMS sensor valve Photo shows a TPMS unit inside the wheel.


Three different sets of locking wheel nuts to remove

Today I have had three sets of locking wheel nuts to remove for customers.

In the first two cases, the locking wheel nut removal socket had been worn smooth, usually this happens when the lock nuts have been put on and taken off using an air wrench in a tyre bay or garage. We at Hometyre always remove and replace locknuts by hand. The third job was where the nuts had been greatly overtightened and the removal tool had broken when trying to remove them.

The first job was on a Volvo S60, the owner was going to change his own brake pads, when he found that the lock nut tool would not work. Lock_nut_14He had McGard lock nuts,(Photo top right) and rang round a few specialist removal companies who told him they could not get them off. He called us at Hometyre and it took me around 30 minutes to take off the lock nuts for him.

Splined lock nuts removed by Hometyre sussex

The second job was a Rover 75, with splined type lock nuts, similar to the ones in the photo on the left.

In this case both the nut and the removal tool had been worn smooth, leaving nothing to grip, and the removal tool just spun round inside the lock nut.

This took me around 20 minutes to remove the nuts.

Pin type lock nuts removed by Hometyre Sussex

The third job was on a Mitsubishi space star, this lock nut is the type with 3 holes and the removal tool has 3 corresponding pins (Photo bottom left). In trying to remove these locknuts the pins had sheared off. To make matters worse, the outside of this locknut has a revolving collar, so when the customer had tried with a reverse thread removal tool from Halfords, all it did was spin around on the revolving collar (A waste of £35 for that 'removal tool').

This took a little longer, but I had all four nuts off in around 40 minutes.

So if you find yourself in the unfortunate position of having a damaged or lost lock nut removal tool, don't waste your money on the cheap removal tools in accessory shops, just call us at Hometyre. we will do the job properly.


Watch out on the roads for the 'Flash for cash' scam

It has recently been reported both in the press and the local radio about the latest scam to catch unwary motorists nicknamed 'flash for cash'. This involves a car on the road, flashing a driver on a side road'inviting' him to pull out. The motorist on the main road then speeds up causing an accident. They then claim that the person in the side road pulled out, without looking.

They then claim against the motorist for damage to their car, replacement vehicle hire, loss of earnings, as well as making claims for whiplash etc. Part of the problem stems from the legal side, if you check the highway code, it actually says that flashing is a way of telling other drivers you are there. It does not actually mean 'you go ahead and pull out'.


  • Never assume that flashing headlights is a signal for you to proceed.
  • Carry a pen & paper to take notes in the event of an accident, and if possible take photos using a camera or your mobile phone ( Include photos of the cars involved, and the occupants.)
  • If in doubt, don't pull out, and ty to keep an eye on the other car if you do pull out, giving you the chance to brake.
  • If you are involved in an accident and you feel there is a chance it may be a scam

  1. Don't admit Liability, this is something for your insurers to deal with. Write down as much as you can about the accident, plus the number plates of any other drivers who may have seen it.
  2. Call the police, but be careful, you could be dealing with criminals who could be dangerous.
  3. If anyone is hurt in anyway, call an ambulance. ask how the other occupants of any vehicle involved are feeling.
  4. Write down the number of occupants in the other car, if possible where they were sitting and any information about them. names, addresses, ages, male, female etc.
  5. See if there are any Independent witnesses, ask for names, addresses, phone numbers. Be wary of any that seem to over enthusiastic, as they may be 'staged' witnesses on the side of the other driver.
  6. Look to see if there is any CCTV camera's in the area. and inform your insurance company ASAP, as they may be able to get hold of any footage.
  7. Let your insurer know that you think this may be a set up
  8. call the"Confidential Insurance Fraud bereau" (IFB) on0800 328 2550 as they will be willing to hear about anything they think is relevant.
Above all be safe and be vigilant.

