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VW Golf in Bracklesham bay requiring new tyres and a locking wheelnut removal.

One of the jobs I was called out to today was a VW golf in Bracklesham bay, the customer called in for two new 195/65R15 Hifly tyres and a locking wheel nut removal.

The tyres were ordered from one of my local wholesalers, so I picked them up and drove out to the address on the system. Once there the customer came out to meet me, he explained that he had first ordered two tyres, and when talking to our sales guys, they had suggested that he get the locking wheel nut tool ready for my arrival.

He then told me that his car had been in to a garage about a month ago to have brake pads fitted. Now when he has searched the car for the locknut tool, he had found it was missing. He had called the garage that had carried out the brake pad work, but they said they had no idea as to its whereabouts, and couldn't help him.

He attempted to remove the locknuts himself by grinding round one of the nuts using a dremel to round it off so that he could hammer a socket over it, but when he had tried it wouldn't grip and just revolved on the nut.

He had seen on the Hometyre website that we also carry out locknut removals, and had called back to book a removal.VW_Golf_3

I have a number of different tools to remove locknuts, once I had a look at the type I was dealing with, I was then able to select the right tool for the job and get on with the removal process. It took around 30 minutes to remove all of the locknuts with the most time being taken on the locknut that the customer had been grinding. He had ground away most of the metal making it very weak and I had to use a number of different tools to finally free it.

If you ever have a set of locknuts that you cannot remove, call us first, don't try yourself as you make the job far harder, and even we may not be able to get them off.

Once the locknuts were off, I was then able to jack the car up, remove the wheels and change the two rear tyres as planned, pump up the new tyres to the correct pressures and bolt the wheels back on the car tightening the bolts to the correct torque settings. As part of our job we also check all of the other tyres on the vehicle and give a written report on their condition to the customer.

When I checked the front tyres I noticed that there were cracks all around the sidewalls. Once I showed this to the customer he asked if it was possible to get two more tyres as he had an MOT coming up in the next week. I had other jobs booked in that afternoon, but was able to arrange to be back at 5:30pm with two more tyres.

Off I went and completed my other jobs before going back to my wholesaler to collect more tyres. I then went back out to Bracklesham bay, and changed the front tyres.

Result one happy customer, and one VW car that should have no tyre problems when it comes to the MOT.

Payment for the job was taken by a secured card machine on my van; I gave the customer a key ring, a leaflet to pass onto friends and a Which Trusted Trader review card to be filled in at a later date, before finally getting away and going home.

For information on lock nut removals click here and to see Which reviews click here


Fiat Ducato Motorhome needing camper tyres in Steyning

One of today's jobs was to go to a storage site in Steyning to fit new 225/75R16 C Michelin Agilis Camper tyres to a motorhome.

Being a 5 star secured site, I was not allowed to enter by myself, so the customer had to meet me at the gate and let me in.

He led me round to his storage section where his motorhome was kept. He explained that he was preparing for a trip to Portugal, and had had his motorhome serviced. As part of the service the engineer had noted that his front tyres were low on tread and were starting to show signs of perishing. As such the engineer had recommended Hometyre to the customer and told him to call us as we were a mobile srvice and would come to him (Far easier than taking a motorhome to a tyre depot).

I jacked the motorhome up using the main suspension point (far stronger than the sill, especially on such a heavy vehicle), then removed each wheel in turn, taking them into my van where I removed the tyres, fitted new ones, inflated them to the correct pressure (in this case 80 psi) and balanced them using our electronic wheel balancing machine.

Once complete each wheel was taken out and refitted to the motorhome, the nuts were replaced and tightened to the correct torque setting for this vehicle (180 Nm).Motorhome_aug_2016

I then went round the vehicle checking the other tyres for tread depth and condition, all tyres looked fine but they were all 10 years old. The caravan club recommend changing tyres on these vehicles when they reach between 3 to 5 years, so these are overdue for a change.

I informed the customer, who said that he would call us back to change them very soon.

I then completed the invoice and took a debit card payment using our chip and pin machine. Job completed and I was then let out of the storage site,ready to move onto my next job.


Secondhand caravan with old tyres and no locking wheelnut in west wittering

I was called out to a Caravan site today to fit four new Max Miler tyres. The owner had just bought an Avondale caravan the day before and had towed it from Surrey to a camp site in West Wittering. The tyres were flat when he picked it up, and he pumped them up before starting his journey. Arriving last night, he had just parked up and slept in the caravan.

I arrived at the camp site around lunchtime and was shown to their pitch. After introducing myself, I took a look around the caravan, all four tyres were 12 years old, and 3 had gone flat overnight. I also noticed that there was a locking wheelnut on each wheel. I asked the customer for the removal key and was given a blank stare. He had cleaned out the caravan that morning emptying every storage locker and cubby hole and had not seen any loknut key.

He spent half an hour searching the caravan again to no avail, he even called the previous owner, but they could not remember ever using it.

Luckily for him I had an old removal key that was very similar, and with a file I was able to modify it and get the locknuts off.

Once the locknuts were off I was able to raise the corner stays, then jack up the caravan and remove each wheel in turn, taking it into the van and replaced each tyre.

Each one was then fitted back onto the caravan and torqued to the correct setting.

Since the locknut did not have the correct removal key, I decided not to fit them back on the caravan possibly causing the customer further problems at a later date and replaced them with normal bolts.

I put the corner stays back down, and completed the invoice before taking a debit card payment using our onboard chip & pin machine. Job complete.


Two new Riken tyres on a VW Beetle in Hove

One of the jobs this week was to fit two new tyres to a VW Beetle in Hove, the car is 6 years old and was still running on its original tyres.

Two on one side needed changing immediately, one had been punctured in the side wall, so it was not repairable; the other had a split within the tread that was through to the cords.

