Porsche 911 in N6 Highgate with Bridgestone 305/30/19 tyres
Went out to this Porsche 911 in the n6 Highgate area to sort out a problem with his rear tyres. He had Bridgestone tyres and the size was 305/30/19.
The customer was experiencing a shake from the rear of the car at higher speeds. I instantly thought to myself that the wheel balancing must be out as the customer had a puncture the week before and got it repaired by a third party.
It wasn’t until the wheel was off the car that I could see the extent of the damage to the tyre. When the tyre went down prior to him having the repair by another person the customer drove on the tyre while it was flat for about a mile to get it to the garage to be repaired, but by doing this the inner edge of the tyre had become damaged and had started to break up, this means the tyre was damaged beyond repair, the customer was not aware of this and the other fitter repaired the tyre regardless.
The tyre was so damaged it caused the inside tyre wall to develop lumps around the whole circumference of the inner sidewall. Now these lumps are caused when the reinforcement in the sidewalls is damaged and weakened, these lumps look like balloons and when balloons get hot they go pop. I showed this to the customers and as you could imagine he wasn’t best pleased as he was up and down the motorway every day in the car and it could have gone pop anytime.
He now had a brand new tyre fitted and balanced and peace of mind knowing nothing will go wrong.
For information on how to correctly repair a puncture look at our puncture repair page
Call Hometyre on 0800 783 93 10 or 0333 444 5454 and we will come to you to fix your tyres.
Flat Tyre and Unsure What To Do? Call us!
We went to a new customer who had tried to change their own flat tyre on their Volvo.
The problem was that the jack supplied with the vehicle was incorrectly used so when he was jacking the car up it slipped and this is what happened.
An expensive mistake with a nasty scratch on his sill.
If you are in any doubt and need help changing your tyre call Hometyre on 0800 783 93 10 or 0333 444 5454. It might seem expensive to call someone to change your tyre but it could work out cheaper in the long run!
We often call a customer the day before we attend an appointment just to make sure they have remembered there appointment and if the time is still convenient for them.
So we had a customer booked in (Italian lady) and we gave her a call to see if everything is ok for the morning (09.00 appointment)
She answered the phone and we said are you still available for your 09.00 appointment to have your tyres fitted. The customer was not happy and started to berate us, saying that we should have been there today at 09.00. Not the kind of thing we like to hear as this means we have missed an appointment and upset a customer
When the conversation calmed down she said that we would have to talk to her builder and arrange to meet him, why we would have to meet her builder for her personal car was unclear. Started to take the builders details down and she then mentioned that not having the TILES delivered will have caused her builder problems.
A bit of silence followed by us and we said we are phoning to fit your TYRES not TILES, whoops was the response. We did offer to fit her TILES as well but she would probably not like the results.
Turned up the next day and as soon as she answered the door she was in hysterics about the misunderstanding. Fitted her tyres and headed off.
If you would like your TYRES fitted at a time and place that is convenient for you call hometyre on 0800 783 93 10 and we will come to you. We might even do some TILING for you if you ask nicely
Going skiing for Feb half term?
If you are going skiing for the Feb half term don't forget to pack your snow chains.
If you are in the French mountains and the snow chains signs have been turned on it is a legal requirement to put your snow chains on.
You can buy Snow chains online and Halfords sometimes stock them. You could wait until you get to the continent but you wont have time to test fit them.
Believe me you will be much better off trying to fit them before you leave, they are not the easiest things to handle. Much better to try at home in the dry on your drive instead of the first time in the snow by the side of the road.
Also check all the normal things before you go, tyres (tread depth and pressures), wipers and all your fluids. Better to spend 10 mins before you go instead of a couple of hours by the side of the road.
Best to also put full strength windscreen fluid in your windscreen washer bottle (also squirt the fluid trough the pipes) and ensure your anti freeze is concentrated enough to cope with the colder weather in the mountains.
Have a great trip and if you need tyres replaced before you go call 0800 783 93 10 and we will come to you.
Locking wheel nut removal on a BMW X5 in HA7
New customer called needing 4 new tyres on their BMW X5 in HA7.