Staying safe in the wet weather

As we approach the Autumn, the weather changes considerably and we have many more wet cold days, driving becomes more hazardous and we have to allow for this. Here are a few safety tips. Tyre pressures should be checked more regularly and corrected as required. The pressures you should use are usually in the owners manual, but can sometimes be found inside the fuel filler cap or inside the door jamb. Some people think that the pressure printed on the tyre is the correct pressure, this is wrong. This is information on the maximum pressure that that tyre can take. Wrongly inflated tyres can lose grip, causing skidding or slipping under cornering or braking. While checking the tyre pressures, it is worth checking your tyre tread depth at the same time. The legal limit might be 1.6mm, but once you get below 3mm you will start to notice loss of control, especially in the wet, as there is more chance of aquaplaning with less tread. When you drive through a puddle, the grooves in the tread is used to push out the water allowing the tyre to grip the road, as the grooves get shallower, the water cannot escape so easily. After a long dry summer, oils and rubber build up on the road. When the wet weather arrives, these build ups on the road, become slippery, causing dangerous conditions. Apart from having good tyres at the correct pressures, all you can do is drive at reduced speeds. Slower driving in the wet will give you better control of your vehicle. If the worst happens and you skid or aquaplane, do not hit the brakes. Sharp braking can lock your front wheels and you will not be able to steer. If your vehicle is fitted with ABS ( Anti-lock Braking System), do not pump the brakes, ease off the accelerator, slowing the car which will allow the tyres to get back in contact with the road, steady pressure on your brake and you should get your vehicle back under control. If possible follow in the 'tracks' of the vehicle in front on wet roads, as the water has already been disbursed, giving you better grip, but don't follow too close. For further tips on tyres check out the Hometyre website.

How safe is your puncture repair?

I was called out to a customer with a flat tyre this week, he had had a puncture repair on the same tyre two weeks ago, by a tyre depot in Bognor Regis and the same tyre had gone flat again. Since he could ot drive on a flat tyre he decided to call out Hometyre to see if I could find the source of th leak and seal it for him.

I arrived at his house and soon removed the wheel, pumped some air into it and then checked or the leak. It was soon obvious that it was leaking from the same hole as had previously been fixed. I took the tyre off of the wheel to see what the problem was and found that the tyre depot had only made a 'temporary repair' to the tyre, this is where they push a bunched up coil of string and glue through the hole from the outside. (See photo below).


This type of repair is usually only carried out by the roadside emergancy services as a 'Get you home or to a Tyre repair place', it is not a permanent repair, and the roadside services use these temporary repairs as they do not carry the equipment to take a tyre off and on and make a permanent repair.

We at Hometyre do not use this type of repair, we only carry out permanent repairs according to British standards making the tyre safe for you to continue driving on it. We take the tyre off of the wheel, clean up the area to be repaired, and glue in a mushroom style plug patch from the inside. (See photo below).

The type of repair we carry out when done correctly, will generally last for he rest of the life of the tyre. Temporary repairs are only designed to last for around 200 miles, and you should drive on them at reduced speeds. So next time you need a repair making to one of your tyres, please call us at Hometyre on 0333 444 5454 and have the job done properly.



Where has my locking wheel nut socket gone?

When we at Hometyre come out to change your tyres, or to carry out any work that involves removing your wheels, if you have locking wheel nuts, then we will need the adaptor socket to get your nuts off. It is amazing how many people do not know where their socket is kept in their car. Also many people buy a used car without checking that the previous owner has left the socket. It is only when they get to the point of removing a wheel that the problem becomes apparent.

In general the lock nut removal socket is kept either in the glove box or in the boot with your jack. But with some car manufacturers they have found ingenious places to hide it, Mini's sometimes have it next to the battery in the boot, Rangerovers sometimes have it in a storage panel inside the side of the boot area, in a small clip. and some BMW's have a small removable carpeted piece on the right of the boot, where it is kept underneath.

As a driver you should know where your removal socket is kept, and you should also make sure it is returned to that same place when any garage or tyre depot has used it. Insist that when using it, they remove the nuts by hand, as using an impact driver can damage it, leaving you stranded. I have had 3 or 4 customers where a previous garage, has just put the 'bits' back in the box and not said anything. Also don't leave it at home for 'safety' .... it is not much use to you when you are stuck on the side of the road with a flat tyre, and no way of getting the wheel off.

But, should you ever find yourself stuck without your removal socket, then you can give us a call at Hometyre.... we have a specialist tool that can remove all types of lock nut including the Chromed nuts with revolving collars, the new Volvo & Ford spinning nuts, the domed Jaguar nuts and the McGard nuts, all without damaging your alloy wheels.

Some of my previous customers have been quoted up to £400 to have one locknut removed. we will remove up to 4 nuts for much less than this.

For more information take a look on this web page here

So far this year I have had a 100% success rate in removing lock nuts where the customer has lost or found theirs to be damaged. See some of my testimonials here

Locking wheel nut socket This is a typical lock nut socket.


What causes punctures

Some people seem to get punctures on a regular basis, others hardly ever seem to get a puncture.

Punctures more often occur in older tyres as the rubber is thinner and objects can pierce the tyre rather than just being embedded in the tread block. A new tyre on a car comes with 8mm of tread, add to that the construction layers forming the casing and the total thickness is around 13 to 14mm where as an old tyre with 3mm of tread will have a total thickness of around 8 to 9mm.