The two tyres on the other side although old were still in a reasonably good condition and had 4mm of tread remaining.

It is not good to fit the new tyres to one side, so it was necessary to do a front to rear swap, taking the old Off Side Rear (OSR) tyre and moving it to the Near Side Front (NSF) position. This then allowed me to fit the two new tyres to the rear, so that across each axle the tyres were matched up.

First job was to find the locking wheel nut removal socket and take off the three locknuts that we are going to work on. I then used two jacks to raise the rear of the car, once raised the remaining wheel nuts were removed and the OSR tyre was taken into the van to be rebalanced, the pressure was checked and adjusted. The wheel was then put to the side ready to be moved to the front position. The NSR wheel was then removed and brought into the van, the tyre was removed and a new tyre fitted. The new tyres were directional tyres, so they have to be mounted facing in the right direction. The wheel was inflated and balanced, then fitted back on the car in the OSR position. That corner of the car was then lowered and the jack moved to the NSF position, were I was then able to remove that wheel. The previous OSR wheel was then fitted to the NSF position. This left me with one tyre to replace, which once completed was then fitted back on the NSR.

All wheel nuts were tightened and torqued to the correct setting for the vehicle. I then checked and adjusted the pressure on the last tyre on the OSF. Finally I completed the invoice and took a debit card payment from the customer.

By having both older tyres on the front, they will wear quicker, allowing the customer to get the most use out of them before they start to crack due to age.

Should you want new tyres and want your vehicle set up correctly, then give us a call at Hometyre.


Tyre replacement on a Citroen C1 in the PO22 area

The office had a call from a lady with a Citroen C1, it had recently passed its MOT but came with an advisory on the two front tyres as the tread was low.

She booked us to come out on a Saturday morning (She works during the week) to replace the front tyres with 155/65R14 Hankooks.

Being a weekend my wife often comes on jobs with me, and as usual she joined me today. We arrived at the address 5 minutes ahead of schedule, the lady saw us arrive and was stood by the car with keys in hand by the time I had parked.

I checked all the tyres and agreed that the front two were low (2.5mm, we recommend changing at 3mm as you lose considerable grip below this).

I asked her for the locking wheel nut key and received the usual blank look, I explained that her car had a locking nut on each wheel specific to her car, and that there should be an adaptor/key to remove them. Still the same blank look - she couldn't remember seeing anything in the car (I showed her an old one I keep in the van, no recognition). We then emptied her car boot checking all corners and cubby holes, then turned to the inside of the car, under seats, in ashtrays, door and seat pockets, no lock nut key.

I asked how long she had had the car and had it been to any garages recently. She bought the car privately 6 months ago, and apart from the MOT had not had any work done to the car. To be sure she phoned her local MOT centre, but they assured her they had not used the key.

I explained that we at Hometyre do carry a specialist tool that can remove the locknuts, but there is a cost involved. She was happy with this and told us to continue.

The locknuts were the type with 3 small holes at the bottom and a small spigot sticking out of the middle (Typical French locknut) many garages struggle to remove these as the spigot breaks off and you cannot get to the flange at the bottom to hammer anything over it. Out came our removal tool and I fitted the right head for that type of locknut. This one cuts into theLock_nut_17 locknut as you hit it and twists at the same time, removing the nut. Sounds easy! But there are some tactics involved. It did take a while but after a little coaxing I had managed to remove all four nuts.

It was then a case of jacking up the car and removing the front wheels. I then took each front wheel into the van and removed the old tyres, fitted new valves and put on the new Hankook tyres. I then put the wheel onto our balancing machine and added sticky weights to the inside of the wheel (Don't let any garage hammer clip on weights to the outside or your alloys, they look ugly and damage the paint finish).

While I was changing the front wheels, my wife took off each rear wheel, checked the air pressures, rebalanced the wheels and replaced them onto the front of the car. This is the correct and safest way to set up a car, with new rubber on the rear in case you get into a skid. It also means that you can get the most wear out of your old tyres before they crack and deteriorate on the rear through age.

I then replaced the wheels with new tyres onto the rear of the vehicle, and torqued all four wheels to their correct settings. A quick drive to settle the suspension and I then checked the wheel alignment using our laser alignment equipment, it was spot on, no need for any adjustment.

Once finished I updated our vehicle report on the ipad and completed the invoice, a copy of both are emailed to the customer once payment has been taken.

I didn't charge the customer for the front to rear swap and rebalance, as I felt that she had paid for the locknut removal which wasn't expected. She was also lucky that I had four replacement bolts on board that would replace the removed locknuts.

I took a debit card payment using our card reader, gave the lady a key ring along with a Which? Trusted Trader review card. Job complete.

If you need new tyres fitting or locking wheel nuts removed then call us at Hometyre on Landline 0800 783 9310 or Mobile friendly on 0333 444 5454. We are glad to help.


Daimler Jaguar with wire wheels having a tyre change in Chichester

Not often that I get to work on a classic car, but this was one of those days.

The call came in from a customer who had a Daimler Jaguar with wire wheels that are fitted with inner tubes.

He had checked out our website and was pleased with some of the reviews I had been left by previous customers with classic cars.

He is currently restoring his car, and had just bought some new original wire wheels still in their boxes. The wheels on the car had rusted badly and been pained over with a silver paint, but compared to new chrome wire wheels they were dull. The tyres on the car were still in very good condition as they were only a few years old. So he wanted the tyres taking off of the old rims and fitting to the new rims along with new inner tubes.

I arrived at the house to find the customer already outside with his car, he already had the car jacked up and was in the process of removing the central wheel nut from the first of the wheels. He showed me the new wheels and while I was getting them out of the boxes he removed each of the old wheels and lined them up for me.