Tyres sizes where 275/40/R20 and 315/35/R20 both run flats and both to be Bridgestone. Gave him a price which he was happy with and arrange to meet him that afternoon at home to replace them.
Arrived at the job and double checked that the tyres needed to be replaced (you would be surprised how often people are told that there tyres need replacing when they don't)
They did need replacing so got the locking wheel nut key out of the boot, looked at the locking wheel nut key and it looked deformed showed it to the customer who said that the last time he had the tyres changed (not by us) the wheel nuts (including the locking wheel nuts) had been gunned on. With a damaged wheel nut key it can be hit and miss as to if you can get the nuts off the wheel.
Had one tyre that was a priority so started on this one, managed to get the locking wheel nut off. Removed the wheel and changed and balanced the tyre and then put it back on the car, wheel nuts tightened up and finished off to the manufactures torque setting b using a torque wrench. Could not put locking wheel nut back on as I did not want to risk damaging the key before I finished the job.
On to the next wheel, customer was with me as I tried to undo the locking wheel nut. No luck, in fact the locking wheel nut key sheared as I was turning it. Only thing to do is get out the locking wheel nut removal tool that we carry on the vans. Assembled the tool and started to try and remove the locking wheel nut. Snap, the nut was on so tight it broke the tool, and this is not a light weight bit of metal, it's a great big lump of steel that these locking wheel nuts had just broken.
So what to do now, 3 tyres still to change, a broken locking wheel nut key and a busted locking wheel nut removal tool. This was going to need more work than can be done by the side of the road.
Took the car to a garage we use so we could work on the locking wheel nuts.
All of the normal tricks that we use to remove the locking wheel nuts did not work, these nuts where well and truly stuck, one more thing to do, we ordered a special tool that will fit all the BMW locking wheel nuts and it is made of a special hardened steel, this would arrive the next day.
Tool arrives so off to work on the locking wheel nuts again, attached the tool to the impact wrench and started to hammer them, after 10 minutes (with some breaks to get our breath back) I heard a crack, dam I thought the new tool was busted, but no, the locking wheel nut had loosened, went straight on to the next locking wheel nut and the same happened with the nut and then also with the last one.
Removed all the nuts and wheels and changed and balanced the tyres, put them all back on and retightened the nuts to the manufacturers specification, also fitted 4 new locking wheel nuts that we had ordered at the same time as the new wonder tool, these were also tightened up to the correct spec by hand.
So the outcome, job done but took a couple of days and the ordering of a new tool that we hope we don't have to use again, all because the locking wheel nuts had been gunned on instead of tightened by hand, not a cheap job but at least the job has been completed to the customers satisfaction.
4 tyres on a Horse box in Radlett WD7
Customer needed 4 tyres fitted to their horse box in Radlett, they did not want to have to take it to a fitting centre so our mobile service is convenient.
The horsebox needed 4 175/80/13 95 commercial tyres, we picked GT Maxmillers for this job (very good tyre and the same brand we use for our own vans)
Arrived at the job and eventually found the horse box amongst a group of others, the tread on the tyres was excellent but all 4 tyres where suffering from cracking, the date on the tyres was from 1999 so they were well and truly ready to be replaced.
Took the first 2 wheels off the horse box and removed the tyres, the wheels had some rust inside (not much) so cleaned this up before fitting the new tyres, after refitting these to the horse box took the remaining 2 wheels off and performed the same function.
Start to pack up a lady approached us to say the tyre on her Subaru was flat. Said I would have a look at it when finished. Filled out the paper work and took payment. Also noted that some of the other horse trailers had very old tyres on them and if the owners would like them replaced to just give us a call.
Went over to the Subaru to check for leaks, the car was 10 years old with solid metal valves. Pumped up the tyre and sprayed some water on the valve, just as suspected bubbles formed. Valve looked in very good condition so just tightened it up and sprayed water on it again, no bubbles this time so just a lose valve. Did not charge her for this as it only took a couple of minutes to check and we were already on site, she took some cards and said she would call when she needed some tyre.
If you need tyre on your horsebox call Hometyre on 0800 783 93 10 or 0333 444 5454 and we will come to you.