Almost 80% of punctures occur in the rear tyres, this is because foreign objects such as screws and nails lie on their side on the road, your front tyres flick them up into the air and while bouncing/spinning the rear tyres catch them on the point and they pierce the tyre.

You can also get punctures from not looking after your tyre pressures, as the lower the pressure the more chance of your wheel rim rubbing against the sidewall and it will soon wear right through. Careless driving, where you hit a kerb at speed will often cause a tyre to split, or even hitting a dreaded pothole.

Other forms of 'puncture' which are not necessarily tyre related are:

Leaking valve - When having tyres fitted you should always have a new valve, as a rubber valve deteriorates with age ad will in the end start to leak.

Corrosion - This is where water has got under the paint of the wheel rim and slowly corrodes the steel /aluminium causing the paint to lift, allowing air to escape.

Split rim - Occasionally after hitting a kerb or pothole an alloy wheel can split, allowing the air out.

Old tyres - As rubber deteriorates with age the rubber hardens and it loses its the seal against the wheel rim or age related cracks appear in the tread or sidewall.

Objects in tyres, below is a list of some of the foreign objects I have found in tyres:


Panel Pins

Nails, from small 12mm long to 100mm long




Barbed wire

A stone (A smooth round stone about 15mm in diameter had punctured one tyre)

A sharp piece of flint

Stanley knife blade

A Yale key

Lead weight

TV ariel

6mm drill bit

Tent peg

3 pin plug (The plastic pins pierced the tyre)

I have also found many weird looking bits and pieces of metal, but have never found glass yet! Many of the above punctures were fixable depending on where they had pierced the tyre, and this is something we at Hometyre can do for you. Including the leaking valves and corrosion problems.

Puncture_screw BIts_found_in_tyres


What type of cars do Hometyre work on?

I have been asked if we only work on expensive cars, as some people seem to think that we charge a premium to come out to you to change your tyres. The basic answer is that we work on all types of car, as our prices are very competative, often beating all other fixed site tyre depots on price.

This led me to thin about the cars I have worked on in the last few years, so here is a sort of list of the ones i can remember.

Alfa Romeo, GT, 147

Audi, A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, A6, Q5, Q7

Bentley, Continental

BMW, 1, 3, 5, 7 series, X1, X3, X5, X7

Citroen, C1, C2, C3, C5, Relay

Corvette, C6

Daihatsu, Terios, Sirion, Sportrak, Hijet.

Daimler, Limo

Fiat, Panda, Punto, 500, Barchetta, Ducato.

Ford, KA, Fiesta, Focus, Mondeo, Connect, Transit.

Honda, Jazz, Civic. Accord, CR-V, Insight.

Hyundai, Getz, i10, i30, Santa fe.

Jaguar, X, XJ, XF.

Jeep, Cherokee, Wrangler.

Kia, Rio, Soul, Cee'd, Picanto, Sportage.


Landrover, Freelander, Defender, Discovery, Rangerover.

LDV, Maxus

Lexus, LS, RX.

Mazda, 3, 5, 6, MX3, MX5, RX8, Xedos.

Maserati, Quatroporte.

Mercedes, A, B, C, E, M, S, V Class, SLK, CLK, Vaneo.

Mini, 1, Cooper.

Mitsubishi, Shogun, Space star, Colt

Nissan, 350Z, Cherry, Juke, Leaf, Micra, Note, Qashqai, Skyline.

Peugeot, 107, 205, 206, 207, 3008, RCZ.

Porsche, 911, Carrera, Boxter, Cayenne.

Proton, Gen 2.

Renault, 5, Clio, Megane, Scenic, Espace, Kangoo, Wind. Berlingo, Master.

Rolls-Royce, Wraith.

SAAB, 900, 9000, 9-3, 9-5.

Seat, Ibiza, Exeo.

Skoda, Fabia, Octavia, Yeti.

Smart, fortwo, forfour.

Suberu, Forester, Impreza, Legacy.

Suzuki, Alto, Swift, Jimini, Vitara.

Toyota, Aygo, Corolla, Previa, Yaris., Landcruiser, Urban cruiser.

Vauxhall, Astra, Beetle, Signum, Corsa, Insignia, Vectra, Vivaro.

Volkswagen, Fox, Polo, Golf, Tiguan, Touran, Transporter, Camper van, Crater.

As well as the above cars, I have fitted tyres to Kit cars, Vintage cars, Caravans, Motorhomes, Horse trailers, Boat trailers, Tent trailers, Industrial Compressors, and a wheel barrow.


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