I took out the valve cores to release the air, then put the first wheel in the bead breaker to release the tyre from the rim. I was then able to put the wheel on my tyre changer and remove the old tyre and tube. The new wheel was then put on the machine and the bottom of the old tyre was mounted. I then have to hold open the tyre and feed the new inner tube into place. Being careful not to damage the inner tube or the new chromed rims, the top of the tyre is then pushed onto the rim. Air is slowly added to the tube inflating the tyre to 34psi.

Once complete the wheel is put onto the balancing machine and spun, this shows up the weight difference from the tyre, sticky weights were put onto the inside of the rim to counterbalance the errors. These sticky weights are ideal for these chrome wire wheels as they don't damage the rim or look ugly like hammer on weights.

Once complete the wheel was put back onto the car and the central nut tightened with a leather mallet. This was repeated for the four other wheels (includes the spare).

Once finished I took payment using our card reading machine, and emailed the receipt through to the customer.

He was happy with the job and was looking forward to taking the Jag out for a spin.

DaimlerJag with wire wheels

If you own a classic or veteran car, give us a call at Hometyre to see what we can do for you. For contact details click here.


Cracked alloy wheel

This job started out just like any normal puncture repair.

A customer phoned up and asked us to attend and repair a tyre on her husbands Mercedes 'E' Class. We asked her for the tyre size, as we always like to bring along a spare tyre, just in-case the puncture is not repairable.

I picked up a new Avon tyre from our local wholesaler and headed out to the job.

When I arrived I asked the customer for the car keys and checked the car for the locking wheel nut tool, I then jacked up the car and removed the wheel. At first glance I could not see any foreign object stuck in the tyre. I inflated the tyre to find that there was a 1" split in the tread, which was not repairable, a new tyre it is then, but worse was the fact that there was also a 2" crack in the alloy wheel. After questioning the customer it seems that her husband had hit a pothole the day before and this had caused the damage.cracked_alloy

There were 3 basic options:

1. Buy a new wheel, I checked with a local Mercedes dealer and they wanted around £550 for a new 18" wheel. The customer immediately said no to this based on the price and age / condition of the car.

2. Buy a used wheel from Ebay, a quick search did find one wheel at around £100 to match the existing wheel, but there was a comment saying that it had a slight buckle from hitting a pothole. This had the customer worried as how buckled it was, and could there be a hairline crack just like in their wheel. I have had a few customers who have bought used wheels on Ebay and most of them have had problems with the wheels.

3. Have the existing wheel welded. This has to be carried out by a specialist in aluminium welding as it is not as easy as welding steel. As it was, we at Hometyre Sussex do know of a company who can carry out this work for around £100. The customer felt that this was the way to go.

I put the spare wheel onto the car so that they could continue to use it, and took the old wheel away to be welded. It took a day to get it welded and cleaned up, and then when it was done, I fitted the new Avon tyre. I was then able to call the customer and arrange a date and time to go round and swap the wheel over. Job complete and one happy customer.

So if you have cracked one of your alloy wheels give us a call at Hometyre and let us sort the problem out for you.

Click here for contact details.

Remember that we at Hometyre are Which? Trusted Traders and as such was aim to give a good service at a reasonable price.

See some of our reviews below.

Jean, West Sussex - 05/05/2016
Prompt and professional. On time. Very good service.

Alan Harris - 29/04/2016
I have used this service several times and have recommended them to other people all of whom have found it a great service to use. They arrived on time at my work, the price was excellent with great service. Highly recommended!

Ruth, East Sussex - 29/04/2016Polite, reassuring & professional I liked that I could book a specific time slot for my tyre to be changed. Within seconds of completing my details online, I was called by a very friendly lady who confirmed my booking. On the day, the engineer arrived early & did a great job. He pumped all my tyres too, which was much appreciated.

Colin, Hampshire - 28/04/2016
Great service Arrived very promptly as booked, did a good, safe, job and gave a detailed explanation of the fitting & use of TYRON bands. Added to this, he was very polite and did the job quickly.


Contiseal tyre repair

One of today's jobs was to repair a puncture on a Contiseal tyre, this is something that we at Hometyre can carry out for customers as most tyre bays will not carry out repairs to these tyres as they are difficult to work on.

For those of you that don't know, a Contiseal tyre is a Continental tyre with a thick tar like gel coating on the inside. The idea being that should you get a puncture with a sharp object piercing the tread area of the tyre, the gel will form a seal around the foreign object and keep the tyre from deflating.

To carry out a repair on one of these tyres it is necessary to remove the foreign object first then scrape away the gel around the hole to expose the tyre surface. It is then possible to carry out a high performance permanent repair to British standards (using a patch plug glued in from the inside). Once complete it is then necessary to spend some time scraping the gel back over the repaired area. If this isn't done, then you have lost the self sealing properties of a Contiseal.

Today's customer had seen a metal object sticking out of his tyre, he called a couple of tyre shops who told him it wasn't possible to repair these tyres and that he should buy a new tyre.

After some investigation on the internet, he found Hometyre and gave us a call. He explained that there was a metal object in the central area of the tread and that is looked to be around 4 to 5mm in size. The tyre hadn't deflated so there was no damage to the sidewall.


I arrived at the address and after jacking up the car, removed the wheel. The metal object was easy to see and it turned out to be a snapped off screwdriver blade. I removed the tyre from the wheel and pulled out the metal blade. I then carried out the puncture repair as described above, scraping the gel back over the repair patch at the end.

The tyre was then refitted, inflated balanced and refitted to the car.

So should you find that you have a puncture in a Contiseal tyre, don't despair, call Hometyre as we may be able to help when others refuse to.

The photo shows how the gel has been scraped away and a plug patch has been inserted. The gel is then pulled back over the patch to complete the job.

Remember that we at Hometyre are Which?Trusted Traders, so we will carry out a professional job at a reasonable price.

For more information call us a Hometyre, contact details are here.


Two caravans with differing problems.