Puncture repair in N11 on a Mercedes E class
Customer called to say they needed 4 new tyre for their Mercedes E Class. Took the details 245/40/18 97Y for the front and 265/35/18 97Y for the rear.
Ordered the tyres and arranged to see him on Saturday when it was convenient for him.
Arrived at the job and started the inspection. The 4 tyres he had on all had 5 plus mm of tread, the legal limit is 1.6mm and we start recommending changing at 3mm as the performance starts to drop off dramatically in the wet after 3mm has been reached.
He said that he had seen 2 nails in his passenger side tyres so thought he had to change them. I said that we would look at the tyres and if we could repair them they would not need to be replaced.
Removed the front tyre and found the nail, right in the middle of the tread, pulled the nail out and it had punctured the tyre because air started to leak, as long as the tyre had not been damaged inside the tyre would be repairable as the nail was in the centre of the tyre. Handed to wheel to my work colleague who removed the tyre to inspect for damage, none found so he started the repair.
I now removed the rear wheel to find the other nail, found the nail, again in the middle of the tread. Pulled the nail out and this time no air comes out, the nail was stuck between the tread and had not penetrated the tyre at all. Lucky for the customer as no repair or replacement needed.
Put the rear tyre back on the car and by this time my colleague had repaired the front tyre and also refitted it to the car.
Checked the other tyre pressures including the spare space saver tyre (this was at 30psi when it should have been 60psi) and filled out the paper work.
Payment taken and off to the next job
If you need tyres or a puncture repair call Hometyre on 0800 783 93 10 or 0333 444 5454
4 TPMS valves (Tyre pressure monitoring valves) on a Bentley in EN1
New customer called to say that he had to MOT his Bentley but he was getting an error on his dash board saying his TPMS valves had failed. Arranged to meet him in 15 minutes (he was only around the corner) to investigate the problem.
Got to the car and pulled out our TPMS valve reader. This is a hand held device that can read the signal that the TPMS valves emit. No signal from any of them. The car is a 05 Bentley so the valves are already 12 years old, the battery in new valves will normally last for about 7 years so a dead battery is the cause of the problem.
The TPMS valves are a sealed unit so the batteries cannot be replaced, 4 new valves will have to be fitted. If the valves where still transmitting we would be able to clone the valves there and then by taking a reading from each valve and then programming the blank clone with the same information, as the batteries are dead on the old valve this will not be an option.
Looked up the make and model for replacements, the TPMS valves used by Bentley in 05 changed mid-year, to ensure we got the correct part ordered we took the VIN number (the unique number that identifies each car) and contacted our supplier to check for stock. They has them on the shelf so they would send them to us for next day delivery, they would also be pre-programmed to the car.
Arranged to visit the customer the next afternoon once they had been delivered.
Next morning the valves arrived, put them in the van and set off to do my morning customer. Arrived at the Bentley that afternoon and replaced all 4 valves in 60 minutes. The TPMS valves for the Bentley are what we call 'self-learning', this means that the car has to be driven to recognise the new valves, the warning light will not go out until this has happened.
As the customer was going to get his car MOT'ed latter on the drive to the testing station would allow the car to 'self-learn' on the way.
Called the customer latter in the day to check everything was ok. The warning light had gone out and the car had passed its MOT.
If you have the TPMS warning light on your dash board call Hometyre and we can come to you to replace/service your TPMS valves.
Just contact us on 0800 783 93 10 or 0333 444 5454
4 225/40/R18 Continentals tyres on Mercedes in NW7
Customer called to say that he needed 4 Continental 225/40/18 tyres on his Mercedes.
Ordered the tyres and arranged to meet him the next day to fit them.
Turned up at the job and the first thing we do is inspect the tyres that are already on the car.
They all had at least 6 millimetres of tread on them, they did show a little bit of crazing on the edges but nothing major.
Asked the customer why he wanted to change the tyres and he said the car had been in for a service and they had said that they needed changing. He had decided not to let them fit new tyres because of the price they had quoted.
