Now’s the time of year when the number of potholes on our roads starts to increase. Winter weather with its extreme temperature variations along with heavy rain and sometimes snow results in more damage to road surfaces. And more holes mean the greater chance that you’ll drive through one and suffer pothole damage to your car in one way or another.
So I thought it would be the perfect time of year to look at pothole damage and what we as drivers can do to spot and limit the effects of it.
We’re hearing from our friends in the tyre industry that they’re expecting cash-strapped drivers to buy increasing numbers of used car tyres. Of course, it’s related to increases in the cost of living: motoring costs are as badly affected as food when it comes to inflation.
And buying used (sometimes called part-worn) tyres is one way people might think they can save money.
Like a visit to the dentist, no one relishes forking out to replace the rubber on their car. But I think there are several reasons why buying used tyres isn’t a brilliant idea.
If your car’s been damaged by a pothole, you’re not alone. New research suggests at worst one in three drivers has suffered in this way; at best the figure is one in five.
And another annual study of the state of the nation’s roads paints a picture of a network that’s gradually crumbling. The report blames years of inconsistent funding combined with extreme weather conditions.
Had a punctured tyre recently? If so, how did you deal with it? Chances are you didn’t change the wheel at the roadside. Not because you couldn’t be bothered but because spare wheels are considered old tech by most car makers now.
More than 90 per cent of new cars are sold without a spare wheel as standard. Drivers can often specify one as an optional extra (they cost between about £100 and £300 depending on the car), so it’s worth checking whether that box has been ticked by a previous owner if buying a used car.
If it hasn’t, what are your choices and are they any good? We investigate three puncture solutions.
If your car is registered after 2012, it will probably be fitted with a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). But I have concerns that drivers are relying too much on the technology and not performing regular tyre checks themselves.
My fears are that drivers could be putting themselves in danger by thinking TPMS is doing a job it is neither designed for nor capable of. Here’s how TPMS may not be the all-encompassing safety net many drivers think it is.
Feeling a bit deflated? We’ve all had a flat tyre. But what’s the best way to fix it?
The spare wheel versus repair kit debate is one that gets many drivers revving like a racing engine, particularly if they’re buying a new car. The majority of new motors ‑ nine out of 10 according to website Honest John ‑ are sold without a full-size spare wheel. In most cases the spare is replaced with a repair kit that is designed to get you back on the road and to somewhere where you can buy a replacement tyre.
A flat tyre is likely to afflict every driver at some point in their motoring life. Changing wheels is the second most popular reason that customers call Green Flag out. And according to tyre maker Continental, drivers suffer a puncture on average every 44,000 miles or five years. So having something that can replace a flat tyre is clearly important. But in the spare wheel versus repair kit argument, which comes out on top? We investigate.
What’s wrong with the good old-fashioned spare wheel?
Knowing if you can or can’t repair a tyre could come in very handy for a lot of drivers. Tyre companies estimate that on average drivers get a flat tyre about once every five years. Considering tyres can cost upwards of £100 each and you can repair a tyre for around £25, understanding if you can fix a puncture could be a handy money saver. Here’s all you need to know. Continue reading →
Changing a wheel: it’s one of the most common things Green Flag’s expert technicians are called out to fix and it’s also considered to be one of the simplest to do. There used to be a very macho perception that anyone can change a wheel and it was only people who didn’t want to get their hands dirty who called a breakdown service because they had a flat tyre. That’s nonsense. Changing a wheel can be tricky. Here’s a simple guide to de-mystify it. Continue reading →
Looking after car tyres is one of the easiest elements of motoring. Yet how many times do we look at our cars and not see the tyres? Wheels yes, bodywork yes, but generally tyres can be neglected and taken for granted, even though they’re the greatest contributor to our safety on the road. Continue reading →
Sensible drivers have breakdown cover and ring to be rescued
For some drivers, Friday the 13th really will be unlucky. They’ll be the thousands of car owners whose vehicles break down. Obviously cars are very complex machines with a lot of different components working together. At Green Flag we’re proud of our ability to get members’ cars going again when we attend breakdowns. And last year we helped out nearly 200,000 people. Here are the most popular reasons for calling out our technicians in 2014. Continue reading →