Today I had two jobs concerning caravans, and both were quite different…Caravan tyres

The first was a puncture repair in Burgess Hill, I had only fitted new tyres to this caravan last year.

During a routine check the service engineer noticed a screw in one tyre. Since he only required a repair, the customer took the wheel to his local KF (Fast fit centre). They took one look at the screw and told him that he needed a new tyre as the screw was too close to the shoulder of the tyre. He agreed to having the new tyre, but when he told them there were Tyron safety bands in the wheel. KF then told him that they could not help him as they could not remove and refit the Tyrons.

When he got home he dug out his invoice from last year and using the number at the top of the page he called Hometyre to see what we could do.

I turned up bringing a new tyre in-case it was required.

My first job was to measure the position of the screw and using British Standard charts I found that the screw was well within the repairable area, so there was no need for a replacement tyre. For information on puncture repairs click here.

Having been properly trained by Tyron UK, I was able to remove the tyre and Tyron band without any problem, I then removed the screw and made a high performance repair according to British standards. The tyre and Tyron band were then refitted to the wheel, it was inflated to the correct pressure, put back on the caravan and the bolts tightened to the correct torque settings.

My customer was very happy as we had saved him money by not replacing a tyre when it was unnecessary, but also because we are a mobile service, so we came to his home to carry out the work.

My second caravan job was to replace two tyres on a caravan that the customer had just bought in Wales. He did a quick check on the caravan before towing it back to Sussex, but it was only when he got it home and checked it properly that he saw that there were cracks in the sidewalls of the tyres and that they were 12 years old. (The caravan club recommend changing caravan tyres every 5 to 7 years without fail).

This had the customer extremely worried, as to what could have happened if he had had a blow out on the trip back.

He found Hometyre on the internet and having read some reviews felt that we were the right company to come out and change his tyres, especially as he works from home, so he didn't have to tow the caravan to a tyre centre and wait around for an hour or so.

This was a straight forward job, taking up the corner stays, jacking up the caravan in the correct place, and then changing both tyres (No Tyron bands this time), refitting the wheels, torquing the bolts to the correct settings, and putting the corner stays back down.

He was very impressed with our service, and is at the moment having his car wheels refurbished; he now wants me to return to fit new tyres to the wheels when they are returned.

For information on Caravan tyres click here, for information on Tyron Safety bands click here.


Tyron Safety bands

Are you considering fiting a set of Tyron safety bands to your Caravan or Motorhome? Then we at Hometyre are recommended suppliers and fitters. I personally have been to Tyron UK for additional training in the use of their products, not many Tyron fitters can say that. Tyron bands start at £69 including vat per wheel fully fitted at your location. (Home, storage area or even at a camp site).

What are Tyron Safety bands?

Tyron safety bands are a simple safety device that were originally designed for military use, since then they have been used by ambulances, police cars, the fire brigade and now they have progressed into the leisure vehicle market.

The safety bands can be a potential life saver in the event of a tyre blowout, giving you the ability to continue handling your vehicle under control and continue driving until you reach a place of safety to pull over and stop.

Are there any other advantages?

Some insurance companies will offer a discount on your premium if you have Tyron safety bands installed. This can be around a 10% reduction, which over the years that the Tyron safety bands are fitted, means they can actually pay for themselves.

How do these Safety bands work?

Wheels are all designed with a 'fitting well', this is used by a tyre fitter when putting on or removing a tyre. When fully inflated a tyre is held in place by the internal air pressure, if this pressure drops due to a puncture, then the tyre can move around and drop into the fitting well. If this happens the tyre can come off the wheel, reducing traction, braking and handling as well as possibly damaging your vehicle. When Tyron safety bands are installed, they fill up the fitting well, meaning that a tyre cannot come off a wheel.

Tyron safety bands are especially beneficial for caravans and trailers as they are towed vehicles and a driver will not always realise that they have a puncture until it is too late. These vehicles can easily overturn if they have a blowout, causing considerable damage, as well as putting you and other road users in danger. Fitting Tyron safety bands is a simple safety solution that can be added to your wheels either when buying new tyres, or as a retro fit..

Can Tyron safety bands be fitted by any tyre depot?

The basic answer to this would have to be 'yes', but in reality, not many tyre depots know how to fit them correctly. I have seen many Tyron safety bands fitted upside down, fitted with parts missing, fitted over the valve, and even with the wrong size bands fitted.

We at Hometyre are recommended by Tyron UK as one of their main suppliers and fitters, I have also been to their headquarters for training in the correct methods of fitting their products, so we know exactly what we are doing… not many Tyron fitters can say that.

How much do Tyron safety bands cost? We will supply and fit your Tyron safety bands at your location (Home, storage area or campsite) for a price that starts at £69 including vat for the 13" and 14" bands. 15" & 16" bands are a little more. We even balance your wheels once fitted, to make sure your vehicle does not vibrate when being towed.

There is also a customer care kit that we recommend every customer has at £7.46 plus vat.

To order your Tyron safety bands give us a call at Hometyre on 0800 7839310 (Landline free phone), or 0333 444 5454 (Mobile friendly number), all we need to know is your wheel rim size, then where and when you want them fitting. For more info click here


What are Tyron bands and should I have them?

What are Tyron safety bands?

Tyron Safety bands are a very simple but effective safety device mostly used by the leisure industry on caravans, motorhomes and trailers. They are especially beneficial on these vehicles, as unlike a car it is not so easy to realise that you have a puncture, until it is too late.

These bands can be life-saving in the event of a puncture or blowout. Originally designed for use by the military, they have also been used on police cars, ambulances and fire response vehicles.

The main benefits of Tyron bands is that you will have better handling of your motorhome, caravan or trailer should you suffer a flat tyre. There is the added benefit that a number of insurance companies offer a discount on your annual premium if your vehicle is fitted with Tyron safety bands. For example: the camping and caravan club offer a 10% discount on caravans fitted with these safety devices. This means that over a number of years they could pay for themselves as well as saving your life.