Showed the customer the condition of his tyres and asked what kind of driving he did, he said that the car only did a 1000 miles a year and that was just to pop to the supermarket. Explained to him the he had plenty of tread left and the VERY small amount of crazing on the edge of the tyre was nothing to worry about at the moment, if it started to get worse then yes the tyres would need changing but not yet. I also recommended that he stopped using the tyre shine on the walls of the tyre as this can dry the rubber out and prematurely age the tyre.
Was very impressed that somebody had been honest with him and said he would call us back when they needed changing.
So if you would like a HONEST opinion of your tyres contact Hometyre on 08007839310 and we will come to you.
New French ‘clean air’ sticker for vehicles
The French have introduced a new range of 6 stickers that need to be displayed on all vehicles (including disabled vehicles) to show their pollution levels.
At present the only 3 cities that are part of the scheme are Paris, Lyon and Grenoble but another 22 towns and cities are thinking/planning to also take part.
So what do you need to do?
First you have to identify what of the 6 Euro categories your vehicle falls into, below is a table showing which Euro emission standard covers your car.
Applied to new passenger car approvals from
Now you will have to go to the official website (https://www.certificat-air.gouv.fr/en/) to get your sticker. Beware of unofficial sites that will charge you extra to apply for the sticker.
The cost is 4.80 Euro's and it can take up to 6 weeks to arrive so plan ahead. You will also as part of the process need to up load a copy of your V5 document, keep the upload file below 400kb or you will not be able to upload the file.
Once you have your sticker you can then drive in the 3 cities that are part of the scheme depending on the restriction in place at that time.
If you do not display a sticker you can be fined between 68 and 135 euros, this is an on the spot fine.
Some older cars do not fall into the Euro standard, these vehicles cannot apply for a sticker and are unable to drive in Paris between 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday.
So good luck on driving in France and don't get a fine
Puncture repair / Run flat tyres / Tyre sealent and spare tyres
A Tyre Puncture, or as most people call it a flat tyre, is cause if the integrity of the tyre has been compromised (i.e. you have a nail in it), the rim has started to corrode, the tyre valve has failed or maybe the pressures have not been checked regularly. If you drive on a flat/under inflated tyre you risk damaging the side walls of the tyre by the edge of the wheel rim rubbing against the tyre. This could easily cause permanent tyre damage meaning that the tyre will have to be replaced.
Run Flat Tyres
Run Flat Tyres are special kind of tyres which are specifically created to stay functional for a limited period of time without any air pressure in the tyre. In other words, after a puncture, run flat tyres will allow a vehicle to reach the nearby garage or get you home.
Thanks to reinforced sidewall, run flat tyres are able to continue the journey with no air pressure. With ordinary tyres, the weight of the vehicle compresses the tyre so that it is flat, if you drive on the tyre in the condition you will damage the tyre and it will have to be replaced. Run Flat Tyre's strong reinforced sidewalls support the car by keeping its shape on a temporary basis, and give motorists time to extend their drive for around 50 miles (but best to get the tyre replaced as soon as possible).
The reason that manufactures like run flat tyres is because they do not have to supply either a spare tyre or an inflation kit with the car, this allows them to use the space saved to improve the boot space in the cars and reduce the weight by not supplying the inflation kit or spare tyre.
One of the problems with run flats is that you do not know how long the tyre has been run without air (thus putting all the force through the side wall) so you do not know the condition of the inside of the tyre, for this reason we DO NOT repair run flat tyres. They can also lead to a very firm ride which is not to every bodies taste.
One of the alternatives to run flat tyres is some sort of Tyre Sealant, this normally comes in a bottle that you pour into the tyre once you have had a puncture and then re inflate the tyre hoping that the sealant plugs the puncture. The sealant normally only works on very small punctures and will not work on damage to the side wall. You can also pre fill your tyres with sealant, they say that this will help your tyres run cooler and plug a puncture as it happens, the main problem with these is that they could mask a problem that has occurred when you get the puncture leading to a greater and possible more dangerous problem latter on.
Pre-Puncture Sealants: Aim to avert air loss when the tyre is punctured
Post-Puncture Sealants: If the puncture is spotted before tyre damage this may work (as a get you home).
No matter what type of sealant you use, it cannot be recognized as a repair which is permanent, they are a temporary fix until you can get the tyre fixed or replaced.