Where or how are Tyron bands fitted?

Tyron bands are fitted into the fitting well of each wheel by a tyre fitter at the same time as fitting a tyre.

Air pressure inside a tyre, keeps it 'pushed' out on the rim. Should you get a puncture the pressure inside decreases and the tyre can flop around on the rim. Because the Tyron band is filling the fitting well, the tyre cannot come off of the rim, all it can do is move around, giving you runflat capability. This allows you to continue driving under control until you reach a safe place to stop.

Without the Tyron band, the tyre would move around and eventually find its way into fitting well, the tyre then comes off the wheel causing a loss of traction, braking and handling. At the same time the tyre can damage the side of your vehicle as it comes off the rim, costing a lot in repairs.

Hometyre Sussex is a recommended Tyron band installer. I personally have been to Tyron UK for additional training on the correct method to fit their products.

Over the years I have seen many Tyron bands fitted upside down, with parts missing or with them covering the valve. All because other fitters do not know what they are doing and don't have the correct equipment to deal with Tyron bands. We at Hometyre Sussex will come to you with our mobile service vehicle to fit the Tyron bands at your location.

Once purchased the Tyron bands do not need to be changed. They are removed and re-fitted whenever you change your tyres, so they are a one off purchase.

Tyron bands come in various sizes to fit differing wheel sizes (13", 14", 15" and 16") they also come in various widths to ensure they fill the fitting well completely. We at Hometyre bring a selection with us when you order new Tyrons, to make sure we have the required size. 

How much does it cost for a set of Tyron safety bands?

Tyron bands prices start at £69 per wheel fully fitted, including vat, we can also supply you with a customer care kit if required. The care kit consists of a removal tool for Tyrons plus an instruction book in various languages explaining how they should be removed and refitted. This is extremely useful if travelling in Europe where Tyron bands are no so well known, as many tyre depots do not know how to remove or refit them.

For more information on Tyron bands click here.



Tyron bands can save you 20% on your caravan insurance

At this time of year many caravan owners are taking to the road aiming to travel to a caravan site without any mishaps.

But as many people know from being stuck in a traffic jam, this is often the time when a tyre blows and a caravan comes to a grinding halt blocking a road. If lucky the caravan will remain upright, but often as a burst tyre comes off it can make a lot of damage knocking a big hole in the side of the caravan.

One way to prevent this is the installation of a Tyron band, it does as the name implies. It keeps the TYRE ON the wheel in the event of a deflation or a blowout.

Originally designed for the military, Tyron bands were fitted to Jeeps and trucks, so that should they get a puncture in enemy territory they could still continue to drive under control until they got to a secure area to change the tyre.

Basically a Tyron band is a metal strap that is fitted to a wheel and inside the tyre filling the 'well' in the wheel. This well is normally used by a tyre fitter when putting on and taking off a tyre. By filling the well, the tyre is virtually locked in place on the wheel rim. A tyre can still be punctured, but when deflated it will not come off the rim, and can be driven on until the tyre eventually disintegrates. Hopefully you will realise before too long that you have a flat tyre, and will be able to drive to a place of safety to change the tyre.

It did not take too long before the potential of putting Tyron bands onto leisure vehicles (Caravans, trailer tents, etc) was realised, as with a towed vehicle it is more difficult to know that you have a flat tyre until it is too late. Since then they have also been installed into motorhomes, camper vans, even some cars and vans. Since they are a safety device, some insurance companies will offer up to a 20% discount if you have Tyron bands fitted, which means they will pay for themselves over a few years.

Tyron bands need to be installed correctly, and Tyron UK contacted us at Hometyre to not only sell and fit their products, but we spent time at their facilities, being taught how to fit them correctly.

When changing caravan tyres I have seen many Tyron bands that have been incorrectly fitted by tyre depots who do not know how they should be installed. Hometyre are now one of the main recommended fitters for Tyron UK's products.

The caravan club recommend changing caravan tyres every 5 to 7 years regardless of the amount of tread remaining; this is due to the fact that oxidisation causes the rubber in tyres to harden and become susceptible to cracking. If you have Tyron bands fitted then you need to have them removed and refitted at the same time as changing a tyre. There is a small charge for the additional work involved, but considering the safety aspect it is well worth it. Tyron also sell a customer care kit, which consists of a long reach allen key and an instruction book in many languages, so that should you be travelling abroad and suffer a flat tyre, then any professional tyre depot should be able to understand how to remove and refit the Tyron bands.

wrecked tyre with a Tyron band installedThis photo shows what is left of a tyre that has been driven on when flat, the Tyron band can be clearly seen inside the wheel. The driver realised that he had a flat tyre but was on a motorway, he continued to drive for around 20 miles until he could get to the next off ramp and change his tyre. It may look a mess, but the tyre stayed on the rim and he was able to drive under control. Also because the tyre stayed on the rim, there was no damage to the caravan wheel arch.


Winter tyre to summer tyre change over

Are you still driving round on your winter tyres? Now that temperatures have increased you should be changing back to summer tyres, as winter tyres are too soft and lose some grip now the weather is warmer.

Braking distances increase, it has been shown that at 50 mph your braking distances can decrease by around 15 yards when using winter tyres in the summer. This means that continuing to drive on winter tyres is compromising your safety as well as costing you more in fuel consumption, as it has been proven that winter tyres can cost you up to 15% more in fuel usage in the summer.

Since winter tyres are made of a softer compound they also wear more in warmer temperatures, again costing you more money. Heat generated in winter tyres increases in the summer which can cause sidewall damage, you may even see some of the tread blocks becoming unstuck from the main carcass.

In temperatures of above 7°C summer tyres provide increased efficiency, tyre wear and safety.

A general rule of thumb in the UK is to use winter tyres from November through to March, and Summer tyres from April through to October. The only real exceptions would be if you were planning a late skiing holiday in Europe, then it would be worth keeping the winter tyres on for a little longer.

Hometyre are ideally suited to swap your tyres over for you, being a mobile service we will come to you at home to change your tyres over. That way you do not need to carry your extra tyres back and forth to a tyre depot. We bring the entire fitting service to you, including electronic wheel balancing and a replacement rubber valve.

Why not take the chance to have your tracking checked at the same time as having the tyres changed. With the potholes that have been prevalent over the winter period, there is always the chance that you may have knocked your alignment out of true. Hom etyres vans carry laser wheel alignment equipment on board, and all we need is to have your vehicle on a flat-ish surface to carry out the work. It takes around 45 minutes to track a car, but is very beneficial in regards to tyre wear and handling of your vehicle.



Citroen C4 Picasso in Chichester

This started off as a simple job, I was booked to fit 2 new 215/55R16 Pirelli Cinturato tyres to a Citroen C4. The new tyres arrived first thing in the morning from the wholesaler, I loaded them up and drove to the customers home in Chichester. As usual when I arrived I asked for the keys to the car and for the locking wheel nut key.

It was at this point that things got messy. The customer confessed that he had tried to remove the wheel himself and had rounded off the locknut key...... Would that be a problem? He seemed to think that we as Tyre fitters carried a universal lock nut key that could remove all locknuts. No this is not the case. There are around 20 different locknuts per vehicle manufacturer and that is if they still have the original set as factory fitted, so have aftermarket locknuts increasing the variety.

Back to the job in hand... the customer had then gone to Halfords and bought a reverse thread locknut removal tool, this didn't fit properly and just rounded off more of the locknut. It was at this point that he decided to call out someone who knew what to do. Lock_nut_17

This Citroen was fitted with the type of locknut that has a small protrusion in the centre, and at the base there are 3 small holes, the original locknut key has 3 pins that fit in these holes allowing it to be removed. In this case though the holes had been deformed and the pins just slid out. I got out one of my removal tools and fitted the appropriate head. It is then a case of using a club hammer to bang the tool into the locknut where its teeth cut into the locknut and provide a way of removing the offending nut. As it happens the nut had rusted in place, so it did not come off easily, this is maybe what had contributed to the original locknut key becoming damaged in the first place.

It took me around an hour to remove all four locknuts on the car and I was then able to continue and change the tyres. As mentioned previously I was to replace two tyres and these were the fronts. I checked the rear tyres and they had around 4mm of tread remaining, but they were showing signs of cracking starting on the tread blocks, this is age related. I recommended to the customer that I change the front tyres as planned, but also move the rear tyres to the front and fit the new tyres on the rear position. This would incur a small fee as we also re-balance the wheels on the front. But it is the safest way of setting up the vehicle, and it also allows you to get the most out of the older tyres before the cracks get any worse and the tyres become scrap. The customer agreed to my recommendation and I got to work. Jacked up the car with two jacks on one side, this enabled me to remove both front and rear wheel at the same time, I then re-balanced the older rear tyre, checked it for punctures (there weren't any) adjusted the tyre pressure and replaced it on the front of the vehicle. I then stripped down the other wheel, it was fitted with TPMS valves, so I had to be careful not to damage it. The new tyre was fitted to the wheel, it was inflated to the correct pressure, balanced and fitted to the car. All of the wheel bolts were torqued to the correct settings for the car, before I was able to move round to the other side of the car and repeat the process.

Because the locknuts had been forcibly removed they could not be replaced, so the customer would have to replace these himself. We do not carry replacement nuts/bolts as there are far too many different types, lengths, thread sizes that we would have to carry hundreds of nuts.

Once complete, I took a payment from the customer using our chip & pin machine, a receipt is then emailed to him and I was able to get off to my next job.


Preparing your caravan for this season

How often do Caravan owners check their tyres? Maybe not as often as they should according to most of the caravan tyres I see when changing them.

This may be because caravan tyres are half hidden under the vehicle and you need to get down on your hands and knees to check them properly, however the outside wall is easy to see and you should be looking for signs of cracking, cuts, or bumps. Additionally you need to look between the tread blocks as caravan tyres often crack in this area.

Taking a caravan to a tyre depot to have the tyres replaced is not an easy job and many tyre bays cannot accommodate these vehicles - Which is why using Hometyre Sussex is the ideal solution, as we will come to you where ever you keep your caravan, at home, storage area or even a campsite. (If a campsite, please confirm with the site owner that we are allowed on site).Caravan_5

Although caravans do not need an MOT, they still need to conform to UK law and have at least 1.6mm of tread depth. Most caravans cover very little mileage per year, and the tyres get changed more when they meet a certain age rather than low tread. Although there are no hard and fast rules concerning tyre age on caravans, we tend to follow the recommendations of the Caravan club, which are: tyres using pressures of less that 50psi should be changed every 5 years and never be used past 7 years of age, regardless of tread depth remaining. Tyres using over 50 psi should be changed every 3 - 5 years. To check the age of your tyres you need to check the four digit DOT codes on the sidewall, if unsure how to read this code, click here.

Should you have a 3 digit code with or without a triangle, then you should change these tyres now.

Also do not overlook the spare tyre, just because it is under the caravan or in the front storage locker does not mean it is acceptable to keep it longer…. In fact the opposite is true, as the spare does not get any use, the side walls start to harden making them more susceptible to cracking if used. We would always suggest that you change the spare at the same time and the other tyres.