The gold standard of getting around a puncture, some manufactures are now recognising that they can differentiate themselves in the market by offering a spare tyre, this might only be a space saver tyre (thinner tyre than standard) but as long as they have air in them you can use them to get home. They are restricted normally to 50 MPH but at least they work, or you could be lucky and have a full sized spare.
If you have a flat tyre call Hometyre on 0800 783 93 10 or 0333 444 5454 and we will bring the tyre bay to you
Tomorrow is plate change day
If you brought your car in March 2014 you will be up for your first MOT in the next couple of days.
If you need tyres call Hometyre on 0800 783 93 10 and get them replaced before you fail your first MOT.
If your tyre pressure warning light is on we can fit and trigger (if they have to be triggered) new replacement tyre pressure monitoring valves (TPMS) as well. An illuminated TPMS light is now an MOT failure.
Just call hometyre and we will come to you
The problem with metal valve caps
Had a new customer call us to say that he had snapped his tyre valve while trying to remove his metal valve cap and that the other 3 where stuck and he did not want to risk anymore damage. He was trying to get his valve caps off to put air into his tyres. He said that they are seized solid.
Took his address (EN2 area) and headed over to him.
Looked at the snapped valve and it would indeed need to be replaced. Now to look at the other 3, absolutely seized on, nothing would move them and if we tried any harder we would probably damage the valve or risk the valves integrity. They would all have to be replaced
Loosened all the wheel nuts and jacked the car up, first 2 wheels off (one was flat due to the damaged valve) and released the air from the other. Flattened the tyre so we could get to the valve without removing the tyre from the wheel and cut the old valves out, in goes a set of brand new replacement valves with a lovely new plastic valve caps. Tyres pumped up they are put back on the car and the process is repeated for the other 2 wheels. Did not have to do the spare as the car did not come with one, just the bottle of liquid and a pump to seal any puncture.
Last check is to ensure that all the wheel nuts are torqued to the manufactures specification.
If you have metal caps on your tyre valves you can either replace them with plastic caps that won't react with the metal of the valve stem and seize up, if you want to keep your metal caps on then every now and then remove them from the valve stem and squirt a small amount of WD40 into the cap. This should help you remove them and stop the corrosion but it is not guaranteed.
But if it doesn't work you can always call us on 0800 783 93 10 or 0333 444 5454 (mobile friendly number) and we can come and change then for you.
Direct TPMS against Indirect TPMS
As the name implies direct TPMS gathers tyre pressure data directly from the TPMS tyre valve. Each wheel is equipped with a sensor that transmits to the car the pressure information in real time. As indicated in the name Indirect TPMS uses the ABS sensors to approximate tyre pressure, and motorists must drive a reasonable distance before this system will generate an alert.
Research in America shows that 69% of customers if given a choice express a preference for the direct TPMS system. They do not want to be responsible for manually resetting an indirect TPMS system. The problem with indirect TPMS is that once tyres have been pumped up to the correct pressure the system has to be recalibrated by the driver.
Additionally in order for indirect TPMS to work correctly all four tyres must be correctly inflated. As we all know people do not check there tyre pressures on a regular basis, if all four tyres are similarly low in pressure from neglect (a common problem) or some other reasons the indirect system will not trigger the warning light. Also if all four tyres have low pressures the tyres will wear out quicker on the edges and the car is unsafe to drive, be unstable, have less traction on wet roads, take longer to stop and also use more fuel.
Direct TPMS gets over these problems by transmitting the tyre pressure to the car in real time so a sudden loss of air is immediately highlighted. Also with most systems you can check your tyre pressures without having to attach a tyre pressure gauge to the valve so you get advanced warning if you have a problem.
So the pros and cons. Indirect is cheaper as it uses the cars existing ABS sensors, but it is not as flexible and can take time to raise the alarm. Direct TPMS costs more as you need 4 special valves (some cars also have the spare tyre covered as well) but it can indicate in real time if you have a problem and which tyre has low pressure.
Direct TPMS valves can also suffer from corrosion from road salt and the battery life is normally between five and seven years. Corroded valve stems can normally be serviced or replaced, but once the battery has gone the sensor needs to be replaced.