Tyre pressures on a caravan are just as important as on your towing vehicle, you should always check the pressures before taking the caravan out on the road. The correct pressures should be in your caravan's specification handbook; occasionally it can be found stamped onto a small plate near the door. While looking at the handbook also make sure you are using the correct load index for the caravan. The load index is the number shown after the tyre size. E.g. 195/80R14 97H in this case it is the number 97. Using a lower load rating can lead to overheating of the tyres and this can eventually lead to a blow-out. Using the correct load rating is important for stability and handling.

We at Hometyre specialise in changing caravan tyres, we will ensure that the corner stays are put up before jacking the caravan (If left down they will possibly be bent and damaged). We will ensure that the caravan is jacked up using the correct jacking points and once fitted we will make sure your wheel bolts are tightened to the correct torque settings.

Should you have Tyron bands or if you are interested in having a set fitted, the we are recommended by Tyron UK as one of their main fitters and suppliers. Additionally I personally have been to the Tyron UK headquarters for additional training in the use of their products. (Not many tyre fitters can claim this). For further info on Tyron bands click here.

We at Hometyre Sussex are also recommended by Which? Trusted Traders, so you can be assured of our commitment to quality and service.


The growing danger of part worn tyres

Advantage Research & Innovation recently surveyed over 4000 UK car drivers between the ages of 17 an 84, all of who had purchased tyres within the last month. the results show that road users could face a growing danger from a generation of younger drivers who are happy to purchase part worn tyres.

The research showed that those aged 17 to 34 were more inclined to purchase part worn tyres as they thought they were a safe and economic option, whereas the older age group shied away from the part worns.

Most of those aged over 55 agreed with the statement "I would never drive on part worn tyres"

Younger drivers were most likely to agree with the following statement about part worn tyres "They're the cheapest option", with approximately 70% of 17 to 34 year old's choosing this as their first option to describe part worn tyres.

In contrast, over 50% of 55 to 64 year old's selected as their first choice the statement "They are unsafe"

A recent investigation made by Tyresafe and the National Tyre Distributers Association, in conjunction with Trading Standards found that out of 800 part worn tyres bought by mystery shoppers found 97% were illegal as they had not been marked "part worn" as required by law, also around a third of the tyres when checked were found to be faulty or damaged.

I had a customer recently who asked me to fit 3 tyres for him, he had bought them all from eBay. Of the three only one had the "part worn" marking on the side. When I then checked all of the tyres I found:


Tyre 1. Had an illegal repair on the side wall, making it unsafe.

Tyre 2. Had a 6mm hole right through the tread, with chords on view.

Tyre 3. Had a bulge in the sidewall as well as a hole through the side.

All three tyres were dangerous and should never have been sold.

When you are buying part worn tyres, you do not know what you are buying, most have been scrapped for a reason, others are off cars that have been involved in an accident, meaning that the tyres could have been structurally damaged. This type of internal damage is impossible to see visually, it is only when the tyre is mounted on a wheel or driven on that problems can be seen.

It is really important to get the message out to younger drivers that part worn tyres can be dangerous and are also a false economy. It has been shown through checks made by TyreSafe that on average a part worn tyre can cost £6.33 per mm of useable tread, whereas a comparable new tyre can cost around £5.32 per mm. Not only that but at least with the new tyre you know exactly what you have on your vehicle.

Many part worn tyres will not make it through the first MOT as bulges, splits and holes are seen, and your car will fail its MOT.

Be sure, be safe, buy new tyres only.


Last minute tyres needed on a swift caravan in Ferring

I had a call to go and fit two new tyres to a Swift caravan in a storage site in Ferring last Friday as a bit of an emergency as the customer was planning to use the caravan over the weekend.

When I arrived the customer met me at the gate and guided me round to his caravan, which was looking rather sorry for itself as both tyres were flat.

It turned out that someone had stabbed both tyres through the sidewalls making them non-repairable. Both holes were very small and took 5 to 6 hours to go flat. So my customer wasn't sure if this had happened in the storage site, or outside his house before he towed it to storage the last time he used it. To make matters worse he had also lost his locking wheel nut removal tool.

Originally he had called out another major nation-wide tyre company who turned up at the site, but when told that the locknut key was missing, they told him they would have a go with a hammer and chisel, but couldn't guarantee the results, also there was the possibility that the alloy wheels may get damaged. Not wanting his caravan to be butchered, he told them to forget it.

He mentioned his problem to the site owner who recommended us at Hometyre as they had received good reports from other caravan owners who had used us. He checked out our website and was pleased with what he saw especially as we specialise in the removal of locking wheel nuts without damaging your wheels.

Once on site it was a case putting the corner stays up first, then pulling the caravan out of its space (not easy on flat tyres) to give me room to work on the locknuts. We at Hometyre have a specialist tool with interchangeable heads to use on the various types of locknut. As it was these were MacGard nuts, one of the best on the market as they are hardened and have spinning collars, making them very difficult to remove.


I set up my tool and got to work on the removal, luckily they had not been over-tightened, so they came off without too much of a struggle.

I was then able to jack the caravan up and replace both tyres with new 195/65R15 Maxxis commercial tyres, without incident. Once complete we pushed the caravan back into its storage bay, normally I would then lower the corner stays as part of the job. But the customer told me it wasn't necessary as he would be hitching it up in a few hours as he and his family were taking it away that afternoon for a long weekend.

Payment was taken using our on-board card reader, and the receipt was emailed to the customer immediately upon completion. I gave him a key ring with our details on it for future use, as well as a Which? trusted trader card to fill in. (See reviews here)

I called in at the site office on my way out to thank them for their recommendation, and they were happy that we had been able to help their client at such short notice.

Luckily for the customer he had come to the caravan early that morning to check it over and stock it up with some provisions before their trip.

I can't guarantee that we can always get to you in such a short time to fit new tyres, as a lot depends on the time you call, tyre availability and how busy I am that day. But if at all possible we will always try to squeeze a job in if humanly possible.