We can service and replace sensors on your car at your home or work so you don't even need to visit a dealer.
Call 0800 783 93 10 or 0333 444 5454 to book an appointment
10 items to prepare your car and van for Winter
Well winter is now well on the way and the temperature is dropping and the evenings are now dark. Here are 10 items that could keep you going or warm if something goes wrong on your journey
Winter (cold weather) tyres, no they are not just for snow, they do work well in the snow but due to the material they are constructed from they stay pliable once the temperature drops and thus gives you more grip. In rural area they can be a real safety boon with aiding traction on hills and slippery bends. They can be difficult to get your hands on (especially once some snow has fallen) so it is best to call early to ensure you have them.
Screen wash, once the authorities start to spread salt on the road it will find its way onto your screen, you might have a full washer bottle at the moment but if you run short the wiper blades will just create a smear over your screen. Pop a bottle in your boot and if you run out at least you can fill your washer bottle up and see where you are going. Do not use plain water as this will freeze if the temperature drops enough.
Window scraper, scrape off the Ice on all your window before you set off (not just a letter box size hole on the windscreen), if you get a scraper with a rubber blade on it you can also remove condensation on the window. Remember that it is an offence to drive a car with restricted vision.
Chuck an old coat in the boot. If you are unlucky and have a break down at least you will have something to put on to keep warm, if the engine is not running the heater won't work.
Coolant, check that your engine coolant has enough anti-freeze in it. You don't want your engine to freeze up and cause costly damage for the sake of a couple of quid's worth of anti-freeze.
Windscreen cover. If you don't want to have to scrape your windscreen each morning get a windscreen cover for it.
Collapsible shovel. If you live in an area with high snow fall levels (or may be visiting one) then a shovel might come in useful if you get stuck in snow.
Wind up torch. If you break down a wind up (as against a battery torch which will not work if the batteries are dead) torch in the boot will help you see where you are going.
Hand warmers. A car that is broken down in freezing temperatures will soon get cold. Put a packet of hand warmers in the boot and at least you can have a source of warmth.
For people that are lucky to have a driveway and outside power supply then a battery trickle charge can keep your battery in tip top condition. Batteries performance drops off in the cold so every bit of power it has can help.
BMW 3 series in car park 3 at Heathrow
One of our customers from the midlands had a tyre changed at home just before they were going to go on holiday via Heathrow. The only problem was that when the technician in the Midlands inspected the vehicle they found that the car actually needed 2 tyres and not 1 as the customer had ordered.
Not enough time to get another tyre (they had the luggage in the car waiting to go) so the technician arranged for the tyre to be replaced while they would be on holiday.
The tyre was thus ordered (PIRELLI PZERO 255/30 R19 91 Y) and the job was passed down to ourselves as we are the nearest van. As the customer was not going to be back for a week we did not have to rush the fitting, decided we would do it on a Saturday when things would be quiet.
Lasts time I went to Heathrow (terminal 5 car park) to fit a tyre I almost ended up airside after miss reading a sign for oversized vehicles. This time it was a bit easier, the customer had used the valet parking service so they had his key and could also guide us to the correct entry point to the car park for a high sided vehicle.
Got to the car park and after contacting the valet parking service got into the ground floor of the car park and set up ready, they would be bringing the car to us as they are responsible for it. Car turned up and started work.
Locking wheel nut off (locking wheel nut key was in the boot) and all the other bolts loosened, jacked the car up and removed the bolts and took the wheel off the car. These tyres can sometimes be difficult to remove from the wheel as being run flats they are very stiff, this time it came straight off. Inspected the wheel for any damage (car with run flats can easily crack a rim if they hit a pothole hard enough but luckily none found) and then fitted the new Pirelli PZERO tyre, balanced the wheel/tyre (needed 20 grams adding) and refitted the wheel to the car and torqued the bolts up using a torque wrench. Inspected the other 3 tyres on the car and they were all ok.
Locking wheel nut back in the boot and all the information added to the invoice/tyre report. Called the valet company and they came and took the car back to the main part of the car park.
So there you are, you don't even have to be in the country to get your tyres changed by Hometyre. If you need tyres on your vehicle call Hometyre and we will come to you (even if you are not in the country)
Plate change day is almost here
September is the second plate change day of the year. This will bring in the 66 number plates.