So should you require new tyres for your caravan or towing vehicle, tyron bands, puncture repairs or locking wheel nuts removed, then give us a call at Hometyre click here for contact details.


Difficult Audi A4 locking wheel nut removal job

I didn't plan on writing about a locking wheel nut removal so soon, but felt that this job had to be explained. It shows the problems that can occur when other people have a go at removing locking wheel nuts and fail, making the situation much worse.

Originally I was called out to remove a set of locking wheel nuts from an Audi A4, which in itself was a normal job.

I arrived at the address in Chichester to be told by the car owner that there was a problem. The car had been in a garage the week before to have the brake pads changed, the mechanic had changed three brake pads but when tightening up the locking wheel nut on the third wheel, the removal 'key' had broken.

The owner had the original box that the locknuts came in and so he had the 'keys' serial number. Using this number he went to the local Audi dealership and ordered a new 'key', it arrived after two days, but when he went to use it is did not fit the locknuts. He contacted Audi, who ordered a second 'key', which when it arrived also did not fit.

So far he had wasted 5 days and it had cost him around £90.

The garage where they were doing the brake pads said that they would try to remove the locknut, but after a few hours they called him to say they had failed, which is why he had called out Hometyre.

The Audi was fitted with Mcgard lock nuts, what the garage had not mentioned was that they had hammered a socket on to the locknut, then used a breaker bar to try and remove the locknut. The problem was that the breaker bar had broken with the force and left the stud stuck in the socket, which they could then not remove, so they left it all stuck on the car without telling the owner.

This was going to be a problem as I had no way of removing the socket, especially as it had a stud stuck in the hole. I decided to use our impact driver locknut removal tool to see if it would dig into the socket to allow me to turn it. After around 10 blows with the lump hammer it had made little impact on the socket, but had flattened off my tool rendering it useless….

Back to the drawing board. There was no way off drilling the socket as it was hardened. My only option was to try and hammer a large stud removal tool over the garages socket to see if it would grip and then use my breaker bar to slowly turn the socket.

As it turned out this worked better than expected as not only did the socket turn, but also the locking wheel nut came out with it. I can only assume that the original attempt I made with my impact tool had loosened the thread in the hub.

I was not too happy to see that it had split my stud removal tool, but at least I had the problem locknut removed. I was then able to use my normal removal tool to remove the other 3 locknuts without and other problems. Making a customer very happy, and keeping my record of not failing in over 4 years.

So if you ever find yourself in the situation of having no way to remove your cars locking wheel nuts, then please call us at Hometyre Sussex and don't let any cowboys have-a-go.


Bead seal in Ferring (Slow puncture)

On of todays jobs was in Ferring at a previous customer with a Mercedes CLK. I had fitted new tyres to the car around a year ago and let the customer know that the inside of the rims were badly corroded. The paint had all blistered up allowing air to seep out. I had cleaned them up removing the loose paint and added a bead sealer, to give a good air seal and to help stop the corrosion from returning.

The customer told me that the wheels were going off to be refurbished soon, and I advised them that the tyres should be removed completely and the rims shot blasted back to bare metal before being powder coated to give the best finish and to remove all of the corrosion.

She told me that she had had a discussion with the wheel refurbishment company in Worthing and that, yes they were going to remove the tyres and do the job properly.

Here we now are a year on and I have been called out as two of the tyres are constantly losing air and are being pumped up every few days.

The wheels had been refurbished, but now with powder coating, they had just been painted. I removed the tyre to see what was causing the problem, only to find that they had not removed the tyre when painting it, all they had done was to push the tyre bead down and paint over any corrosion. Also by doing this they had removed most of the bead seal I had previously applied allowing the tyres to leak again.

I cleaned up the wheels again applied new bead seal and refitted the tyres. I then let the customer know about the bad workmanship on the wheels and let her know that the other wheels could also have the same problem, so keep and eye on them.

Also looking at the paint on the outside of the wheels in some areas it was already starting to peal off.

The customer said that she would go back to the company that had done the refurbishment to make a complaint.

So if you are considering having your wheels refurbished, then you need to ask what type of work do they undergo. Do they remove the tyres completely and take the wheels back to bare metal before repainting or powder coating. Or is it only a coat of paint covering the original coating making it look good for a short time.

In general having the job done properly will cost around £75 per wheel, where as having a paint job on top can cost up to £65 per wheel, for the small difference I would suggest having the job done properly.

Then atlease when you have new tyres fitted you will know that they sholud give a good seal and not cause any further problems.


Winter fitted tyres in Sussex

Even though we are having a wet mild December, we all know that winter is just around the corner. Temperatures will drop soon, mornings will be frosty and we may even get some snow, making road conditions dangerous.

Now is the time to make sure your car is ready for the winter. Fitting cold weather tyres is one of the safest things you can do, as the rubber in summer tyres hardens in the cold weather, increasing braking distances and reducing road holding.

Should you be planning a winter getaway to Europe, then in many European countries it is mandatory that you must have winter tyres fitted between the months of November and March. So if you are thinking of getting away for a ski trip then make sure you are road legal. Take a look at European legislation by clicking here. 

Some European countries will allow summer tyres as long as there is more than 4mm of tread on each tyre, but should you be involved in an accident, then your insurance company may not pay out.

One other option is to use all season tyres, although these are not as good as winter tyres if planning extended trips in snow, they are far better in the cold and snow than summer tyres, they can also be legal for use in those European countries that insist on winter tyres. 

Some people think is is acceptable to use only 2 winter tyres just on the driven wheels. But this is not recommend as this can cause unstable handling in winter conditions.

Also remember when travelling in the UK that just because you have winter tyres fitted, not all others will have, so you still need to drive slowly and be aware of others on the road.

We at Hometyre can supply many makes and size of winter tyre or all season tyre, for help or advice, give us a call on the free phone number. Click here for details.


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