If you brought your car 3 years ago in September (plate with a 63) then your car could will soon be due an MOT.
Headlights and indicators
Check that all of your lights work properly - That's headlights, sidelights, rear lights, hazard lights and indicators.
Press the brake pedal and ask a friend to check that the rear brake lights come on, if nobody can help you back up to a wall or garage door and then when you press the brake pedal check behind you for the refection.
Make sure that both number plates are clean and you can read them. Also check that the rear number plate light is working. Very easy to miss in the day light
Wheels and tyres
Check that wheels and tyres are undamaged (scuffing to the wheels is ok). The legal minimum tread depth is 1.6mm and if you have a tyre with less than this it is an MOT 'fail' (even though the legal minimum is 1.6mm we recommend that tyres are changed when tread reaches 3mm, remember that 1.6mm is the minimum and not a recommendation)
Seats and seatbelts
The driver's seat should move forwards and backwards and all seatbelts should be in good, working order. Test that you can move the seat and inspect the seatbelt's full length for damage. Pull sharply on all seatbelts to check that they lock as they're supposed to if you have to brake severely.
Check the view out of the front of the car for damage - any damage larger than 40mm will be a 'fail', as will any damage wider than 10mm in the 'swept' area of the windscreen in front of the driver. (Swept area is the area that the windscreen wipers covers)
Make sure your wipers are able to keep your windscreen clean - any tears or holes in the wiper rubber can be an MOT fail.
Seems strange but if the bottle is empty the car will fail the MOT. Also check that the washer motor is spraying fluid on to the windscreen
Must be working. If broken replace.
Fuel and engine oil
Make sure your car is filled with enough fuel and engine oil - you can be turned away from the MOT without suitable levels of either as incorrect levels can affect the emission test.
If the TPMS (Tyre pressure monitoring system), Airbag/seat belt pre tensioner (these are sometimes called SRS lights) and Brake fluid level lights are on then the problem needs to be fixed before you go for an MOT.
If you need tyres or your TPMS valves replaced call Hometyre on 0800 783 93 10 or 0333 444 5454 (mobile friendly number) and we will come to you
Will you be driving in France this summer?
These are the things that you must carry in the car.
Headlamp convertors, either the black out type or the beam benders, personally I use the beam benders as the black out type reduce the amount of light that is projected on to the road. Fine for not having them is up to 90 euros.
Hi Viz vests, you will need 1 Hi Viz vest per person. So 4 people in the car, 4 vests. Fine for not having a vest up to 135 euros.
GB sticker, in theory if you have a number plate with GB and the euro flag on it you should be ok. However, under the law the GB is not really big enough. Might be just as well to put a magnetic GB sticker on to cover yourself, don't forget if you are towing a vehicle then the towed vehicle should also have a GB sticker on it. Fine for not having up to 90 euros.
Warning triangle. You must have one and the fine for not having is up to 135 euros.
Spare bulbs. You will need a spare set of bulbs for your vehicle. Fine for not having up to 80 euros.
Breatherliser. They are a legal requirement but there is no fine or endorsement if you are not carrying them. They also have a best before date and do not like to get hot/cold. So probably best to carry them but you wont be fined if you don't.
Documents You Need to Take
You will obviously take your passport with when travelling abroad but because you are driving your own car you will need to take a few other things.
Passport (as above)
V5 log book (proof of ownership)
Your insurance documents
MOT (if your car needs one)
Another bit of use full information. Speed detectors and speed trap indicators are illegal. If your sat nav has a speed trap location indicator this should be turned off.
So have a safe and legal holiday
Locking wheel nut removal in N20 on a Ford Focus
New customer called to say they had a set of locking wheel nuts on their Ford Focus that they needed removing.
They had just had a tyre fitted at a well-known high street fast fit centre and the new tyre had gone down.
They had tried to remove the wheel but the locking wheel nut key was damaged where the locking wheel nut had been gunned on.
The customer had managed to pump the tyre up and returned to the fast fit centre but they said there was nothing they could do. This is where we ride to the rescue.
The customer found us on the internet and called the office to arrange an appointment. We had just finished a job in N10 so it is a short drive to N20.
Arrived at the customers address and looked at the key and the locking wheel nut. The key had been sheared and shards of metal had been left in the locking wheel nut.
Pulled the metal shards out of the locking wheel nut key and started on the nut. We carry special tools that can either form the shape of the locking wheel nut key or they wind onto the nut and remove them.
The tool that forms the shape of the locking wheel nut key was the one for this job, started work on the locking wheel nut and after 10 minutes it was off. As the key had been damaged the other 3 locking wheel nuts would also have to be removed. These each took just under 5 minutes each indicating how tight the first one had been gunned on.
Well now we have to fix the original problem (the flat tyre) that the customer had. Jacked the car up and removed the wheel. Straight away I could see the problem, the tyre had not seated correctly on the back of the wheel so it was leaking air. Pumped the tyre up until the tyre popped and seated on the wheel, set the pressure to the correct level and then reattached the wheel to the car tyre. Tightened up the wheel nuts and finished off with a torque wrench.
You might think that the customer is now missing 1 wheel nut from each wheel, he would have normally but luckily he had the 4 normal nuts that had been removed to put the locking wheel nuts on. Put the nuts on to each wheel and then tightened them up with the torque wrench.
If you have had problems with your locking wheel nuts and maybe the key is damaged or lost call Hometyre on 0800 783 93 10 and we will come to you.
We can also fit new tyres at the same time
Holiday season is almost upon us
Well the schools are about to break up for the summer (private schools have already broken up)
Most people will be heading off on the annual holiday, all booked up and ready to go.
The car will be loaded (probably at some unsocial hour) and with all the family aboard the journey will begin.
But have you prepared your car for the journey? You probably only drive to work with a single passenger or maybe just around town dropping the kids off and then picking them up again.
A car fully loaded with all the family and 2 weeks of luggage is under a lot more strain than in a normal day to day drive.
So what should you do?
Best thing is to get the car serviced so that all the fluids and safety items are checked and corrected before you go. However, if you don't want (or need) a service there are some things you can do for yourself.
Check the oil and coolant and top up as required.
Check the brake fluid reservoir.
Look at all the belts that run the alternator and ancillaries to check for cracking and wear.
Check the hoses in the cooling system for leaks and cracks.
Check that all the light bulbs work. You could be driving for extended periods in the dark.
Top up the washer bottle and replace the wiper blades if they are worn.
Check your tyre pressures and increase the pressure to the manufacturers recommend pressure for the load you are carrying
Check the tread depth and condition of the tyres. The legal minimum is 1.6mm but the performance starts to drop off once you pass 3mm. Click for more info on how to check your tyre.
Check your spare tyre (if you have one) is pumped up and if safe to use.
Check you have fuel level. Running out on a motorway can ruin the start of the holiday and prove expensive.
Pack your warning triangle, high viz tops (one per person) and spare bulbs.
Consider taking out break down cover. Might seem expensive but a lot cheaper in the long run if you do break down on a motorway and need to be towed.
If you know that something is wrong with your car get it fixed, the chances are that the strain of a full load and extended high speed driving will bring a known problem out just when you don't want it.
If you are going to drive in Europe make sure you know the rules, and remember that speed limits on the French motorways change depending on the weather.
If you are going to be taking a caravan with you check the condition and tread of the tyres. If they are more than 5 years old then you might want to replace them. They might have a lot of tread but as caravans are not regularly used the tyres can start to age well before the tread is worn out. Here is some information on how to check your caravan tyres.
You might also want to get Tyron bands fitted, these help to keep the tyre on the wheel if you have a blowout and allow you to stay in control of your vehicle. Check here for more info on Tyron Bands
You can also ass a TPMS system (tyre pressure monitoring system) to your caravan tyres so you are alerted to problems as soon as they happen.
Remember, a holiday should be relaxing, you have been looking forward to it all year. All of these checks can be done in advance so you will have plenty of time to correct any problem. It will be safer and cheaper in the long run.
If you need your tyres changing call Hometyre on 0800 783 93 10 or 0333 444 5454 and we will come to you.
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